Chaos has been a reality in my life this summer, and my heart has been crying out, “How do I get some peace around here?” There has been a swirl of emotions tied to activities that seemed they’d never end.
My parents moved closer to me which is wonderful. Still, change and moving is tough on everybody involved. (It was hardest on my parents, of course. Thanks Mom and Dad for choosing the hard thing that’s the good thing!)
Esther launched, bringing with it both relief and joy.
Now it’s a pending pilgrimage, a son moving home for a bit, and before you know it… Christmas will be here!
I know that last part is a little on the dramatic side, but it’s the way it feels sometimes. I’m not the only one, am I? In the churn of life, peace can seem elusive.
In the midst of lots of activity, God has been speaking to me in the elusive quiet moments about peace.
Peace is the gift that we all claim to seek, but God has been showing me that my worker-bee mindset is an obstacle. One day as I was reading through the gifts of the Spirit, He gave me fresh eyes to see an underlying belief that has kept me from living in the peace He offers. My church-girl self wouldn’t say this craziness out loud, but it goes something like this:
“Peace is for the slow and lazy. Hard workers aren’t peaceful. If you’re working hard, by definition you’re angsty.”
My new refrain that I might add as I work through processing my emotions in healthy ways would be:
“And also, if you’re peaceful, you’re not being honest about your feelings.”
I know. There’s a lot of pride and self-deception in all of that, but there it is. Please let me know that I’m not alone!
Here are two lessons that I’ve been learning over and over as God teaches me in an effort to get me to accept the gift of peace that He’s already given.
Peace is Transcendent
Galatians 5:22-23 says, “ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
For those who have repented and believed, accepting Jesus as our salvation, peace is already in us through the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is a fruit of Immanuel, God with us.
There are many fruits on that list that I’ve accepted and cultivated, but until now, I’ve skipped right over peace. It’s always been there, though, waiting for me to tap into it. I’m working on pausing to notice peace at work inside of me in difficult circumstances, and it’s changing me. That small pause to let peace take over makes all the difference.
The week leading up to the release of Esther on July 12th, Barry said, “Amy, if I didn’t know you have a book launching, I wouldn’t know you have a book launching.”
Considering the daily meltdowns I was having during my first book launch, that’s God’s miracle-working power on display, y’all!
Peace Is Progressive
Even though peace is transcendent and abiding, I’m finding that it also grows as I practice walking in it.
One practical step that is growing my peace as I practice it over and over is intentionally paying attention to my feelings, pausing to acknowledge them, and surrendering them to God.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to practice this progression again. On a Tuesday, I got sick followed by a positive COVID test on Wednesday. Although I praise God for this being my first round with COVID, I was deeply disappointed. My husband and I had planned a trip to the mountains with our friends as a break from our busy summer. Suddenly, with the sound of a timer and a glance at a test, those plans were over.
For a few minutes, I fell into my old way of doing things. The way that kept me from peace. I brushed tears from my eyes and kept repeating to myself, “It’s fine. It’s just the way it is. There’s nothing we can do about it, so I’m not going to be sad about this.”
But then I remembered the new habit God is teaching me. I stopped and took a moment to cry. I acknowledged how sad and frustrated I was over the circumstances. (Stupid COVID!!!) Then I prayed honestly, telling God how sad I was and surrendering my emotions to Him.
Suddenly… there it was…
How do we get peace when we need it? We receive and walk in the gift that has already been given. And then we practice it over and over until it’s a habit. A craving to which God has already provided.
How have you cultivated peace?
A Few Ways I’d Love to Connect
If you haven’t yet picked up your copy of Esther, it’s on sale for $10 at Church Source. With the set of questions at the end of each week, you can either answer them in a journal or as discussion in a small group.
In the last episode co-hosting Grit ‘n’ Grace the Podcast, Cheri and I tearfully processed ending well. If you have any pending endings in your life (or want to be ready for the future), check it out! (If you’re just finding us, don’t worry. We have 269 episodes for your listening pleasure.)
If you’re itching to travel… if your heart needs a pilgrimage… click here to read about the trips I’m planning for us in the coming year. Registration for our Women of Joy trip to France in April 2023 is open now!