It's winter here in Australia, but today you would've been forgiven for believing it is spring.
Tim (a shift worker at a boys' detention centre) and I went for a walk this morning after dropping the kids off at school. It was a very pleasant "winter's" morning at The Entrance. It was a still morning, with gentle light, offering great peace.
After breakfast, we both remained at home but went off to do our own thing. Me, I found frustration in having to wrestle my computer, and, well, life was still life, circumstances still swirled about us in this thing we call life, and, the peace of the morning was swiftly slipping away.
But then... the peace of the morning was still there, wasn't it. That peace can't be stolen. It can't be erased. It may be overshadowed by a few frustrations later on, but the morning that was could not be touched. No hands could go back and mess it up. It had be written in what is now the history of my life, and nothing could touch it... So I had a decision, ay. A choice to make. I could either whine and groan about my peace being supposedly lost, or I could discard the frustration and reach back into the part of my heart that nurtured the peace the morning had brought with it... So I chose the latter. I wanted to keep feeling the peace. Blow the computer! What I was doing could wait. I wanted that peace back... so I found it again, by mentally going back over my morning and then being very grateful for it. Gratitude would help me hold on to the peace I'd found this morning...
...The thought of us humans taking our emotions too seriously keeps coming to me, lately. Wherever our mood swings us, that's what we'll honour in our heart, if we're not careful - be it positive or negative... But I don't want to take my emotions seriously anymore. I want to take love seriously, yes, but, as we know, love isn't - or shouldn't be - based on feelings. If "love" builds its home on emotions, it won't last... because emotions change faster than the weather.
I want to take love seriously. I want to give my heart to others, to encourage, to empower, to
build up. I don't want to give someone my emotions, because as soon as something ticks me off, then chances are I'll toss the frustration and anger born of that at those I claim to love. Emotions will often make others pay for our moods; love willingly pays, sparing others from having to do so.
You see it a lot, don't you? Especially now that we're all living online, for all to view... Someone claims, "I'm so happy! I love him!" "I love her!" "You're such a wonderful friend!" then, in the very next status, about the very same person, from the very same person, we often find words written out of anger, that seek to tear down the one we claimed we loved in our last breath. Such love, such friendship, is built not on love but on emotion, or mood. It says, "I will love you and treat you as I please, depending on my mood... so you better serve me and treat ME in a way that pleases me, or you will pay for it...!" THAT is NOT love... Or if it is, surely it is love of self.
I don't want to live like that? Have I lived like that? Yes, I have. Am I still capable of such behaviour? Of course I am... But that doesn't mean I want to... So, today, I share my morning with you not to boast in the peace I found, not to boast in my marriage or anything else - for God knows both Tim and I have been through a few battles over the years to get to where we are now - but I share my morning to reflect on how easily peace can be stolen if we allow our lives to be built on emotion.
I was so tempted to give in to anger when I sat here having to wrestle the computer rather than do as I pleased. It's so easy to be swayed by the negative. It's much harder to hold on to peace, to let the frustration slip away, to not be controlled by negative emotion, than it is to fight for, and focus on, the good things in life... but it's so worth it. It may take some practice to get the hang of following positive thoughts in order to hang on to positive moods, rather than embrace the negative and produce negative thoughts - that we often use as darts against others - but who is happy living that way?
Give me peace any day...
But peace comes from within. It doesn't depend on circumstances or on anyone else in our life - unless we give control over to emotion. It all takes place in our mind. A mood hits: Do I give it the power to make me feel like crap :) or do I tell it to shut the hell up and turn my focus back to peace...? We do have that choice. No one influence our choices or our moods as much as we do... even though we prefer to do as Adam did in the Garden of Eden and blame someone else...
I have found it's easier to hold on to peace when you trust God... though it must be said it's easier to trust God when you get to know Him... And it must be said that it is in God's heart and presence that I found the greatest peace I've ever known... as well as the greatest love and joy. But not even God can force me to hold on to peace if I do not will to do so... and anger, or fear, or doubt, will try to sway me to let it go... I don't want to let go of peace anymore. I WILL to hold on to it. If I can discipline myself to hold on to the peace God gives, despite circumstances, then overcoming whatever negatives come my way, and whatever ones may try to haunt me from the past, will be a great deal easier... Life will be easier, and I'll be much happier than what I am when wrestling with frustration, doubt or anger.
Hey, and fellow believers, remember it is written that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us... and we have been given the mind of Christ... Maybe it's time we used it, huh? ;)
Much love to YOU...