Pursuit of: internal peace

During my year of illness I chose to pursue internal peace.  I had many forces working against me. Circumstances opened up opportunities for fear to rule.  My brain chemistry changed and my mind fought against me.  Then there was the internal monologue, the mental energy that carries a façade of logic but turns into a checklist of hurts and fears.

In my year, only one thing steadied my mind and allowed me to walk in peace.  I chose to turn my mind toward God, turn my trust to Him (Is. 26:3), and to live not from my circumstance but according to His perspective of my life.  My disease might be healed with one word.  My disease might be cured in one year of treatment. My disease might be managed over the course of a life.  Whatever my physical destiny is, my mental peace is the source of my true destiny.

Peace comes through choice.  Trust leads to peace.  Righteousness leads to peace (Is 32:17). Faith in Jesus leads to peace (John 16:33).  When my life is filled with love, there is no room for fear to remain (1 John 4:18).

I have tested each of these and I found them to be true.

At the end of my treatments, my mind turned against me.  My fears, my hurt, were not something I could control.  My mind dimmed and a grey haze settled in.  There was no clarity.  Depression took my last strength and pushed me into a constant noise, a throbbing hurt.  With the end of treatments, the haze lifted for me, but for many people it is always there.  It is important to recognize that inner peace looks different for each of us.  For me, peace feels different today than it did a month ago.  No matter what level of clarity I am able to obtain, my faith will make me strong and I will choose to go in peace and let healing follow (Matthew 5:34).

 

In pursuit of: celebration

Last night I celebrated a success in the life of a friend.  The evening made me think about the act of celebrating which may seem easy but is actually quite complicated.

Celebrating brings success into the light of scrutiny. When celebrating I must pause to reflect on the process of success. I must acknowledge the  moments I could have done better; the struggles; and the people who got me from beginning to end.  It creates an opportunity to honor, apologize and grow.

Celebrating accomplishment may also be difficult for those who watched the success.  It can be a struggle to stand beside someone as she rises from “the norm”.  When one minute, you stand shoulder-to-shoulder, then circumstances drive one of you forward; or circumstances pulls one of you backward.

Personally, I struggle with the frivolity of celebrating a moment.  To spend money and make an effort simply to bring attention to something I already know, am living, and working through.

Whatever our reasoning against celebration, we should not be deterred. Celebration should be a part of our lives.  Each season of life slides into our present and slips away into a forgotten past.  Each season is beautiful but outside of a few snapshots, there is rarely a beacon reminding us of our own history.

When weather changes come and go year after year, we have signs to look for.  There are dates on the calendar indicating an end and a beginning.  There are signs in the vegetation that trigger our memories of seasons past.  The seasons of life are subtle, but perhaps if we take a moment to acknowledge a beginning and an end; perhaps if we learn to mark them on our calendars, on our hearts, or in a celebration, we would not be quite so fearful when we find ourselves starting again.

If we embrace the changes in our own life, then we are able, to truly celebrate the life of others. The beautiful, complete success in a sister’s life may overlap with the most difficult season of mine, but there should be nothing but joy in our celebration.  Her success reminds me that my season will change.   My cold winter will slowly melt into new green blades of grass pushing up through a frozen tundra.  Then, before I know it, the fields of my life will also be vibrant.

All seasons work together and form the landscape of our life.  If we embrace each season, we will find ourselves ready, at the beginning and at the end.   My suggestion for us is: whatever season you find yourself, celebrate, for change is in the air.