Sunday, May 25, 2008

hello "peace", nice to meet you


I have a bit of a split personality. I think that if you asked many of the people who know me well to list some descriptive words for me that what you would first hear are words like, "creative", "kind", "wise", and then they would maybe use a word like, "mellow", "peaceful", "chill". But, really, in actuality I have historically been one of the least peaceful people that I know. I am a planner. I am the one with the Plan A, Plan B and Plan C all mapped out and ready to go. I am the mom with the diaper bag at all times. I have a hard time sitting still in my own home. I am drawn to do dishes, to start a load of laundry, to sweep up the leaves on the patio that are being tracked into the house on little feet, to "quickly" re-paint every frame in my house a new color, or to "quickly" sew a new duvet real fast, etc. (You can imagine the look on my husband's face when he wanders into the garage and sees me laying all the frames onto the floor. At 11 PM.) This is me.

I sometimes feel my heart racing and don't really know why. It takes me a very long time to fall asleep at night because my mind is racing with thoughts, plans, worries, notes to self. I have almost abandoned the idea of "napping" entirely because it takes me so long to fall asleep. If I am able to dose off during my kids' naps/resting time, it will most likely be at the tale end of their resting time and I will be awakened very near to the first moment I actually drift off. This is me.

The split personality, though, is that I actually am a pretty chill person. I enjoy leisurely conversations. I love long, lazy days at the beach. I adore curling up with a good book and losing myself in the pages of the narrative. I speak with a soft voice and have a pretty long fuse of grace. I probably look kind of peaceful from the outside. It is inside that I am racing at the speed of light. A dear friend of mine who has a similar personality describes herself as a duck who appears to be gliding peacefully across the water, but under the water the duck is paddling its legs frantically to move through the water. It is my soul that is the least peaceful part about me.

Kind of sad, right? Here is the good news. Awareness. I am becoming aware and I am seeing what I am missing. This journey called life that I am on is taking me through some terrain that is forcing me to beckon peace to the very doorstep of my soul. And, it is so very good to meet this thing called peace. I am learning to choose to sit still instead of busily working out my plan A's through K's. [Most often, even after all that strategizing and planning, an entirely different thing will work itself out and all the time and energy I spent on the planning just floats away.] I am learning that FOR ME, having peace is connected to gratitude. If I can sit back and begin to think of how God is providing for me daily (in huge ways and tiny ways), then I remember WHO He is ...

Faithful
Provider
Loving
Wisdom
Healer
Miracle worker
Maker of the heavens and the earth

And, I am able to trust who He is and all that He promises. That takes away my motivation to figure it all out for myself.

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." -John 14:27

His peace has been given. I picture this tangible thing that Jesus left for me! Like someone leaving a home that they visited with a parting gift. Like how we leave yummy kitchen candles for our friends; Jesus leaves some peace.

"Here you go. Thanks for all the hospitality. Here is My peace."

And, not just "peace", but "MY PEACE". The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The peace that allowed Him to put up with the disciples who just did not "get it" over and over again! The peace that allowed Him to sleep amidst the crazy storms on the boat, while His disciples were shrieking like little girls in the dark! The peace that allowed Him to proceed down the path towards death and painful crucifixion, even though it was not what He wanted. The peace that comes from knowing the Father and angels by name!

... His Peace ...
... is mine ...

He commands me in that verse to not let my heart be troubled.

Easier said than done, especially in the mind of Ali Bray. But, okay. I won't. Thank you for sharing your peace with me, Jesus. If I had to choose the parting gift myself, that would perhaps not be the choice I would make. I could see me leaving Love, or Joy, or Grace. But, I want to be calm in the storms, and able to walk willingly into the biggest and most painful trial I could ever face. I want to trust You so much that I just know that each step that I take will be met by the place in the road that you have prepared for me. Even the pot holes.

Help my unbelief.

Philippians 4:4-9 says:

Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

- I love that it is the peace that comes from praying and practicing this gratitude that guards our hearts and minds!

-My part is clear : to pray and petition with thanksgiving. For it is when I am thankful, and when I begin to remember all that You have done on my behalf and in Your word {You are the same yesterday, today and forever} that I can trust You with my whole heart. I can then petition and pray in view of your mercy and power, knowing that You will lead me each step of the way.

It will take me a lifetime to get this down. But, it is already shaping my soul.

I am thankful.



4 comments:

Julie said...

I am so glad you started a blog. I absolutely love everything you wrote. It is so similar to how I feel. You are amazing!

Kristen said...

Wow, Ali. I can relate. I feel like worry and anxiety is a constant pull. Oh - the nap thing. I am exactly the same way! A nap is just a worry session where I attempt to sleep but just lay and fret.

Reading this post, I am so proud of the way you are dealing with some of the "unknowns" right now.

nicole viola said...

Phil. 4:6-7 have long been my favorite, cling-to verses. In my Bible have written next to those verses, His peace is like a river. Isaiah 48:18.

Heather of the EO said...

Preach it sister! LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. Thank you. I might have to steal it for the Highway blog.
You are a better writer than you give yourself credit for my friend.

Nice sharing a brain with you,
Heather

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