It has happened more times than I would care to count. There I am, sitting in a state of mind full of peace, calm, and contentment that suddenly turns into a state of anxiety, emotional chaos, and irrational thought. The reasons may vary, the environment may change, and the intensity may wave, but the core remains the same. An event, a situation, a response lets flesh attempt to take my heart captive and push out the Spirit to make a home instead.
Peace, that blessed feeling that sends hearts back to normal rhythms and breathing back to a purely involuntary action, is one that is gifted to us through Christ. One that means to be complete, to be whole. Third on the list when describing the fruit given through the Spirit, Peace, when truly felt, provides your heart with such an amazing, tangible comfort that many times it can stop you in your tracks forcing you to feel it overpowering all of your humanity placing instead a feeling of awe from the warmth enveloping your soul filling all your empty places. Wholeness.
Those distinct moments in life where you can literally feel the wave of Peace that passes all understanding are worth writing down and remembering because it is those memories that hold reminders of the Faithfulness of a Good God who loves well.
There have been many times, countless times, that I wished life were a list of tasks to check, lessons to learn and move past because once learned, never forgotten, much like riding a bike. However, Peace, that contentment of soul, like all the other gifts, is not one and done. Instead, they are journeys full of practice and mistakes, knowledge slowly becoming wisdom as you gain a little ground at a time as that promised daily renewal continues.
After a recent episode, that may or may not have been instigated by a 7 & 8 year old baseball game, there was prayer and reflection and a bit of begging to understand better the ins and outs of a lack of peace. Why when it seems so solidly in place, does it also seem to leave so easily?
Yes, yes I know, and I pray you know as well, that true Peace is not found in circumstances, it is found with, through, and by Jesus alone. This is the base of any and all things, HE will keep us in perfect peace, but this personal search was for the specific trigger, the flipper of the switch. When you ask, when you seek, be ready to listen, because a still small voice--or in my case a completely normal tone because my Creator knows how much I hate whispering-- might be quick to respond.
Expectation robs you of Peace.
It is well known that comparison is the thief of joy, but so many other things take away that fruit promised to us, and your expectations, my expectations, of how life should go, how people should act, how situations should play out, will rob you of the Peace gracefully given and humbly received.
We, whether we would like to admit it or not, expect our children to listen, we expect our spouses to respond with kindness and compassion, we expect our friends to be there every time we need them and say the exact words we would like to hear, we expect strangers to agree with us, we expect teams to win, actions to be rewarded, disagreements to be resolved. We expect that no one will shove pennies in the WiiU console--hypothetically speaking of course. But when they don't, when the world and everything in it proves again that it is far from perfect, those expectations come crashing to our feet taking the self created peace from perfection with it.
Expectation robs you of peace and then it points to a deeper root, unbelief.
Losing your composure, not clinging to that peace given and allowing it to carry you, is most definitely natural, but is still a side effect of unbelief. It is an attitude and posture that does not, at that moment, believe that whatever the outcome God is sovereign, that does not believe He can and promises to work everything for good, that does not believe it might be needed to redirect hearts, to sanctify, to guide, or to even bless another. His top priority is not to make our wishes come true. He is not making sure we win win win no matter what. His top priority is to crowd our hearts and fill them to overflowing with Him and Him alone.
We build up our expectations because we want to create the ideal life but in doing that what is actually being said is we do not believe that the life that has been created for us is good enough. That does not mean you sit idly by while life goes on as if you have no responsibility in the matter, it just means that if peace is never felt, then maybe you are expecting too much of yourself and of this world instead of expecting perfect plans and perfect love from the only One who can fulfill, in His way and on His time.
Peace comes from abiding in Christ. That is where it starts and where it ends, but on the way are twists and turns that will teach you how to remain abiding in Him. Expectations rob me of peace but that is not the exhaustive list. Each heart is different, each person is different, each one is searching to remain in the One who is never different, always the same.
What robs you of peace, what tempts you away from abiding in Him, from forgetting that contentment comes through Him but instead placing that role of peace giver in another?
I pray you will continually grow in Spirit, asking and seeking and learning the ins and outs of your heart and His peace, pray for me.