Calm

This past week my husband preached on the Armor of God out of Ephesians 6.

We were discussing the sermon and how to apply it in our small group. We got to the armor of “shoes readied with the gospel of peace.” We began discussing it and how we are supposed to apply this verse.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure.

Sometimes in this is the joy of discussing scripture, we get to put more pieces together that help it make sense, because we are talking it out loud, and the spirit is not only working in us, but the lives around us too.

I’ve struggled with anxiety; therefore, peace is a word in the Bible I’d run to in anxious times hoping it would come flying off the pages into my heart.

However, this night one of my fellow sisters said, “I’ve learned peace has nothing to do with calm.”

This rocked me to my core, to an untruth I’d believed for awhile. I looked at her and audibly spoke “yes.” Exactly. Clarity. Truth.

We spoke about what peace meant for our feet. I believe in this passage it’s meaning was to sturdy us. I suggested that maybe peace in the gospel is that the gospel has made us right in God’s eyes, giving us peace with ourselves. (Ephesians 2:14). Peace with the war that goes on within us. Like Paul talks about in Romans 7, he does what he doesn’t want to do then ends with but “thanks be to my Savior Jesus Christ.”

There is peace, and it’s not always the calm I once looked for. It’s peace with the fact that my God accepts me exactly as I am: wholly and freely His, because of my Savior Jesus Christ.

Letting fear lead

Most of my life, fear has lead.

Even after becoming a Christian in the seventh grade, I have journals of asking God to make me brave, to relieve my fears.

To no avail.

It was a way of life before I was a Christian and continued.  I wasn’t sure I was “saved” because this struggle seemed so deep. And a lot of my prayers and faith depended upon God answering these desperate pleas for freedom from fear.  I was asking God to take something away, but it was something that needed tended.

Maybe some of you are like me, I want all of the “how to-s” to do it the same way as so and so and be free of fear.  Because what I’ve always wanted most was that exact thing, freedom from fear, the end result, perfection, Heaven really.

With the help of my counselor, I can sit with my fears a little longer.  I can let them settle so I can see clearer.  Fear was a defense, a way of protection.  That is a correct connection.

There were areas of my life that needed defending.  Needed a voice.  A person to stand up and say I got this!

And His name is Jesus Christ.  When I listen to my greatest fears and hurts, I treat myself with kindness.  And then that kindness can flow out to others.  But the truth is if I sit just a second longer, Jesus, the Holy Spirit is able to come up and the whirlwind clears.

God is a whisperer, not a screamer.  If something within you is screaming by all means give notice, but you don’t have to respond immediately, unless your arm is falling off or something.  If there’s no blood, you got a few minutes to breath and see something different.

I read an article recently, and thought oh crap this is me right?, I have to fix this right now.  I can’t live this way.  (An old response.)  But once I sat a few minutes longer, I realized there was something for me to learn.  A piece for me to take away.

I can sit back and think.  Things are changing, slowly.  Progress is happening.

Fear might always be my knee jerk response, but my guess is it will become less and less my immediate response.  As long as I give it enough attention to listen, let it speak, and choose wisely.

Fear is a means of protection.  We shouldn’t go running into a fire, the fear of it hurting should be enough to stop us.  Fear is purposeful.  But sometimes it has grown so loud, it has drowned out all the other voices, like God’s.

This isn’t easy.  I still fail in this.  But in the failing is where I grow the deepest.  The “oh-yeah I forgot this doesn’t work anymore.”

So don’t let fear lead, not by ignoring it, but by giving it a seat at the table so it no longer has to yell like a toddler in your ear until you listen.

Let a trusted mentor/counselor walk through some of those fears.  Pray that God would show you something knew as you sit just a little while longer until the calm comes.