Monday, October 8, 2007

Simple Peace

I'm wound too tight. This isn't a new revelation for me, it's something I've always known. But for some reason there are seasons in my life when I seem to wrap myself in even more complicated knots than normal. These past two weeks would qualify for a lifetime achievement award in the annals of my often nail-biting life. Literally and figuratively--I do actually bite my fingernails. Yuck, I know. I can't help it and usually don't even know I'm doing it. I figure we're all allowed a minor vice or two. Or three...

It's not that I'm uptight; I'm actually quite easy-going. But being the perfectionist that I am, I am very hard on myself when perfection is not acheived. And, to make matters worse, I worry about perfection long before any verdict has been reached, causing myself lots of unnecessary worry and stress.

My women's Bible study is working through "Breaking Free" by Beth Moore. This week we learned the five benefits that God wants to bestow on all of his children. One in particular really struck me: to experience God's peace.

I hate to get all philosophical/theological, but what is God's peace? Is it the ability to remain calm when my boys are jumping all over each other? Is it feeling perfectly at ease and content while a prospective buyer for our home mulls over our counter-offer? Is it ignoring bitter words from a friend because I know her anger isn't really directed at me? If it is any of those things, or all of them, I need a little more peace in my life.

Sometimes I hate living in the tension that is, by definition, the Christian life. We are to be in the world but not of it. We are to be continually made new, transformed, and yet never conform. We are to love the law, but never fall into the trap of legalism. We are to love peace, but to also understand that peacekeeping is not the same as peace-making. Argh. Am I the only one who sometimes finds it just plain hard?

I don't feel very peaceful right now, and I'm only making matters worse by getting angry at myself for not being able to perfectly exist in the balance. I want to surrender my control, and yet I know I can't lose control because God expects a whole, sentient woman to fulfill the call he has placed on my life (and yours).

Sometimes, like today, I just want it to be easy. I want my kids to stop breaking things, my house to sell quickly, my friendships to be hassle-free, and the list goes on and on. Usually, I'm all for adventure. I want my life to be a challenge, my experiences to be complicated and varied. And God's peace in that context is multi-layered and resoundingly deep--satisfying and quenching and sometimes months, if not years, in the making. But just for today, I'd give about anything for one of those great, big EASY buttons. I'd love a little simple, straight-forward peace. I don't want peace like a mighty, churning river. I want peace like a puddle of rain: calm, safe, maybe even shallow.

Deep breath.

Sorry if this was a bummer of a post... For a little pick-me-up (or if you are feeling peaceful and can't relate at all!) I am at Becky's Christian Reviews this week. At the end of the interview there is a link to the review she did of After the Leaves Fall. I believe she posted the review last week. Also, Novel Reviews has released their review of After the Leaves Fall. A few months ago I did an interview with reviewer Ane Mulligan, but I'm not sure when that will be posted. I'll keep you updated...


  1. Sometimes I wonder if I'm experiencing God's peace or am I just in denial over all the 'ick' happening in my life right now.

    I had a friend tell me this week that I was lying to her because my attitude was happy even though she knows I'm facing a multitude of struggles. Is trying to stay positive in the midst of trials wrong?

    What's a gal to do? If you find the balance, let us all know.

  2. I can relate to the post too well. How come I get the feeling you and I approach things similar ;)

    I have an interview with someone (over the phone) next month and I am already hugging the porcelain throne over it. Where is my peace there?

    But when I am broken, and feel I can not move. God does come to me and comfort me. That is when I realize how unworthy of his love I am.

    Blessings my friend.

  3. Nicole, your interview posts on Novel Journey on October 17th.