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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Where is all this mess coming from?

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:5-8 NLT)

St. Frances de Sales reminds us to never be in a hurry - I think it is because he knew hurry is often the cause of many a misstep in life. He said, "Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset."  There are times when all around us seems to be in a fray, poking at us, goading us to get involved in that discontent or rush-rush kind of activity. When our peace is disturbed within, we tend to give into the rush-rush and find ourselves giving into things we thought we could resist. Quiet is most easily disturbed when our inner peace is diminished because of a lack of refreshing of that peace. While God gives us inner peace through is Son, Jesus, he also reminds us that time regularly spent with him brings a renewal of that inner peace. It isn't that we don't have capacity for the peace - it is because we "leak"!

I watched my cup of coffee the other morning - I had purchased it in a Styrofoam cup. I made my way back to the office, sat the cup down to add some creamer to it, and noticed it left a ring of coffee where I had sat it. At first, I thought nothing of it thinking I probably dribbled a little while carrying it back to the office. As I sat at my desk, it became apparent the integrity of the cup was not all that great! In fact, in about five minutes there were beads of coffee all around my cup toward the bottom third of it. My cup was gradually draining of the hot liquid within, making a small mess wherever I placed it. There are times in life when we are kind of like that cup - we look okay on the outside, but we allow what is good within to leak out, diminishing what we have in reserve within. We have "unrecognized" inner peace leaks until we realize how much mess our lives are creating because of that leakage!

At first, I wasn't alarmed by a little mess - but in time, it became very evident the mess was getting larger and larger. As it did, I was forced into action. I had to secure another cup, transfer the hot liquid, and then clean up all the mess left by the one that leaked. My cup's diminished capacity or inability to hold onto what was placed within it required immediate intervention. This was easily seen by not only the puddle being created, but the solid ring of beads of liquid forming on the outside of the cup. While God's peace is meant to affect our world around us, it isn't doing us any good if it is slowly leaking out. Whenever our inner peace is affected deeply enough that we take action, this is an "okay" thing, but it is much better to ensure we have the capacity to hold onto that inner peace and are attentive to the things that rob us of that peace.

Peace isn't stolen as much as it is surrendered. It is slowly allowed to diminish because we don't maintain the integrity of our hearts where that peace has the greatest impact. We allow leakage and don't take time to get refilled. We aren't paying attention to the "micro-pores" where "leakage" occurs. It might be in the subtle ways we brush off the warning to not take on more than we can handle, thinking "it is just one small task". At some point, that one small task becomes a giant problem because it took over where peace once resided - exerting pressure until our peace escaped. It might also be in the ways we ignore the tender urging to spend time just being quiet for a while - allowing God to renew our energies and refill our peace. That renewal is about "filling in" the "micro-pores" of our lives where leakage can occur. Without it, those "micro-pores" become weaker and weaker, allowing more and more of God's inner peace to escape - leaving us with diminished capacity for the stress that might come.

Yes, we want to allow our peace to affect the world around us, but when our peace isn't there because it has all leaked out unnoticed, we don't have it to give! Just sayin!