Life for me is a whirlwind of emotions. 2018 held its fair share of laughter and tears, joy and sadness, hope and despair. I drew closer to Jesus. But the closer I draw to Jesus, the more I am attacked. The more I am tempted to worry and become anxious. The more my past is thrown in my face. The more I am tempted to be self-centered, afraid that if I don’t speak up about my own needs, they will get lost in a sea of servanthood. And I will be lost forever.
It sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?
And though it sounds ridiculous as I write it, this is why I do what I do. This is the whole reason I started writing about transparency. Let’s just all be real. Because the struggle certainly is.
As I considered my One Word for 2019, I thought about this turbulency in my life. I wanted an all-encompassing word to describe letting go of what is wrong in my past and the current pain it still causes others, what is wrong in my family and marriage, serving others when it seems I don’t receive anything in return, releasing the struggle to get everything accomplished that is on my list, praying to let go of worries and trusting the Holy Spirit to prompt me if and when I need to act, in His time.
That is a big list. What word could possibly address all that’s messed up in my inner world?
As I shared with my oldest son my dilemma and described to him this list, as soon as I finished he simply said “Peace.”
Could this be? I hadn’t even considered this particular word. But as he said it, it settled deep in my soul. I felt tears sting my eyes at the truth of it.
I need more peace. My emotions, inner battles, thoughts. They need a huge dose of the peace that passes understanding.
“Thank you son. That is exactly what I need.” And I remember how God can use the youth of today just as much as He can use us.
‘Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”’
As I started reading passages that address peace, I came across this often-read story of Jesus and his disciples. A few things stood out to me.
- These are Jesus’ disciples. They’ve followed him into the boat. They trusted him to lead them. And still, at the first sign of a storm, they faltered in their ability to trust him. The storm was sudden and their first reaction was fear and unrest. Isn’t that how it usually is in our lives too? I want better. I want peace to rule so deeply that the sudden storm doesn’t worry me at all. I’ve followed Jesus into the boat and I’m trusting Him with the storm.
- Jesus slept and didn’t immediately act. The storm doesn’t mean Jesus should immediately take action. It also doesn’t mean we should immediately take action. Sometimes, He just wants us to be at peace despite the high waves, swirling winds, and rocking boat, understanding that the winds and waves obey him. That he is in control.
- Jesus calmed the storm after their request. I wonder what would have happened if the disciples would have had faith. Was the request wrong? Absolutely not. We should always bring our requests to Him. However, the motive behind the request was to calm the storm so they would be safe.They didn’t think they would be safe in the middle of the storm. It revealed a lack of faith. I want my prayer to be more on the side of “Father, help me to trust you. Help me to grow through this storm. And if it be your will, it would be great if you would deliver me from it. But above all, may your will be done.” And I want to truly mean it. I wonder if I can ever get to that point. It’s easy to think I can when the waves are calm. But what happens when they’re not? I’m trusting God this year to help me grow in this area.
When life becomes turbulent, I’m going to be seeking PEACE. I can already feel the difference God is making in my life this year simply from the first few weeks of praying and reading about it.
What about you? What word do you want more of in your life this year?