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Blog  /  General  /  Where’s the Peace?

30
Jul
2012

Where’s the Peace?

Written by: shannon  |  Found in: General  |  40 Comments »
Beside still waters...

I remember a period of time when I was going through what seemed to be a recurring cycle of emotional upheaval.  I couldn’t seem to shake it, and I kept dragging my emotions from place to place, like a wet pile of smelly rags.  Even though this burden kept me weighed down, I still managed to muster enough strength to keep my index finger pointed outward, sentencing everyone else to blame for my issues but myself.

As I lamented to my husband about this fix I found myself in, he very directly, but lovingly, (though I questioned the “love” at the time) said to me, “Honey, have you noticed, in each of these circumstances, what – or in this case, WHO –  is the common denominator?”

“Ummmmm…..gulp.  Yeah, well, I guess that would be me,” I mumbled.  No, I didn’t appreciate  his comment at the time, but years later, it still sticks with me when I see myself falling into a similar state of perpetual melancholy, finger primed and ready to point.

Similarly,  I realized that for the last several weeks I’ve felt a general sense of unrest.  I’ve struggled to calm and silence my soul, and instead of arresting my level of activity, clearing my schedule and determining to focus on the only One who can help me discover the kind of peace I need, I have stayed on the proverbial hamster wheel.  

And so from situation to situation, no matter what it has been – a quiet day at home writing or a busy evening of entertaining or ministry – I have felt this angst and aggravation gurgling just below the surface.  It hasn’t been pretty.

And yes, you guessed it.  Once again, I have been the common denominator.  

The great thing about this mathematic principle is that the common denominator can be changed!

Just as I can carry unrest and strife from place to place, might I suggest I could instead choose to carry peace and stillness into each said scenario.  The option is mine.   The peace is available. 

I read a quote today from Mother Teresa, and it is this, “We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence.  See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… .We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

It is true – we need silence in order for our own soul to be reached  into by the Holy Hand of God , so that we, in turn, can touch other souls with the peace we have gained.  Why else would the world even care about finding our God, when we exhibit just as much strife as the next guy?

So, what does peace look like?  Well, I can’t speak for you, but, on a practical level, for me it means shutting off Facebook (at least, temporarily) and all its notifications, stopping the compulsive checking of email, deciding for chunks of time to just be silent, going on a long walk, listening to the rain, ceasing to compare myself with the productivity of others (who may have VERY little true peace), letting go of guilt for not getting as much done as I intended, simplifying, and being content with who God says I am rather than holding myself up against the definition the world has created for success and peace.  And when life is absolutely crazy, and there’s nothing I can do to avoid it, it means fixing my eyes upon the Lover of my Soul, lest I lose sight of what truly matters most.

I’m convinced time management and peace look entirely different to God, though I often fail to reflect that in my choices.  Just look at Mary and Martha for starters.  Jesus saw nothing wrong with what Martha was busy doing, but He very specifically pointed out “Mary has chosen the better part.”  And Jesus said Himself He gives peace not as the world gives.  So why is it we seek the world’s peace with such passion? 

The bottom line is most of our lives have too much activity.  Everywhere we turn, we are faced with reasons to be more productive, ways to streamline, connections and angles to work, more effective marketing strategies, goals to reach for, ways to make more money, products to be purchased and heaps of guilt if we fail at any of the above.

But what if we have it all backwards?  Could it be what is most meaningful and fulfilling is the one thing that gets squeezed right out of our lives by the tyranny of the urgent?

I haven’t figured out how to stay there, but I have had many glimpses and moments of true stillness.  True joy.  True contentment.  The better part.  And it has had nothing to do with busyness and striving and everything to do with a sense of belonging and great love.

The flash of the world can and will rob us of the sweetest gifts the very Giver of Life has so graciously extended to us, if we let it.  And sadly, when we get mesmerized by this “flash,” we are also hindering the world around us from seeing true peace exhibited in and through our lives.

We must choose our common denominator.  Will we divide the days of our lives by the kind of elusive peace and counterfeit satisfaction the world gives, or could we somehow be countercultural and crazy enough to leap off this treadmill into the arms of a Shepherd who does not measure our lives by productivity and impressive resumes but who longs to saturate our days with the fulfillment of His company and the unmatched joy of His presence?

I hope that more and more the Lord could gaze my direction and be able to truly say, “My Child, you have chosen the better part.”  

Amen.  May it be so. 

 

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