Monday, December 29, 2008

Laptop Shutdown Disturbs My Peace

I'm beginning to wonder about blogging. Last week I wrote on peaceful sleep as God's reward for His own and my cpap sleeping machine shut down. This week my plans were to wind up the month long theme of peace to honor the Prince of Peace: Jesus Christ and my power supply to my computer dies. Needless to say, my peace of mind was fractured.

But I'm going with the flow of the disruptions: the greatest paradox of peace lies in what is my source of power and am I connected? As I read on God's peace I have been startled by how often God's peace first necessitates some disruption of tranquility. A couple of days ago one of friends told me at dinner she has been challenged many times this month with the blog posts. Looking at her facial expression I gather it's "disturbed" her peace also.

My husband, John, didn't waste a moment when he knew he could die at any moment after his lung cancer diagnosis in March this year. He used his words to make peace with all of his family. He was a peacemaker and a godly head of the household speaking the blessings into his wife and his children. Whenever someone is soon to die they choose to speak the most important truths to those around them.

Likewise, Jesus told the disciples just before His death,
"I am leaving you with a gift: peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27 Living Bible

Here is where our paradox comes in: peace the world gives is quite different from the peace God gives. Peace as the world understands it is a negative concept: no conflict or disturbance. Families assume they have peace because there is no quarreling between family members. Sometimes I can get irritated with others and I will mistakenly think, "Don't bother me, let me have some peace."

This week we will wind up our month of exploring true peace that only Jesus Christ gives us as believers. Each day we will look at the paradox of peace of the world and heavenly peace.
Today let's begin with me. Until I am at peace with myself I can never be a peacemaker as Jesus calls me to be in the Beatitudes. Jesus made it clear what Christianity will cost: "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me" (Mt. 16:24).

I admit when things heat up there is a part of me that just wants to flee. I have missed great opportunities in Christ because I have quietly slipped out the backdoor when conflict would raise its head. My greatest failures in my marriage and as a mother come from trying to find "cheap peace" to avoid quarreling.

I've mentioned previously that my childhood had many issues. I'm sure I had wounds from hearing horrible fights between my parents from birth until I was 4 years old. I have no recall of that time, but from what I have heard it was a battleground most days.

Conflict is always over power and acceptance. What some people consider valuable enough to war over baffles me, but the fact is that to them it's worth fighting over. Pride and competitiveness set up to be sure my power base is secure and my acceptance is in place. I can become so passionate in grabbing what I see as my entitlement that I leave my peacemaking to becoming a trouble maker.

C. S. Lewis explains this quite clearly:
"If you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, ‘How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronize me, or show off?’ The point is that each person’s pride is in competition with everyone else’s pride. It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise. Two of a trade never agree. Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is essentially competitive – is competitive by its very nature – while the other vises are competitive only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone."

One way to describe the Christian life is to say that it is made up of paradoxes. That means that there are things in our lives that don't seem to make sense, don't seem to fit with other things in our lives. And yet we Christians have seen enough of God's power and wisdom and love that we believe with good reason that the paradoxes of our lives really do fit together in God's mind, even if we can't always figure them out. With our hearts passionately surrendered to whatever Father God desires in us; we obey what we read in the Word and what we sense He is calling us to do.

When my power cord died on my laptop I could not connect to the internet or use my laptop. Similarly when I lose my connection with God and look to any other source of power I am useless in the Kingdom of God. When I realize truth: that God is my power source and provider my peace is secure and nothing can shake my faith.

How's your power source?


sailorcross said...

My power source is full and working at top wattage this morning!!

Sometimes though I think we all tend to fall back into the "worries", the "what ifs", "why mes", and then we really need to turn to our power source!!

One of my goals for this year is to turn more quickly to "THE POWER SOURCE"--not wasting time worrying over these things that I have no control over--seeking God's will in each and every situation.

I wanted to ask you--have you ever read the book "Six Months to Live"? It is written to encourage you to live your life as though you KNOW you have only 6 months left on this earth. What would you do differently in these 6 months? Who would you make amends with? What would you spend your time doing? It's very insightful and can completely change how we look at our everyday problems.

Have a wonderful day, Kay!!


Chatty Kelly said...

Well, I'm glad to know what happened, as you usually blog everyday I was like "Where's Kay??"

But you turned lemons into lemonade, and made great analogies out of the situation.

Happy New Year, Kay!

Kay Martin said...

Beth and Kelly,
Happy New Year. Thanks for noticing I was off the net. I missed reading your blogs and I missed writing here.

May we all who love the Lord have ears, eyes and hearts focused on Him as this puzzling new year opens. He is the source of all that is good.


© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.