Mama’s whisper was the level of most folks regular voice. There was no whispers from her in church that everyone around didn’t hear. With people in and out of our house, laughter and activity always around, and all mama wanted was peace and quiet.
At the end of the day, she wanted to sit in her chair in the corner of her living room and read the newspaper.
There is that kind of peace. It seems to be in diminishing supply in our busy world or maybe busy makes us crave it more. My mother-in-law could sit in their apartment with only the sound of the clicking wall clock. I don’t think we’ve ever had a house that quiet. And to be sure, the clicking of the clock would have had me tossing it out or going crazy. Close call there.
Jesus said the peace he gives isn’t like the world’s peace. We define peace as the absence of noise or the absence of war. If his peace is different from this, then what is His peace?
This is the word that’s impressed itself on me this year. Rather, this is what I think Jesus is wanting me to know: peace for my restless soul.
You’d have to know me well to know the anxiety that is just below the surface. A few years ago it got to the level that had me in my doctors office hooked up to an EKG machine. My physical heart was fine. Still is. But the inner part of me was on teetering on the edge, every day.
This is not a peaceful life. But how do we live peaceful in this world?
I seem to be gifted with empathy. I often have an understanding of others circumstance without experiencing the same things. It works well in our ministry with people so different from me. But there’s a down side to empathy: feeling more intensely.
And I seem to be cursed with the desire to control things. Like everything: how our dishwasher is loaded, how people should be driving, how fast the lanes in Target should be moving. Things I have no absolutely no control over except how I react. And my reactions aren’t patterned after the popular song, “Let it go”.
I’ve relied on medication from the doctor to help with the physical symptoms this anxiety was causing but I haven’t done my part in facing what I can. There’s always a part for us to play. God may be in control but he desires our cooperation, our willingness to let him lead; our acceptance.
I found Heather Caliri’s blog a couple of years ago and finally subscribed. In her writing, I’ve found a kindred soul sharing her battle with anxiety. She recently offered a short series to her subscribers on dealing with this. One of my key take aways is her suggesting we learn from what anxiety can teach us.
I haven’t been able to change who I am or how I’m wired, but I’m eager to learn from this part of me instead of being controlled by it.
I’ve recited the Serenity prayer with our men. I know how important the line about acceptance is. Now it’s time to make peace with it.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.