Last year, my word was “joy.” I entered last January full of hope, excitement, and much unknown. The truth of 2018? Not my most joyous. For any of my readership, I am grateful I didn’t start by sharing that word, as my posts roosted in the lament and hopeless. By the finishing Fall and Winter months, they found voice in repentance, for which I am grateful for.
Much of me wishes that the word had been prophetic, that the time past would have looked differently than it did. As I have new tangible things to hold and grasp as this blank slate has started, I am deeply grateful that His ways are not my ways. Most of what happened I would not have chosen for myself. That journey, although not the word I should have chosen in hindsight, made room for a better joy; this joy is deeper and longer lasting.
As people posted their “top-nine” and on their stories, smiling pictures showing their highlight reel, I thought of the ways I portrayed my life online, and how most people would not have known the deep sadness I felt, the losses I mourned, the tears I shed. We are attached to the fake vulnerability that rewards with the quick hit of dopamine, the hearts and comments we rack up as we cope with the emptiness we refuse to let Christ into. What I was walking through was not beautiful, but the feeds I surrounded myself with were, and so I bought into the lie that found worth in what others think of me through perfectly placed florals and plants, thankfully, while recognizing that counseling and the love of friends and family were most necessary.
This year, my word is peace.
When I think of peace, I tend to go straight to the many ways in which I want it in its most comfortable and easy form. My months in counseling have found me wisely recognizing those points at which I fit a mold or persona in order to be someone others want me to be. For you enneagram fans, I’m a proud type three, typically trying to find my peace in not only that ability to chameleon, but to impress through my achievements and successes. But underneath all that is peace, peace where there is no peace: a lack of understanding of who I am and who God sees me to be, a desperate, tireless anxiety that wonders if I’ll ever be enough, an unfortunate narrative with half-truths that worry I’ll be found out.
We tend to make the same mistakes we always have, a never ending cycle of not learning our lesson. I’m thankful for a patient God, and for the chorus He continues to sing over me regardless of if I’m on an up or down swing. My forgetfulness has found me running back time and time again to hoping for this peace in the wrong things, a grasping for vapors that dissipate in my hands, nonetheless causing me to simply try harder, be better, do more so that maybe I can hold it long in enough in my hands for peace to stay. New Year’s resolutions only encourage this problem for me.
I do see my husband and I entering into a time of respite, a new place for us to rest and gather strength for what lies ahead. I do not mean lack of hard work or hard things, but an optimism that has me less frazzled than I have been in the past. Yet, this peace has been birthed with small beginnings in the past, long season of wrestle, of “I won’t let go until you bless me.” We’ll continue to wrestle, to have many wounds and marks and limps that bear witness to God with us, some less beautiful than the others.
This peace is both fought for and given freely. I will fight for it as I learn more about Christ and about myself, and tell the truth about them over a facade. I will receive as I let God who is unchanging and unmoved be what I hold fast to, faithful forever He is to even me. I will fight for it as I see lack of peace, lack of justice, and use my voice. I will receive good gifts, regardless of whether or not I think it fits into my definition of good. We have a present hope that is very bold.
I will struggle to not want to sleep under my weighted blanket of easy peace, of what has been “normal” for me. Yet, I am promised a Savior who is resolute to tear down and rebuild, even in my shortcomings to uphold a word or thing, the Spirit, my daily bread, sustains and awakens.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.