Thursday, October 30, 2014

When Life is a But {This Day Thursday- Peace}

As I sit to compose today’s This Day Thursday on peace, only 4 feet behind me a toddler composes her own masterpiece on our piano. Dissonance, cacophony, and “poopy diaper” belted full force assault my ears. The irony is not lost on me.

Peace- Halloween is tomorrow. All Saints Day on Saturday. And with all this focus on death and fear, perhaps it seems odd to ask this day for peace. Perhaps that would be better addressed during Christmas when Peace on Earth induces warm fuzzies and songs of praise.

Maybe, but peace seems easier to come by when it seems the majority of our society is on the same page- goodwill toward all and such. Even in the hustle bustle madness, there is something to be said for radio stations that exude melodies of peace and joy and charity drives brimming over with gifts and donations.

But what about today? Where is the peace when your kids tell you they had indoor recess that sunny afternoon and you find out later it was because a boy was apprehended in a nearby town after making shooting threats at his Christian school . When you find out they were on the brink of lockdown.

Or when the bullies barge. Or when the neighbor kids reveal how much they know about things of which they should have no clue at this age. What about when I have absolutely no control over issues that could cause serious pain in my family’s life? Where is the peace?

The truth is, I chose peace first because that is what I have most recently struggled with, but also because peace lies at the root of so many of all those other things we ask for. When we ask for peace, we ask for faith. With peace comes joy, contentment, wisdom, and so much more.

But it is hard to have peace when we don’t know what comes next in the story.

The disciples felt it. In their greatest moments of faith, they thought they knew what came next. Jesus, the man they knew, the man who performed miracles no one else could do, the man they were building their whole lives upon- He would be king. And they would be rewarded. Their arguments over who would be first in His kingdom make sense when you realize they were thinking earthly stuff. Sure, He said weird things sometimes- things no one really understood- but that was part of His charm. And when He promised there would be trouble it was easy to see how He was just giving His friends a pep talk before He delivered the kingdom of Israel from their oppressors.

But then He died. And it wasn't as though they knew the end of the story. It wasn't as though they acted heroically in His defense. It wasn't as though the rulers of their people and their neighbors would be able to just forget this all happened without seeking some sort of punishment for those who followed this man Jesus. Peace was the farthest thing from their minds.

In fact, I can imagine that at every attempt to gain peace and confidence there was always a “but.”
But what if they find us?
But what if they take our families?
But what if they bankrupt our business?
But what if they hold this against us?
But what if they take our lives?

Those words of peace Jesus spoke to them before His death died with Him. His peace? If they remembered it at all what would it matter? He was dead.

These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, 
he will teach you all things
and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give to you. 
Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
John 14:25-27

There was one thing they didn't take into account. Jesus was alive. And after they learned that they still needed the Holy Spirit because without the Holy Spirit we have no help.

If you are like me, you know the Holy Spirit lives in you, but that doesn't always help you shake the fear or restlessness. The but's get in your way. You still don’t know what the future holds and you know so many things are out of your control. Well God has a but of His own...

But the Helper, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

But God- the whole Trinity- is involved in teaching us all things. Teaching us peace. It's not something you just get and you are set. It is a life-long learner deal. When the but's coming knocking at the gate, we can answer them with But God. And He never stops teaching. He never stops giving His peace. Then Jesus says- 

Not as the world gives do I give to you…

We have such a Gracious Giver, and He functions nothing like the way the world does.

The world expects results in return- God gives without needing.

The world can be easily disappointed in best efforts- God gives without strings attached.

The world could coldly sacrifice the happiness of one person if it meant benefiting the greater good- God gave His Son for you and will not make decisions regarding your life or the lives of the ones you love apart from His great love for you. That is important- Nothing that happens in your life, no matter how painful, comes from an indifferent part of God. Every. single. thing. is bornHe
 out of His love for you and others.

This post could go on forever… Peace is such a wonderful thing to ask this day. And to know that the whole Trinity is working in your favor to give you this peace is overwhelming. God bless you all today, tomorrow, in the days and weeks to come. Peace.

A little testimony for all us people with peace deficiencies- 

I am totally aware that it takes more than a one time, or every day, devotion on peace to get to the issues that plague us. I am also aware that there are very physical stress-inducers that keep perspective on the horizon. No matter how much I prayed, read, acted on my lack of peace- I never felt I could get a handle on it. I knew what I should do and think and believe, but felt physically incapable of doing it. The pressure of every day life was enough to rob me of joy and confidence. I am telling you this because in the society we live in, we are surrounded by stress and pressure and schedules and work and media, and as a result our bodies can't keep up. I talked with a chiropractor/acupuncturist and she said I was in the majority of Americans that suffer from adrenal fatigue. You can read about adrenal fatigue here. Basically, the stress of life was wearing my system down, which started a vicious cycle I couldn't climb out of on my own. Honestly, I suffered with it a long time and didn't even realize it. I didn't go to the acupuncturist for my stress- I just wanted to give it a shot. (Pun intended)

There are supplements (notice: not drugs) that help your adrenal glands function the way they should so they don't spaz out or run low. They don't fix your body- they give your body the tools to heal itself, which is what I really need. If you feel you might want to explore supplements to help your adrenal glands, talk to a medical professional that takes the link between nutrition and hormones seriously- usually chiropractors, nutritionists, acupuncturists, and others that look for whole body health. There are different types of adrenal supplements, so it would be good to talk to a professional before ordering anything online. 

There is nothing wrong with needing extra fuel for your body. It is a broken world and I thank God for the people who care enough to help our bodies deal with the results of it!