Fight for it.
Are you a fighter or a giver-upper? Maybe neither. or Maybe both. For me, it seems to depend on my circumstances.
Physically, I am a fighter. Determined. Focused. Persistent. Strong. (Thanks to my bigger brother, I guess!)
Creatively, I push the boundaries of what has been done before, yet when I write my blog, I refuse to speak about something that I haven’t first done myself. It limits my creativity, but it’s only fair. Yet, if I can’t seem to push the boundaries, I become easily discouraged.
That’s how I feel about writing this final post on peace. If I hadn’t said I would write “three” parts, I would never have forced myself to figure out what I have to say. The honest truth is that I simply don’t feel like finding answers today. I didn’t yesterday either. Or the entire week before. But right here on the screen in front of me…are my very words…telling me that I’m a fighter. How can I encourage you to fight if I don’t?
The thing is…I WANT to write about how I find peace in the middle of every storm. But I hesitate because storms freak me out. I’m not there yet. So can I write about something I haven’t conquered? I certainly am determined to have this in my life.
Countless heroes have laid down their lives fighting so we could have peace…
YET how many of us still live without it?
FIGHT No. 1: Peace is not *numb*.
I am not a stranger to NUMB-ness. In fact, if you placed me in an p-a-n-i-c-k-y situation, I wouldn’t freak out until later. I’m good like that. I know numb.
To emphasize this…when my affair was uncovered, I felt nothing. Zilch. Nada. Numb. My husband could have stung me with a thousand bee stings and I wouldn’t have shed a single tear. I bring this up now because I want to remember that there is a huge difference between numbness & peace.
At the time, numbness felt like peace. But later I realized that I was just protecting myself. Peace is NOT protecting my heart from feelings like fear, trauma and guilt. I am not hoping for emotionless settling. I’m looking for emotion-FULL living.
I want to ride a storm with confidence that is secure.
The Day my PEACE got locked out
It’s pretty obvious to me now when my confidence is only in myself, I will lack peace. Case-in-point:
It was a typical morning that included rushing out the door to get the kids to school on time. What I didn’t realize was that, in our rush, one of the kids had accidentally push-locked the door between the house and garage. When I arrived back home, I was locked out of my house. Oops. To make things more challenging, I hadn’t planned for this. There was no spare key. No one could help me. My husband was out-of-town, and vulnerability crept up my spine with a chill as I reviewed my options.
I sat in my car and began to look for a locksmith on-line. The first local one I came across, I phoned. The man who answered had a thick Ukrainian accent that unnerved me for some reason. After telling me I would have to wait 40 minutes for a technician to arrive, I changed my mind, saying that I thought he was LOCAL.
Anyway, I skimmed for a suitable alternative and made a second phone call. This time the $ quote was way higher. So I hung up and phoned the first one back against my intuition. Apparently in those five minutes, he had dispatched the only technician, and now I would have to wait twice as long. Because I thought I was saving a few bucks, I shrugged off my dismay.
The wait wasn’t noteworthy.
When a red cargo van finally pulled up behind me, my heart started to beat heavier. Why was I feeling this way? Something was just OFF. I just had no peace about this business. Then, the technician approached me.
I nodded, struck by the sound of his voice. (He sounded exactly the same as the guy I had talked to on the phone. Same thick Ukrainian accent.)
But as far as I could see, my apprehension seemed irrational. He was young. A very attractive guy. What could go wrong?
I showed him the door, and he quoted me a whopping 4x the price that I was quoted on the phone. If my *spidy senses* hadn’t been tingling by then, they were going overboard now.
Review: Here I am…all alone…with some guy
from the Ukrainian mafia…quoting me WHATEVER $ he wanted…knowing that I was helpless. I had waited 2 hours for him to come and He was finally here. Ready. In the interest of not wasting my ENTIRE day sitting outside my house, I decided not to send him away.
Instead I said, “Well the guy on the phone said only $,” (But remember the guy on the phone sounded exactly like him?!)
“I von’t know vhat he said.” (Was that his way of saying, I can charge you whatever the @#*$&# I want…?)
Well, for the large unidentifiable cargo van he was driving, he sure had a tiny little pouch to do his job. Three minutes later, he had broken into my house.
“Thanks. So how do I pay you?” I asked.
“Cash,” was his response. (This was not going well.)
“I don’t carry that kind of cash?!” (What the heck?!) “The website said that I could pay by credit card.” I was waiting for him to pull one of his “I-von’t-know-vhat-the-vebsite-said” comments while he muttered something and started to walk back to his van to “see what he could do…”
Immediately my imagination flashed a picture of him getting something LARGER out of his van, so I quickly asked him if I could write him a check. He stopped walking away and agreed. He told me the amount (which, had just gone up for the third time). And then he decided to “add taxes” to that. How lovely. Yes, please don’t be a jerk to the government…
I asked him the name of the company to write the check to, he said to write it to him. Personally. (Seriously?)
You know…if I were anywhere else with anyone else…I swear I would have laughed out loud. But I was incredibly intimidated by him and still couldn’t understand WHY exactly. Was it just my intuition? It was like the oxygen had turned toxic and I was breathing corruption. I started trembling. This was getting the better of me. I didn’t care about the money, but I wanted his name.
So I asked. What’s your name?
“Zust leave it blank,” he said.
I wrote the check. When I finished writing it, I said, “It just doesn’t feel right not writing your name.”
“You von’t be able to pronounce it.” he said, “I vooould have to spell eet.”
“That’s fine,” I said and he started to spell out his name. I got a nasty glare when I put an “M” in when he “clearly said N”…but his accent was so thick. Soooooorry.
He stared at the cheque intensely before leaving. I said thanks. Closed the garage door. Walked into my house and cried.
I had no peace that day.
FIGHT No. 2: Figure out where “I” end and “God” begins
So I didn’t follow my intuition when choosing the locksmith, and I felt sooo guilty after he was gone. But peace isn’t available ONLY when I’m safe, healthy, and angelic…is it?
Peace comes through quiet knowing that healing doesn’t depend on changing the past. It depends on learning from the past. It means I do all I can and trust God with the rest.
FIGHT No. 3: To feel peace in the middle of the storm, I MUST get wet.
Like I said, I have been trying to write this post all week. The other posts took me a long time as well; however, I had peace about those ones. This one, NOPE. Ironic, isn’t it? I realized today that I’ve been trying to write about peace in Storms without mentioning God. I mean, I’ve tried it. But all week I’ve been writing. deleting. writing. deleting. deleting. deleting.
How can I explore this topic without getting real about what this means to me? I can’t.
The truth is that I am hopeless to find an answer apart from Him. And I was trying to. I just really wanted to not be un-relatable. I wanted to simplify it. Make it more logical, less Christological. I thought that way it wouldn’t be offensive. I even found a bunch of stuff on Buddhism that I wanted to quote (it was actually pretty cool stuff).
But the thing is…I can’t find the kind of peace I need apart from God. I don’t have the words to pull it together. The fact is that there is nothing “LOGICAL” about feeling a sense of peace when you find out your mom has cancer. When you are depressed and clueless about how to find life. When you realize you are in deep deep deep shit…all the LOGIC in the world can’t give you peace. In fact, most of the time, it just digs up more stress.
Walking on water
Most of us will admit that we are quick to curse storms in life. They’re hard. They sap our energy, time and money. But just turn around and take a look at who you were before the storm and who you are now. You’re stronger. You were beaten down, but you’re not out. And you’re not dead yet!!!
Your character is more valuable than living a pain-free existence. Peace is useless in the absence of trouble. We need it most when we are dealing with STUFF.
Maybe when all the raindrops puddle, this is really quite simple. It’s about character. It’s about lying down at the end of the day knowing you did all you could. The rest is out of your control.
You can’t control your circumstances. And you can’t control other’s choices. And if you’re like me, you can barely control yourself.
In fact, if you fight for CONTROL instead of peace, you will get a whole lot more anxious and a whole lot less peace. Your mind actually becomes dulled by your need to be in control.
“You can’t control who walks into your life, but you can control which window to throw them out.”
Next time it’s pouring rain outside, challenge yourself to go for a walk. Get wet. Leave the tension behind and pursue peace. No one else can get this FOR YOU. You have to want this for yourself.
the final bite
- Are you at Peace with yourself?
- Are you at Peace with your Maker?
- Do you have Peace with your past?
- Do you feel Peace about your future?
- Are you at Peace with your neighbors?
<<< In Part TWO I elaborated about how my level of peace is affected by AREAS OF COMPROMISE!!!