Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Peace at all cost...

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus

For the past month or so I have been coming off my old medication onto a new one.  Now I am on half of both, the old and the new.  The other day was a particularly hard day and I had lots to do that afternoon.  I prayed for grace all along the way and it was there for me, but it was really hard.  When I got home I just wanted peace.  Peace is one of my former idols of my heart.  I still seek it and did that day.  So I got the tulips I had bought at the grocery store and put them on my back porch.  I cleaned up a corner of my porch.  Got out my pillows from last summer and placed them around on my porch.  It was a gorgeous day and I just sat there in the beauty with Jesus.  I decided to take a picture and tweet it.  I was thinking nothing about it but many people responded how they would love to be with me and what a lovely place my porch was.  

This is similar to the picture I posted on twitter and Facebook.

It is lovely but this is how the rest of my porched looked and still looks today unless I decide I want to do something about it.

It is a mess.  It is dirty and has old dirty boots.  A little of Christmas is still out there and there is nothing arranged.  I thought if everyone could see how my porch really is they wouldn't think how beautiful it is.

This represents our lives to me.  We put our mask on and our best foot forward for others to see and we hide.  Since Adam and Eve we have hidden ourselves.  We compare to others and think what we have is not good enough or that we are not good enough.  To compare, we never measure up.  Someone always has it better than we do, they don't have the life and the struggles we do and we are on a slippery slope.

We do this through social media.  We get on blogs where people have perfect lives and homes and Facebook we see the parties and the happy events.  There is nothing wrong with this for entertainment or to present the gospel to each other but when it becomes a way of life it can be deadly.  It can suck the life out of us.  We spend more and more time there dreaming and escaping from our own hard life.  It is not reality and those relationships can't take the place of face to face life interacting with people.  It is removed from the hard stuff.  It is a dream.  We are seeking peace but there is no peace. We are seeking and longing for perfection that only heaven can give us.  We deaden our minds and hearts to life.  If we remove ourselves from lifes problems we also remove ourselves from lifes beauty and purpose.  I know I have done it.

I would get up and get on my computer and stay there for hours on end.  I was trying to find life and peace. I would avoid conflict at all cost and avoid any situation I could that I didn't already know how it would turn out.  I wouldn't enter into a conversation that I knew I could not win and could not fail.  I was silent a whole LOT!  I was isolated a lot.  You can be isolated in a room or house full of people.  Men do it through their work and hobbies and women through their work and children.  I know terrible but true.  We each have our own ways of removing ourselves from life, through addictions good and bad, many ways.  I was removing myself from a life I didn't want to live.  I couldn't face the disappointment and the fear that my everyday brought.  I couldn't face my failure.  I was a perfectionist that was frozen for fear of failure.  "Imperfection is the only prerequisite for grace. Light only gets in through the cracks." Philip Yancey The gospel calls us to live, to fail to forgive and be forgiven.  We are told that we can have peace and have it abundantly.  It is all of grace, amazing and abundant grace.

Peace is not found in our circumstances or in other people. It is not found in escaping trouble or conflict.  Peace is found in trusting God and that He is in control of our lives.  That He is about something good even when we cannot see it.  That He is working in the lives of those around us and in us.  He calls us to move out of our comfort zones, the world we can try to control and to risk failure and conflict and beauty and success.  He calls us to be intentional in each others lives and to live life the fullest.  It is not always going to be easy or comfortable but He is there to empower us and comfort us.  He is our life.

Through relationship with Jesus, Father and Spirit we can know what true peace is.  When Jesus died on the cross for our sins He took Gods wrath that we deserve.  He made peace with God, the Father, for us.  So now we can go to Him without fear.  We can know we are dearly loved and cherished.  That He desires to lavish His love on us in more ways that we can ever begin to imagine.  He wants to reveal Himself to us in new and exciting ways through His creation, others and circumstances, through prayer and His word by His Spirit.  It is an exciting life He has planned for us.  Not to harm us but to prosper us.  It may not be the ways in which we think we need but through some of those losses is when we get to know Him in the most intimate and deepest ways.  It is a beautiful thing how He uses it all.  So if you want peace, Peace Himself dwells in you.  It is already there within your very being, your very soul.  The Father accepts you for who you really are, be that person.