To most people, I seem very outgoing and extroverted but by definition, an extrovert is one who gains energy from their interactions with people. One the other hand, an introvert is one who expels energy from their interactions with people. I am an introvert. When I think of an extrovert, I think of my son. When he was little, around 7 years old he would constantly ask these three questions in rapid fire each morning, “What are we going to do? Where are we going to go? Who are we going to see?” He wanted to go go go. To me the extroverted way feels like chaos. I want to slow, slow, slow.
Advent is a time of year when we slow down to see who Christ really is to us. It is a time to bring our thoughts about Him into reality and ask if what we have been believing is true. Sometimes the road dust of living changes our perspective because we haven’t cleaned off the windshield of our hearts in a while. While pondering this theme of peace I noticed my thoughts lingering on how I try to keep peace in my life. Maybe your list is like mine. Let’s see…
- Carrying noise cancelling ear protection
- Putting on a particular playlist and wearing earbuds
- Struggling through “people-ing” just waiting for when you drive home in the quiet
- Being excited for Monday mornings, for most of the year, because everyone else goes to school and work. Its finally quiet.
- Finding a project to work on with focus so that I don’t have to sense my own pain or lack.
- Keeping my mouth shut because I don’t want to ruffle feathers with my boldness.
Any of this feel familiar to you? Just from writing it, I can see that I just want quiet inside and out.
Peace + quiet = contentment for me! Last week I touched on waiting quietly with the question, “do you wait quietly for the Lord or loudly?” I confessed that I often wait loudly through facial expression and attitude. Here, I can see, how I try to make quiet happen for me. Even if my internal world is loud. Which leads me to what Pastor Chad spoke on Sunday, he said, “Peace is when God is content with you.” I wrote down a question from what he was saying: “How does God being content with me change how I view peace?”
It is time for a perspective adjustment. Peace is something given to me, not something I keep for myself. Jesus gave us peace through His sacrifice. John Calvin describes reconciliation as the peace between humanity and God. He reconciled us to God, meaning He made peace between me and God. Just sit with that for a moment. In Christ I have peace with God.
2 Cor. 5: 17-19 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
See when we understand what we have been given, how we were those far away and now have been brought near, we receive that peace that Christ gives freely. We become peacemakers. Those who are given the ministry of reconciliation. Those who are helpers in the world to point people to Jesus. But somewhere along the line – we endure the world’s onslaught – it batters and bruises us. In the recoil of pain, we stop peacemaking and start peace keeping. It’s a slight switch from “give” to “work.” Keeping the peace often involves silencing our voice and emotions, trying to quiet the noise around us, and maybe even crowding out the hurt and pain we’ve endured with selected noise in our headphones.
Have we become obsessed with keeping our own peace? Have we become those who have forgotten that “God is content with us”? We are the reconciled and when we forget, instead of drawing others near and pointing to Christ, we cut off the world and people’s access to us. We fall into isolating cycles. We start thinking that peace is what I create. I think I have to “temperature control” my own environment. We forget that peace is not the absence of chaos, it is the place we stand in the middle of disturbance and storm. It is a sacred space called: IN CHRIST.
1 Peter 5:14b Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
Stay with Him, in Him, draw near to Him. He is our peace.
All is grace,