When I refer to peace I don't mean I'm-so-relaxed-laying-here-in-this-hammock. I mean peace that doesn't make sense. Peace during a flat tire on the freeway. Peace through a heartbreak. The kind of peace that most people would say you SHOULDN'T have because you're entitled to a full panic freak out. This peace isn't all fake zen-y that scatters when the going gets tough; this peace is absolute trust and assurance that everything will be ok.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds. (Philippians 4:7)
If I'm choosing to live joyfully without reactive judgement, if I'm choosing to truly listen to what's being said and never need to be offended, if I choose words that build and edify and am always honest, if I'm choosing gratitude, if I refuse to give up and always find solutions, if I'm building self-discipline and choosing to persevere through all things with integrity, and if I pursue growth all through my life I'm probably going to be a pretty peaceful person, right? It's like math. And Yoda. The sum of these things is inevitably peace.
That doesn't mean we can't expect peace until we've mastered all these traits. It means it will come naturally as we train our focus onto these traits. It also means we can train our focus on to peace and the other traits will be supported.
I have not met some one who is peaceful (remember, not relaxed or laid back, but peaceful) who is not also involved in some kind of regular prayer or meditation practice. I do not believe that peace is a natural part of being human. I believe it must be asked for, learned, practiced, and exercised.
There is a self-awareness in maintaining peace. (It's always down to noticing, isn't it?) I can deal with a set season where my peace is challenged. I can even exercise my peace in short-burst, high-stress situations. I choose not to commit to long term circumstances where my peace is habitually beaten. I use my discernment to know when a situation is beyond what I can currently handle and say no. As I mature I'm sure I'll have more stamina in maintaining my peace, but for now I'm really only at like a 5 out of 10.
I tend to be excitable, emotionally reactive, a little high strung, and passionate. These things are all wonderful things about me, but they're also traits that don't lend themselves to peace. So as I am met with new choices in life it's my responsibility to realistically assess if this new thing is too challenging or if it is within my current skill set to be able to maintain peace.
As I write this I realize peace (and all these symptoms of maturity) is kind of like a garden. Preparing, planting, watering, protecting, nurturing, and finally harvesting the product of all that work. So worth it.
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