Craving Peace.

Years ago, when I had the opportunity to go back to school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Well, I knew I wanted to love people and that was about it. I was a baby believer and didn’t fully understand all the changes that were happening in me and in my heart. But I knew that I wanted to love people.

You see, when I was younger, I wasn’t always very lovable. In fact, I was downright mean much of the time. I was always trying to prove myself, trying to win affections of those I shouldn’t have been worried about; I was a fighter and sometimes for no real reason other than a sideways glance that I didn’t like. I’ve done things and been part of things that would shock many people who know me now. However, I have no regrets. I am who I am because of my journey. Time and again, I can look back and see God’s hand of protection over me when I had no desire to acknowledge Him. Isn’t He amazing that way?!

So, my point to that last paragraph is that my life didn’t always seem very lovely or lovable and hardly ever did it seem peaceful. In fact, peace was a little bit foreign to me, I suppose.

When I initially started school, I was creating graphics and doing simple web design just for fun. I really thought that was the career path I would pursue. I realized, though, that it meant I’d spend most of my time behind a computer and little time interacting with other people. I knew I wasn’t cut out for the medical field, so that wasn’t an option. I didn’t yet have such a strong passion for cooking, but I sure wish I had! I’ve always wanted to do social work, even when I was younger, but the words of my mom would ring in my ear, “You know they don’t make very much money, right?” and so that was off the table since I was a single mom who needed to have some financial stability. In the end, I was down to two choices that I thought would be good for me:  psychologist or human resources professional.

I think I would make a decent psychologist. My fear, and what ultimately kept me from pursuing that path, was that I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to separate myself from my patients. Or more so, I was afraid that eventually I would. Neither of those seemed okay to me.

My idea of an HR professional, from my days in the factory, were that they were the mediator, the peacemaker, the enforcer, the encourager, the motivator, the safety patrol, etc… I looked over those traits and decided that’s where I would be able to use the gifts and talents that God was revealing to me, little by little.

Over the years, I’ve not wavered from that decision as I still think God opened my eyes to the career path He had for me all along. Sheesh… that was a long intro to get to my point in all of this!

In the supernatural way that only God can knit things together, He provided me with the extraordinary opportunity to work in an environment, for several years, where I could really cultivate these traits that He had given me. I worked under the largest umbrella of grace and mercy – probably in the whole world. I was able to love people. Encourage them. Motivate them. Fight for them. Be a refuge. And, believe me, they all did the very same for me!

What I’ve really learned over the years, though, is how much I desire peace. I crave it. We all thought it was silly when Miss America’s answer to the question about what she’d like to see in the world was peace. But, man… I get it now! It IS what I want to see! Not just peace in the world, but peace in my world too. Maybe it’s from all my years of little peace… I don’t know.f936528c1607ff11d030adb5c2cfe48d

Psalm 133: 1-3 :: 1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

In unity, there is blessing!

1 Peter 3: 8-13 :: 8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?

In unity, there is blessing!

Ephesians 4: 1-8 :: 1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call– 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”

In unity, there is blessing!

Philippians 2: 1-5 ::  1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

Over and over and over again, the Bible calls us to live in unity and peace with one another. Of course, there will be conflict. It’s going to happen to everyone. But learning how to walk out the conflict, in a manner that is healthy, helpful, and uplifting is what we’re called to do. When we learn to be humble more often than our need to be right, there is some serious growth and renewing of the mind happening, my friends.

My encouragement to you is to choose peace, as often as possible. We may not be able to change the whole world, but we can change who we are, how we see things, and how we choose to live our lives. We have the opportunity, every day, to create a peaceful environment around us.

My heart is hurting for all of the unrest lately – in my own little piece of the world, in the country, over the whole world. Let’s choose to be peacemakers. To love in an extraordinary way. To be humble. To serve with abandon. I am but one person and you are too… but when individual hearts change, it leads to other hearts changing.

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