A couple months ago, somebody spoke a truth into my life that caught me completely off-guard. It was flattering, and internally I fought against the validity of the statement. ::Pause:: Why do we do that? Could it possibly be true that there truly are wonderful and redemptive qualities about all of us? Don't discount the fact that you are far more incredible than you care to admit. /Pause.
Fast forward a couple days from this first "truth speaking session" and someone else tells me literally the exact same thing. Now, I need to be careful because I might just start believing that this is true. After all, we have multiple attestation that I act this way.
"You have a peaceful, calming presence."
Erin, if you're reading this, chances are you're laughing in front of your screen...nobody but God knows me better than you. The truth is, I hardly ever feel at peace, in fact, I regularly resonate with these lyrics:
"His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
there's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti.
He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready."
Eminem (Lose Yourself)
So, while I'm giving off this peaceful vibe, internally there is a real struggle going on. Yet, it doesn't make the statements made by others toward me less true...and as I began to reflect on their compliment, I began to investigate and see what goes in to "achieving peace".
1 - Feast on God's Truth.
I truly believe that every good and perfect gift come from God. (James 1:17) Therefore, if there is any good in me that is worth recognizing, it's not really me, but it's God shining through.
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. Mark 10:18
Even Jesus reflected the praise directed toward Him upward to God. When we feast on God's truth, we see incredible truths about how much God loves us and how we are treasured by Him...yet we remember who is still on Heaven's throne.
Reading Scripture helps us see that God is in control. We can trust Him with our lives because He is faithful. He delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians through the Red Sea. He provided for Nehemiah as he rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem. He preserved Daniel under foreign rule. These three instances are just a sliver of God's faithfulness that we see throughout the pages of Scripture.
I have to think, that, if God was faithful in the past, that He is going to be faithful again.
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him. Habakkuk 2:20
2 - Leave Worry At Christ's Feet.
The time that we spend worrying is wasted time. This may sound brutally harsh, but worry only leads away from God's mighty hand. Therefore, to achieve peace, we must regularly bring our worry and leave it at Christ's feet. To borrow a word picture from Rob Bell ::gasp:: it is bringing your baggage and saying, "I'm so tired of carrying this around...here, you take it."
Achieving peace...which is hyperbole, doesn't mean the absence of worry in our lives. It means that we have found a place to leave our worry and we refuse to let it weigh us down. That place is found in Jesus.
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
3 - Seek Peace With One Another.
As far as it depends on us, we ought to try and live at peace with one another. But, achieving peace is more than abstaining from conflict or removing grudges...though that's part of it. We can be proactive in seeking peace by sharing the truths that we've been feasting on from Scripture. We can be praying with friends and co-workers who are dealing with difficult circumstances which cause all kinds of worry.
There is a communal aspect to seeking peace with, and for, one another. We can borrow strength and courage to surrender our worries to Christ. We can truly help one another breathe easier.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
Honestly, I struggled with even sharing this post, but if it brings a little more peace or completeness into the world...success. If it brings us to the Truth of God's Word and helps us lay our daily worries down...victory!
Peace be with you.
I had a post in mind, but then I got busy and...poof...it vanished. Thankfully, this one is probably better, and I think it is because it is a concept that has been monopolizing my mind for the last 10 days or so.
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to visit Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Sounds pretty awesome, and as I type it, I'm reflecting on how much fun that day was. The odd part about it, though, was that I was experiencing this exciting place all by myself. I did get to catch up with an old friend over lunch, but the majority of my day was comprised of me being that guy that walks around at amusement parks by himself. There were hundreds of people bustling about from one attraction to the next, yet the whole experience made me feel...small.
Isn't it funny how you can be surrounded by people and still feel all alone?
Think about the last time you felt overwhelmed by loneliness. It isn't a fun feeling. Maybe this is the appeal of Social Media, that we can feel connection, albeit digital, in real time almost around the clock. I think it feels good to be known. But being known takes vulnerability and sacrifice and work. Sometimes it's easier to remain anonymous. It's always easier to be a wallflower than to choose to dance and put yourself out there. After all, the wall never rejected anyone.
The fear of rejection is a primal one causing many to shrink back from a life-changing relationship or experience. I'm calling for a new valuation that we put on ourselves and one another. We are FAR more valuable than we know. Why? Because we are known by God, the Creator of all things.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
When we think about God and the vast universe that He created...how can you help from feeling small? The next verses of Psalm 8 tell us that God made us a little lower than angels. Later on in Psalms, this is written about how well God knows us:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
We are not insignificant; we are divinely hand-stiched. The same hands that formed the heavens and earth, knows us inside and out.
I just thought you'd like to know that you are known.