This is a word we see often during the Christmas season.
And I am working on re-defining it for myself this year.
For many people, this season brings joy and excitement!
I love the heart of Christmas.
The celebration of Jesus, family gatherings, joy and gift-giving.
However, my family status would be defined as: “it’s complicated”.
And the commercialism can really get to me if I let it.
So, to help me stay focused in the right direction, this year I have really leaned in to learn about celebrating Advent.
A practice created to help us keep focused on Jesus leading up to Christmas Day.
To help us remember WHO HE IS and WHAT HE DID.
PEACE is supposed to be my focus this week.
Do I feel peaceful? Do I have a warm fuzzy sense of wonder?
A feeling like sitting by the cozy fire with a blanket, a hot cuppa, watching a gentle snow fall out the window?
This week I am struggling.
Struggling with the worst fears I own.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of failing.
Fear that others don’t like me.
Fear that I have no value to those around me.
Fear that at the core of who I am, I am just not good enough.
(Fear of even sharing this because: “vulnerability”)
You know, those moments where you just want to give up, walk away from everything and hide in your bed and never come out?
Maybe it’s just me?
This past Sunday my pastor shared an amazing message on Peace.
The Hebrew word is Shalom.
It has a deeper meaning of peace than we know in our own language and culture.
Part of experiencing Shalom is understanding that it is about completeness and being made whole.
It is not just the absence of conflict (as we think of it).
It is restoration and rehabilitation for the offender.
I want that kind of peace. That Shalom.
Because in this season of my life, and to be honest, most of my seasons, I struggle to feel restored and rehabilitated.
I know I am the offender.
I know it so deep in my bones.
I feel like I fail God so very much.
I get one or two things “right” and somehow fail the next twenty...
And somewhere that translates into I AM A FAILURE.
And I sit in that definition.
Broken. Alone. Defeated.
Last night as I lay in my bed, I worked hard to imagine Jesus sitting on the bed beside me, stoking my hair, comforting me in my pain. There I lay pouring out to God in my heart. Begging Him to help me feel confident in who HE is, instead of who I am.
And yet I still woke with pain, fear and insecurity in my heart.
I am desperate for the Shalom kind of peace.
Where I feel restored, renewed and reconciled.
Where I know that I am forgiven, loved and accepted.
The one who gets to ultimately define me.
I am determined to find this peace, SHALOM, no matter what the world, or the relationships in it, throw my way.
Working on knowing that no matter what comes out of my mouth,
He is the GOOD WORD spoken over my life.
That even though there are places where my heart and thoughts feel dark,
HE IS THE LIGHT OF MY WORLD.
In all the ways I continue to fail Him,
HE IS ALWAYS GOOD and RESTORES me.
Because I have been here before.
And the darkness always lifts at some point.
Because this kind of PEACE isn’t dependent on my situation or my surroundings or even my feelings.
I will remember.
I will tell myself that this moment will pass.
I will remind my heart that Jesus will redeem and restore me, as only HE can.
I will find my way again-through following HIS way.
I will experience HIS joy. His love. HIS PEACE.
And so will you my friend.