I've been trying to make it. Peace that is. These past 2 weeks or so I've been trying to create peace in my heart. Something to calm the swirling in my head. I've tried clean counter tops. A de-cluttered home. Even dinner being prepared as Ben walks in the door so hungry kiddos and parents can fill their bellies before the fuss starts in. And I have found peace in these things, don't get me wrong. But it's not long before it fades away. It's not the kind of peace that transcends through me. It's the quick, fleeting, artificial kind.
It's funny because while I am trying to create this peace by doing things and accomplishing tasks, I know the whole time what I really need is to SIT DOWN. It may seem ironic, but the more things I have to get done, the more I need to sit down. I need to give it (whatever "it" may be) up to God. He is the only true source of peace in my life and I believe He has plans for my days, should I be open to following them...
So as I walked around feeling like the walls of my mind were caving in, I tried to squeeze in a bit of reading for our women's group.
Okay, here we go. Where did we leave off? Chapter 8. "Not as the World Gives-Peace Part I". Hmmmm....
I only got through the first few pages of this chapter before our group met, but our discussion resounded in my heart. The conviction of my disobedience of not-sitting grew. And grew. I finished chapter 8 and then 9, "A Soul at Rest- Peace Part 2" the next day during nap time. It was almost painful to not "do" anything during this quiet, uninterrupted hour. But God has used the words of the author and how she expounds on the Scriptures to further open my eyes.
Some things that have stuck with me:
(from "The Fitting Room-Putting on the Character of Christ" by Kelly Minter)
-The Hebrew word for peace, shalom, means "completeness, wholeness, health, peace, rest, harmony, and the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom is meant to bring us peace with God, with ourselves and with others..."
-"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives" John 14:27. (emphasis mine)
-God wants to speak deeply to what is troubling us and desires to give us a peace that is different from the paper-thin comforts of the world.
-He gives not as the world does. (LOVE this! So true! God's peace is everlasting. Unlike dazzling countertops that seem to be a magnetic force for drips and crumbs...)
-Biblical peace is far more than everything being in its place. ...my truest peace has to do with God's presence and what He says is true about me, not so much with everything holding together just so.
-"Earthly possessions dazzle our eyes and delude us into thinking that they can provide security and freedom from anxiety. Yet all the time they are the very source of all anxiety." Quoted from Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship
- ... peace is a broad term that encompasses more than just an internal sense of well-being, but this inner rest is an unmatched gift we receive when we choose to live the way God prescribes.
-The beauty of peace is that it can be restored when we take the chisel of repentance to the stone of disobedience, and though this doesn't sound especially thrilling, it is much better if we hurry up and use our own chisel so that God doesn't have to use His-so I've found.
-It is God's kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4), the act of turning around from the sin we have served and toward the presence of God through choosing obedience. God is quick to forgive, slow to wrath, and full of compassion for those who forsake their sin and seek His forgiveness. He is eager to restore peace to our troubled hearts, because it is the way He designed us to live when we came into relationship with Him in the first place: He Himself is our peace.
And just as I wrapped up those two poignant chapters, I moved on to a Bible study that I had been working on with a student who I meet with on a regular basis. We left off right as the school year ended last year and are trying to pick it up again to finish together. The topic of this week? Experiencing God's Peace.
Okay. I get it. Working on it...