Friday, January 19, 2007

Representing Jesus' Peace

Peace. Hmm, just when there is a lack of conflict? What about peace 'in a conflict'? Jesus talked about 'leaving peace within us'. So, how does that apply to me when I want and desire to be a 'bringer of peace'? One lesson I believe the Lord has been presenting to me has been that 'bringing peace' (or should I say 'offering peace') is not so dependent on outward activity or actions as a 'state of mind'.

Let's see. Jesus is the "Prince of Peace". When He is in control of me by a choice of my will. then my delight will become to share that peace - His peace - with others.

Oh, that sounds s- o- pious. Or should I dare use a little stronger term - might there be some legality flavor if I'm not careful? Much as I don't like the idea, it can be -- IF!!

So what might be some of the 'if's that could distort my understanding of 'peace' and how to 'bring it' or share it - God's kind anyway?

Is this one possibility? If I am only mentally assenting to 'Jesus in control' then is it getting into the realm of 'legal'.

Could a misunderstanding of what God 'peace' means or is all about cause problems? "If so and so would do (or say) such and such then there would be more peace around here." (Wishful thinking to say the least. I've been trying it lately, but it hasn't worked much yet, if any.)

Is true peace something that another human being can 'give' to me or 'take away' from me at their will?

This can get real confusing IF all the definitions of 'peace' are stirred into a common 'dictionary'.

So, for this time I am going to share a definition of peace that came from a study I did when preparing for a Vacation Bible School (VBS) called "Camp JOY".

Let me put a little note of explanation here. I recently learned that science has 'discovered' THE way a brain develops the capacity to cope with stress of all kinds is through experiencing with another mind two key, interlocking emotional experiences. I don't know if one of them 'has to be' first but when speaking of this duo I call it the 'JOY-PEACE' cycle.

I suppose the Lord figured out I would learn more about it if I shared it with someone else so He pushed me into doing a VBS called "Camp JOY" where the goal was to learn about the above 'JOY-PEACE' cycle and experience it.

When I teach I feel the need to have at least a beginning understanding of words that I am sharing with others. Also keep in mind that these words can only become experiential (happen) when two minds are in harmony with each other. (How to experience harmony with another mind is another whole Vacation Bible School program in itself. Maybe more on that later.)
Well, here goes.

JOY - Accepting and experiencing that someone else loves for you to be with them. Accepting and experiencing that you are the 'apple of their eye' and you are truly special to them.

PEACE - Because another mind loves for you to be with them, and you KNOW that you are so special to them, you experience 'quietness', you are comfortable in their presence, you feel you can 'fall into their arms', so to speak, and like a trusting child you feel you could 'go to sleep' in their 'arms'.

You know something? that kind of peace CAN'T be legal. That kind of peace is experiential.
And the more I am learning about that kind of peace the more I want to share it.

So how can I share this kind of peace?

I was just talking with my brother a little on this and some related topics. The development of the JOY/PEACE cycle begins with baby maturity where he/she learns how to receive JOY/PEACE from others.
The next stage of maturity - a child - leads the developing mind into learning how to begin to 'share' JOY and PEACE with another mind, beginning with one other mind at a time. Adult maturity leads to learning how to and experiencing JOY/PEACE in a 'group' for the good of all in the 'family' (group). Then comes 'parenthood'. Mature parents learn how to 'give' JOY and PEACE and give JOY and PEACE and give JOY and PEACE and give . . . on and on and on.

Somehow I get the feeling that the Lord is trying to 'grow me up'. I believe He has been guiding me into offering to 'give' JOY and PEACE even when others don't know they 'want' it. Babies don't always know they need JOY and PEACE but they do.

How have I been 'doing'? Not so sure on that part. Many times in my life I have made the comment that I think I have brought 'pieces' instead of 'peace'.
On the other hand, as I have been learning about Jesus' kind of "Peace" I have begun to realize more and more that His Peace is not like the peace the world has to offer. His peace is always being offered to me and I can receive it by accepting it from Him. So, in my life, I can offer peace to others, the decision to receive it remains with them.

If you are reading this, just know that you are special. May the Peace that passes all understanding be a special gift through me to you from Jesus.

Maiden, bringer of Peace

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Happy New Year and more

It hardly seems possible that another year has not only begun but one week of that new year is already history as well.
Happy New Year! What do I mean by that phrase? Am I even supposing that every thing in the new year will be 'happy' - contentment based on 'happenings'? Not hardly. This first week was enough to explode any possibility of that happening - this year anyway.
Just to give a short summary, here are a few events that occured just recently.
Perhaps there is one event that was a major mover and 'shaker'. A lady friend who lives here at our farm - and has a number of animals here as well - fell and broke her leg. O.K. a broken leg, what is the big deal. Well, for one she is almost 'deathly afraid' of doctors. She did finally go to the emergency room at the hospital but other than that she had decided that she could take care of her broken leg herself. She has that freedom. But, her freedom and choice made a rather large impact on some of the rest of us.
She has not been 'mobile' now for about 3 weeks plus but her animals are still here. There are others here at the farm but some of them went on vacation so basically husband and I were 'it' for 'farm duties'. That is not too terrible or awful in and of itself. It has kept me busier than I had been before. But I think there was a lot more to this experience for me personally.
Ah, yes, I am 'supposed' to be a 'peacemaker'. What does that mean? Do everything everyone 'expects'? eh? Be a doormat? Be the servant?
Well, to be honest I think I have had at least some of those 'beliefs' in the past.
This time, though, I have begun to see things - I hope - a little differently.
My friend had the freedom to choose to opt out of getting surgery or a cast for her leg.
What are freedoms that are available for me in this situation?
Could true 'peace' have more to do with my attitude rather what is going on around me?
According to the Bible the Peace God gives is in the 'heart' - inside of me.

So how do I apply that to my current situation? One thing I have hopefully learned. My peace does not have to be lost even though 'outward' activities can become even hectic.

Another point I have been pondering and trying to apply is that even as my friend had freedom to choose how she would handle, for the most part, her life when she broke her leg, I also can maintain freedom to make choices.

At first she was handing out instructions on how to do 'this' and 'that'. At times what she said was seemingly contradicting herself. After about one day I decided I needed to set boundaries. Those of us who were trying to help her decided what each could do and then 'did them'. She seemed upset at first but since we just 'did' what we needed to do she began to at least seem to calm.

My birthday is the first day of the year. I guess I was hoping to work with husband on that day on some farm projects. Nice wish. Instead I ended up basically 'loosing' my peace. My friend took this 'day' - or so it seemed to me - to chew me out about her perceptions of how we were handling her livestock.

My response? Well, I decided to exercise my 'freedom' and let her know that the specific livestock care job I was doing would be terminated as far as my doing it was concerned on the coming Friday. Well, Friday came and went. I gave her the keys and then spent quite a few 'night dreams' trying to figure out how those animals wouldn't go uncared for (which I consider as a form of abuse). So far they are still being fed.

I am still helping her with personal needs as little as she will let me do. I am still attempting to carry on some form of fulfillment as far as my personal needs and my family needs are concerned. (That was what seemed to temporarily suffered the most). And I also believe I am learning a little more about 'real peace'. I'm not so sure that I always know how to 'keep peace'.

Do I still consider my decision appropriate. Well, I still have a few mixed emotions about it, but on the other hand I do have a peace. I have come to a conclusion that my friend needed to accept at least some of the responsibility for her choices of staying in bed for weeks instead of having a cast or surgery and get up sooner. It seemed to me that she was just 'laying back' and telling others what to do - often without correct information. I could accept that when it came to her personal care but it really bothered me when it came to 'animal care'. Husband and I are still doing some of the animal care but for one of the main 'jobs', she is looking, at least for now, for 'outside' help.

So how does all of the above affect 'peace'? Could it be that 'peace' has more to do with my attitude than with 'outside' activities? I am becoming more convinced that is the case.

On the other hand, here's hoping that your new year does have true peace.

'Maiden, bringer of peace'