When You Lose Your Peace and How to Get It Back


We went to Arkansas to see our family, but we timed it just right so we could go to my friend’s wedding. So, on the way to the wedding, we had a little extra time and since my belly was hungry for sushi, Brent and I decided to stop at this Chinese restaurant for sushi. We both grossly underestimated the amount of  time it takes to find shoes and feed three kids and take bathroom runs and change diapers.
  
So we missed the wedding.
Well, we made it for the reception but we missed the most important part. The promise-making part and the kissing part. We totally missed it because I wanted to eat sushi and then we got lost.
My mom laughed hysterically. Well, she at least waited till after the wedding when we were all home and recounting the day’s events in the living room. But then, apparently, she just couldn’t hold it in any longer and she said, as she was shaking her head, “You came all the way from Michigan to go to this wedding and you missed the wedding.” And then she lost it right there by the couch because she knows me. Oh, how she knows me and you can write it in the books–this is just precisely something that I would do.
Thankfully, my friends, the bride and groom, were most gracious. And to make me feel better, the groom informed me that his bride was so excited to get married that she left her daddy standing all alone while she ran down the aisle to him. She even beat the flower girl to the altar.  I guess there were two lovely flower girls and she forgot about the other one.
We all laughed. 
The drive home from Arkansas was so beautiful. Since I was riding in the van for over twelve hours, I really had nothing better to do than gaze out the window at all the beauty and driving along I could better see the contours of things. Like, how the land would rise and fall, with little hills and ravines. And I kept noticing all the different shapes of  trees. Some tall and wispy, others broad and gnarled.
As we passed the woods, I’d look deep into them to admire the untamed brush and the wildness of the vines climbing and clinging to twisted branches. In those moments, I couldn’t help but worship God, this One who etched out different types of tree bark and traced out so many various shapes of leaves. It’s remarkable. He must love shapes and textures.
And since we were in the van for so long and I had lots more time to think, I kept noticing how often my thoughts would turn toward fearful things and my heart would lose its peace.  I’d be admiring all the glory around me but then suddenly my joy was squelched by a worry here and a fear there. 
So, I talked to God about it because He tells us, quite plainly, not to worry about a thing. He wants us to shape our worries into prayers so His peace can prevail and settle us right down again.  And prayer is simply just talking to God, just telling Him about the things that bug us and concern us or make us afraid.
But, then we need to listen because God talks back, not necessarily audibly, but often through the impressions of our heart and from His Word. I recalled His thoughts and let them shape my own:
Be careful which thoughts you let fill up your mind. These are the sort of things I want you to meditate on: things that are true and noble, right and pure, things that are lovely and admirable. Set your mind on what is best, not the worst. The beautiful, not the ugly. Things to praise, not things to curse. Train yourself how to think on good things and the God of peace will be with you. (A summary of Philippians 4:8-9)

Since God made us, He knows how we work the best. He knows that as soon as we start to dwell on negative things, we’ll lose our heart’s peace. From our heart, flows everything else, all the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:8-9) And when we lose our peace, it’s a sure sign that we’ve lost the sense of His abiding Presence.
So, God teaches us from His Word how to get our peace back. We focus again on Him. Christ, who is the center of all things, commands us to take those anxious, fear-filled thoughts captive. We grab them up by the scruff of the good-for-nothing neck and march them up to Him. We can choose what we will think, so we throw them down at the feet of Him who has the right to rule and reign over all things.  As Jesus moves back into the middle of our moment, we become re-aligned.  He who holds all things together, holds us together always. 
Little me and this whole wild world are cupped in God’s hands. With Christ there at the center, I breathe calm, content and deep because I know I’m held.  I get my peace back when I’m living with the Person of Peace in this moment.  He is beauty and He is noble and right and lovely and pure and all those things.
  
The crimson of the Virginia Creeper climbing up those oaks seems more vivid now.  I’m filling up my mind with the beauty, not the ugly. The best, not the worst. So, I  grin big and celebrate, because there’s all this glory all around.

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