In 2021, I was compelled to live the One Little Word peace. Rolling into the tail end of 2021, one of the few things I can say for sure is the year of peace didn’t pan out the way I expected. (At the beginning of the year I would have told you I didn’t have any expectations for a year of peace; I know now that wasn’t true. As an Enneagram 3, I always have expectations.)
I expected a reprieve.
I thought it would be the year that everything would pull together. A year when things would “fall into place” (whatever that means), and a year when I would have time to write stories, play with photos, host parties, and finally learn to decorate our house to reflect our special brand of whimsy. It would be a year when I made homemade ravioli stuffed with pear and gorgonzola; a year when I knitted Christmas stockings and stuffed toys; a year when I searched for an agent. I expected a year when the businesses turned the corner; a year when I learned to walk away from work; a year when I found my footing in my professional world.
I thought it would be a year when I wouldn’t fail so much.
I expected peace to give me a reprieve.
Instead, peace insisted that I let go.
I went into the year knowing that peace has been given to me.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. —John 14:27
I kept an image in my mind of holding peace. I reminded myself to claim it, to pick it up and to keep it with me. You can’t pick something up if your hands are full of other things. It’s why I had grand visions of a reprieve. I would live a magical life. The hard would be over and peace would wrap around me.
It turns out that there is more to John 14:27 than what I had memorized.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
I’ve spent most of the year contemplating giving up the quest to live an unhurried life, giving up plucking the small moments to create an extraordinary existence, giving up fighting to turn darkness to light. I contemplated quietly allowing the daily grind to whisk me away. I could slip into automaticity and numbness.
I have an uncanny number of women who speak truth into my life. It is because of them that I didn’t slip away. They reminded me that I have a full life. They remind me that when I’m overwhelmed it is hard to see the whole picture. They remind me that writing and loving and whimsy are good ways to spend a life.
Plus, I’m an eternal optimist with rose colored glasses that have been jarred a bit crooked by the bumps of life. As I straighten my rose colored glasses, I see that I should have spent the year learning to let my heart not be troubled or afraid.
The world needs more people claiming peace. Darkness doesn’t like peace. Darkness doesn’t like the light in me. It’s why I get knocked around a bit; I’m a little broken from the hits. I used to think that broken meant failure. Failure can cause a lot of trouble and fear to a person’s heart.
But what if brokenness is the way of peace? Maybe that’s why the verse includes a warning about peace being different than what the world offers. Peace isn’t about a reprieve. As we claim peace, we also have to commit to trusting in the One who left peace so that our hearts can be free and brave.
What if brokenness is what forms a person into a peacemaker?
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