This weekend, after being heartbroken, I became inspired and empowered. The horrible news coming out of Charlottesville really struck me. A lot of different things I am experiencing all at the same time as this incident all came together and broke my heart, causing me to dig deep down inside myself and to God in prayer.
-Know when I “preach” here… it is a message to myself as well. May I be moved to love and peace more and more every day…
“You know what… sometimes peace isn’t comfortable” this was my tweet yesterday with these tag lines #gobethefeet #walkonthewater #relyonChrist #dietoself #love #work.
We all want peace. Some peace and quiet. World peace. Peace of mind. But what are we really saying when we say those things? Peace is not sought the same by everyone. What exactly is it we want? Why? What is the peace of Christ? Did he come to bring peace or a sword? Peace can be confusing lol.
I can look at peace in two ways: inner peace inside yourself where you feel good with who you are, what you are doing, and your life in general. It is a peace of stability and sanity and it is very necessary to fully living your best life. There is also peace outside yourself… living in a peaceful environment not filled with chaos, worry, and stress, desiring the world around you to be at peace, whatever that may look like for you.
If we are not careful, we can become too self-focused in the pursuit of peace. Are we really seeking peace? or comfort? When you think about it, many times we are lacking peace because something hard is present, which means there is some action that needs to take place in order to push through or remove that something. We may instead seek to run from that something and seek out comfort disguised as peace. Now this could be a necessary action to first gain some internal peace but if we are not careful this can turn into apathy, selfishness, and laziness or even bitterness, hate, and domination. Our peace could silence or control others in oppressive ways. We must always check and guard our hearts.
We also must realize that we can have peace and storms at the same time. Peace does not equal comfort! We can be incredibly uncomfortable and full of peace at the same time. And many times, God will call us out of our comfort and onto the stormy sea in order to bring peace to ourselves and others. There is a reason the scripture has our feet as the ones fitted for peace.
I wrote something last year during some self evaluation and it is fitting for this conversation: “I don’t want to shrink away and hide out from the world in a little bubble. I don’t want safety, I want freedom. I don’t want fear, I want life. I don’t want comfort, I want peace. I don’t want fame, I want impact. I don’t want to worry so much, I just want to be, know I am being and doing my best, and loved and supported for who I am- imperfections and all.” This is still my heart and prayer.
I desire peace and freedom and love and joy. I hate hate and the oppression that comes with it! I reject white supremacy and all forms of racism and bigotry and discrimination! I don’t hate any person, but I hate ideologies of any kind that are hate based and the actions that people take under the power of those ideologies. I see it every day. We all have it in us, this sin. We all struggle with it in some form or fashion, and many times we have no clue. We are blind to so much of how we think and act. I am constantly being made aware of things in myself and I am working hard with the Spirit to change. I see it as a parent with my children and I can get so angry. It breaks my heart every day to see them being hateful to each other, my kids, in my home, under my teaching: in fear of scarcity, jealousy over things or gifts and abilities, not feeling equal, fear of being alone or unloved, fear of missing out, the desire to control and lord over others… the lashing out they can do to each other is ridiculous. Ugh! I wish it would all stop and love would shine through 24/7 and everyone could be at peace and joy and get along in supportive community. In my home, community, and the world at large.
But we are humans, with the eyes of pride, judgment, and fear, and we are lost in these lies of “you are not loved” “you are not good enough” “you are ugly” “you are less than” “you are not capable” “you are not valuable unless” “us and them” “you are better than” “you should live for praise and glory” “the goal of comfort living” “domination thinking” “the right to condemn people to death” “God hates you” “God desires to kill you” “you deserve…” “divide and conquer” etc… and so these are the things we live with and contend with in this world. Lord restore us! Spirit lead us!
However, because we are humans made in the image of a relational loving God, we can love! I see this in my children too: feeling bad for someone who is left out, sad when others are hurt, wanting to share when someone is lacking, desiring to help someone, loving to snuggle and laugh with others, sharing themselves with no fear, encouraging each other, loving life, full of hope, etc… that love is in us too!
We can be people who perpetuate the hate or we can be people who perpetuate the love. What are we living and teaching and striving for?
Love is bigger than hate! Light overcomes the darkness. Sometimes we just need a little help turning it on or opening our eyes. God does not leave us in the lies to drown. He comes to us over and over again to reveal himself to us (whether we understand that or not). To show us love and truth. To show us grace and mercy. To show us our worth. To show us he will never give up on us. To show his compassion for our ignorance and fear. To show us he is not against anybody or anything other than this hate/fear/evil/sin. And he desires all to come to this understanding.
He teaches us the way: that Love is the way, the truth and the life and this is seen and known in Christ Jesus who fought hate with love. Who did not seek to kill those filled with hate and fear, but instead to show his love for them in his death which saves them from it. For none of us know the extent of the hate/fear we carry and what we do with it, and he compassionately forgives us in our ignorance desiring us to be filled with life and love.
His spirit us ever with us. When we awake to this, and feel this, we start to see and understand truth and love. We start to change. He is patient with us as we learn and grow. We see His power working in us and we are empowered. We grow in compassion every moment we experience the grace of God in our lives (more so when we understand and acknowledge it). We are filled with hope and the more we go through this process the more we see that hope for a better world is not an empty pursuit. We can see Him coming and filling the earth. We believe in love and peace and joy and freedom… that it can come in this place… that people can experience it and change… that it is not pointless to speak up and live for truth, justice, and love… NO! We learn instead how important it is that we do so…. more and more filled with this urgency… we want to see hearts changed, broken and softened, filled with love and sorrow… hate, fear, and pain regenerated… a new creation that produces good fruit… bent on Love… willing to be uncomfortable and vulnerable in order to bring true peace to the world.