PEACE. It's there at the beginning of NINETEEN of the books of the New Testament. Almost always alongside it's best friend Grace. Over and over and over again it's declared: Grace and peace to you!
Peace. If I've ever had a "holy grail", it's PEACE. I have longed for it, searched for it, dreamt about it, schemed about contriving it, cried over not having it... but it has eluded me in many ways for many, many years. You have to know, though, that I'm not talking about peace in my relationships with people. Sure, I like it when my kids are all happy and when my hubby and I are laughing together. (Who wouldn't?) But being the good middle-child that I am, I've always been pretty good at making people happy and keeping the peace. Everywhere, that is, except inside my own heart and mind.
That's why when I started to sense that 2014 was supposed to be about peace I hesitated to embrace it. Why, you might ask, if that's all I've ever wanted? Well. For nineteen years now (yes, I'm also noticing this is the second reference to "19" I've made in this post.) I've been choosing a new word for my new year. I don't even know how it started, I just remember back in 1995 wanting to learn more about grace. I didn't really understand it and wanted to. So my New Year's tradition of picking a new word to study for the year was born. Since 1995, I have picked a variety of words (some that I loved, some that I was scared of, some I've forgotten, some I've remembered) and often they became my wrestling partner for the year. This last year my word was "Alegría" (Spanish for joy, happiness, and/or gladness) and as happened often in years past I found myself in December saying "OK, Lord. Our time is almost up. Am I ever going to get this or not???" The quick end of that story is that YES, God indeed tied 2013 up with a bow of alegría - but my point is that it took much of the year to learn the lessons.
So when considering choosing (or accepting?) PEACE as my word for 2014, there was some fear that it would mean wrestling with peace all year - or practically declaring it would be a year of struggling with peace. And I don't want that. I mean, I've had enough of that already and sometimes it seems safer to leave well (or not well) enough alone rather than actually intentionally wrestling with it. Or wrestling with myself.
But there was no other word. Peace beckoned. Peace wooed. Peace won. And I believe my Prince of Peace has whispered to my heart that this year will be different. He is offering peace and it is mine for the taking and I don't have to wrestle with it for a year first. (And really, I already KNOW I'm going to need it this year in extra measure.) So I have accepted the offer. And I think instead of a wrestling match, this year is going to be more of a dance. I might not be much of a dancer and will probably trip and step on God's toes a lot as we do this, but we're doing it anyway.
Starting with Grace and finally coming around to Peace.
Sounds perfect to me.
"Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace) and be thankful." ~Colossians 3:15 NET
I make no promises, but do hope to be back here more often this year to share what I'm finding. : ) Do you have a word for 2014? I'd love to hear what it is!
Grace and peace to you, friends.
(Oh and by the way. Photo credit for that awesome flower picture goes to my brilliant daughter. Isn't she amazing?)
Linking up with faithbarista.com : )