Browsing Tag

peace

In Live more simply/ Worship more fully

Purpose amidst the chaos

I slipped on a muddy patch, banged my knee and lived with the black bruise, aching and ugly and right there for all the world to see.

It had been raining. Hard. This bountiful garden of ours on the tip of Africa was drenched. Majestic trees stooped over, the weight of the water heavy in their leaves. I took to the outdoors at the first reprieve, breathing the sweet scent of life amongst the mountains. I was looking for the bird that was singing somewhere above my head when I went down.

That muddy patch on cobbled walkway was disaster waiting for inattention.

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The time had come for serious work. The moss-riddled stepping stones were dangerous and someone else could get injured. This house of ours welcomes scores of people each year. She is a peaceful harbor, a place of reprieve and everybody I know loves her. To have a spot that could hurt seemed unthinkable, yet there it was.

In the beginning of time there was another garden and in the midst of the garden, evil lurked. It would bruise and bring pain unthinkable. But, a plan of redemption was made.

This place of peace, our African refuge, has been entrusted to us for safekeeping. We are stewards of magnificence, keepers of paradise. Above her foliage fly owls and eagles and far below scurry creatures amongst lilies of white and of lilac and of orange as bright as the sun.

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sunlight in trees

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rocks and water

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This blemish in paradise, this place of hurt, needed attention. The keepers of the garden were rallied and a plan of redemption was made. The mud and moss and mess were scraped away. The growth was cut back. Pebbles were brought in to widen the trail and order was brought to chaos. The northern slopes of this paradise is still a glorious wild place – just slightly tamed, a gentle subduing by the stewards of the garden.

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My life – and yours – has places of hurt slap in the midst of our beautiful places. Evil lurks, waiting for our inattention, waiting to bruise us as we fall. It hurts and it humiliates. It haunts our dreams and humbles our aspirations. Yet, in the very midst of the garden, in the cool of the day, our Savior seeks us out. Then he cleans away the moss and he scrapes away the mud and he – just slightly – tames those wild places and brings purpose to the chaos.

“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed…The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2: 8 & 15

In Live more simply

The importance of finding your peace and joy again

Life can get unbalanced at times. With all good intentions, we push a little harder, we work a little longer and we engage a little deeper. This may be fine for a short period but when we set this pace for long stretches with no end in sight, it is a sure way to loose our peace and our joy.  I know because very recently my life was way over the edge. The result was not pretty. My sleep was disrupted, I was tired, uncreative, defensive and plain awful to be around.

Losing peace and joy is a path to certain defeat. God has gifted each one of us for a task that is uniquely ours. When we lose our peace and our joy, anxiety sets in and it steals our creativity and passion, both of which are integral ingredients for fulfilling our unique God-given tasks.

I needed to pay attention and I needed to make some changes.  Immediately.

This is what I did.  If you have lost your peace, your joy or both, may I encourage you to try this too.

I humbled myself and shared my burdens with others. In return for my trust, I was wonderfully blessed by people who surrounded me with prayer, with scripture, with care and with grace.

Prayerful support

I slowed down. I intentionally said no to tasks that would keep me working beyond a reasonable 8-hour day.

I stopped listening to the multitude of voices. Not disrespectfully – grateful for the input but needing time to process silently.

For a time, I disconnected from social media (even from this blog that I love).

I took long walks at the end of my workday.   The Nature Reserve close to our house was a perfect place for me to wordlessly find God. The rolling hills that suddenly peak into spires of rock filled me with awe. The tiny flowers hanging in crevices like miniature bells rang with the joy of their Maker. In God’s wonderful creation, the wind of the Holy Spirit whispered in my ears and fortified my heart.

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I read scripture. I simply read and read – allowing the familiar, comforting words to bring clarity and strength.

I gave thanks. On purpose and with purpose. I reminded myself of the many, many blessings for which I am truly grateful.

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I was determined to find the simplicity of life again.

The reward has been one more added blessing to count. The peace of God, which is beyond human understanding, re-filled my heart and my mind. My normal sleep pattern returned. Anticipation of life and the accompanying joy rang out with victory.  I am planning on a Sabbatical rest in a few months time. This will re-energize my body, mind and spirit.  In the meantime, I have brought balance back and it has paid huge dividends.

Finding our way back from all the pointless busyness and walking in the simplicity of our calling is what truly matters. It is here that peace and joy are daily companions, where striving ceases and where we see the work of the Lord simply unfold.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6