The week after Christmas and before the new year has become a week when I find myself reflecting back over the year.
What have I learned?
What would I do differently?
Where am I going? Did I progress, regress or stall in my goals, dreams, visions?
Did I grow spiritually? Mentally? Emotionally and in physical health?
I’m not much of a goal setter but I do have one life goal… and to the best of my ability, the decisions I make reflect that goal.
To live life well. To live a life that brings hope, breaks bondage and cultivates freedom in my own life and simultaneously in the lives of other people.
When you look at older people, you’ll generally find two types.
- Those who seem to have conquered their insecurities and trials. They exude joy. You feel loved just by interacting with them.
- Then there’s those who seem to think life itself plotted against them. They seem bitter and unhappy. And they really aren’t that fun to be around.
These two types of people often have similar life stories filled with trials, betrayal, heartaches, loss etc. What makes their responses so different?
I believe that it is a life long journey to that place of contentment. I believe that every time we run into a trial we have a choice to make… focus on the positive or focus on the negative. Every time someone offends you… will u hold it against them or will you forgive them? When the cake lands on the floor upside down, will you utter a few choice words or will you have an impromptu ‘eating cake off the floor’ party? Trust me, worrying about germs will not cultivate joy. 🙂
It is the those tiny decisions that we make each day, in each moment, that determine who we will become.
What did God teach me this year?
While our daily choices, decisions and actions play a large part in building our character, it is also through being connected to the heart of the Father that we are molded and shaped into a person who mirrors the peace, joy and love of Jesus, to those around us.
As I’ve prayed and processed through some things this year, God began highlighting to me, the need to protect my peace.
In Jenn Johnson’s book, ‘All Things Lovely,’ she says: If anything is zapping the peace and energy that should be reserved for your family, LET IT GO! (I paraphrased that, but the point is the same.)
Bill Johnson said, (in a sermon) ‘In some seasons, your mind will be so full of whatever challenge you’re facing that you won’t have room for anything else and this is ok, in these seasons God expects us to simply show up, even if we’re not fighting on the front lines.’ (Again, I paraphrased.)
I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone else, but it made so much sense to me! In a hard season our minds can feel so fragile that something simple like an action movie, or being bombarded by all the things on social media can be overwhelming.
1 Peter 3:10-11 says: Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.
Whoever desires to love life…
Me. I definitely desire to love life.
This verse tells us in order to love life we should turn from evil and do good but it also says… to not only seek peace but to pursue it!
Now, I’m sure there is many ways to put all this into action but at this point in my life, I made a rather simple decision. If it messes with my peace, it loses it’s place in my life.
This looks a lot like things coming and going. I’ll allow things in, but promptly boot them out if they start messing with my peace. It looks like saying no to a lot of things and people in this season, but it doesn’t mean no forever.
If I’m at peace, my life runs better, my marriage, kids, friendships and even my house (wink) benefit from me being at peace. They also pay the price when I’m not at peace.
And that is why I’ve learned, actually I’m still learning, that while protecting my peace comes with a price, I end up paying a greater, more devastating price, when I allow things into my life, that hinder my peace.
And that is a rather abrupt ending but I have nothing else to add… so be blessed! And protect your peace, no matter the cost!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13