I keep a journal… I don’t keep some locked diary, and if you were to look inside my little book, it might be different than you’d expect. Indeed, you would find the quiet longings and prayers of my heart penned carefully across the pages, but they tell a different kind of story – a story of finding myself, of finding God, and of drawing close to Him through written words. It is a story of falling in love with a Prince. The passion flowing through the words increases daily. The words I couldn’t speak, I could write. For me journaling is a release; I can sort my thoughts that way. I feel that I can draw close to God. I am learning who I am and who God is to me. I can look back and see how He has changed my heart, and I can also remind myself of His promises, of prayers He has answered. Whether it is through writing, music, reading, dancing, drawing, or some other thing, every person has a special thing in which they feel especially close to the Father.
God speaks in so many different ways, which, with Him being the most wonderfully creative mind ever, should not be surprising. You have only to look at creation to see His variety! Find your way; there is no right or wrong answer. Find your way to draw close to Him and begin your love story.
We all have many choices that we make each day, and that is a fact. It all starts when we get out of bed in the morning (or make the choice not to get up until later)….What to eat for breakfast? What to wear? What to do about the annoying dog next door? Well, there is another choice to be made before your feet hit the floor for the first time that day, and that is “what is my attitude toward today?” Oh yes, don’t be so shocked. You can indeed choose the tone of your day. Now, I did not say, “You can choose every single thing that will happen this day and have control over all of it,” but I AM saying that you CAN choose how you will respond to those inevitable little surprises or disappointments. Sometimes we can’t control things. Bad things, heart-breaking things, and frustrating things happen that we don’t choose. Yet even then we have a choice in how we respond. In those times when we can “call the shots,” so to speak, it is easier to pretend it is just the way things are and you have no responsibility – like on the days you wake up and have an immediate “grump” in your heart and rude words on your tongue to spew at the first person who glances your way.
I had one of those days not very long ago. For no good or apparent reason I woke up in a foul mood. That isn’t the worst of it though. The worst part was that I didn’t want to have a good or even a better attitude. And boy did it take a lot of time with God to straighten that out! He gave me a choice though. I could have huffed all day long, felt none the better for it, and gone to bed upset. My other option was to ask for His help to overcome. He was ready and waiting to assist, but He wanted me to make the right choice first. He has given us a lot of freedom to make decisions. All too often we abuse this freedom by using it as a license to sin. The choices we make can affect not only us personally but others around us as well. What would happen if we all chose to step out in courage? To always speak the truth and keep our word, even when it hurts? To walk in peace every day, even when life isn’t going like we think it should? God gives us the opportunity to choose what is right, to choose obedience and trust. Because of His love for us, He won’t ever force us into to doing something that we don’t want to do. However, along with the ability to chose, He has also given us the ability to break His heart with our choices. The power of choice is one of the most amazingly powerful things God has given us. So, what will you choose today?
Peace is not found in the circumstance. When you think of peace – and I am talking personal peace of heart and mind, not “world peace” here – do you immediately push it to the wayside as something unattainable? After all, who could have real peace? I mean there’s always something else to worry about, right? Always something that you’d really just love to change – things are hard, you’re not happy in your spirit, and changing your situation would fix all of that, right? I have learned otherwise. Sure, some situations are more stressful and trying than others – we would all like a calm, happy environment to reside in. However, changing your circumstances will not bring you the peace that you might think it would, only a cheap copy of true, deep-down, everlasting peace. I know; I have learned.
Imagine with me a moment. You are sailing the ocean in your ship, a mere speck in a vast area of shimmering water. The waters are growing rough and choppy; ominous dark clouds and deep rumbles of thunder come, bringing a lashing rain and lightning. Your little ship is being tossed like a toy and the waves are licking higher and higher up the sides of the craft, threatening to take you with them into a dark watery abyss. You are uncertain of what to do. Where is a safe haven? You have heard tidbits of information about a glorious Harbor, but you aren’t sure of its location. With no purpose except escaping immediate danger, you sail vainly about finding no safe spot to anchor your ship. You sail on and on – surely if you were able to get far enough from the squall you’d be safe. Finally the rain ceases and the waves settle somewhat. You are safe and all is well!….Or is it? No, it is simply a lull in the storm. The calm before the nightmare begins again. You are tired and so very weary of fighting by yourself. You collapse on the deck; you just can’t go on. What is the point? The storm rages and drags you around in it. You let it go – the belief that you could make a safe place for yourself, and even the thought that running away could make everything better. You are done worrying, done frantically searching for something you aren’t even sure exists. “Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” Rest – wouldn’t that be nice? “Peace I give to you; My peace I leave with you.” Peace? Was it possible? “Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you.” Could it truly be that simple? Was the thing you have been searching for right here all along? You lifted yourself up off the deck. And then you saw it. Never have you seen anything more welcoming or beautiful. Golden sunlight streams through the clouds, through the tattered ship’s sails, and envelops you like a warm, snuggly blanket. Now you have found that which before was only a whisper of a thought. It satisfies the restless place in your heart that you thought there was no cure for. It is His peace.
Joyce Meyer defines peace as “the continual tranquility of heart and life,” and that is how God describes His peace. It isn’t about the circumstances. You can run, but the haunting thought that you aren’t truly at content and peaceful will always follow. There is only one place that you will find true peace, and that is the safe and sheltering arms of the Father. Once you have tasted the real deal, you’ll never be able to go back – I certainly wasn’t.