Acceptance = Peace

I mentioned in a previous post that I often find, as I read and study, all sorts of things that I randomly select seem to support the same theme. I see that as God’s providence and guidance. Acceptance is an idea that I’ve been noticing often lately. A book I read, “The Woman Who Cracked the Anxiety Code” is a biography of Dr. Claire Weekes (1903-1990). Dr. Weekes, an Australian psychiatrist developed a unique way of coping with what she called “nerves.” The cure was simply acceptance: notice how you’re feeling, and don’t fight it. Eventually the anxious, panicky feelings will subside. She wrote a number of popular books about her approach, which helped many people.

The book I’m currently reading about grief (The Grieving Brain) also advocates acceptance in dealing with loss.

“The key to accepting is not doing anything with what you are experiencing; not asking what your feelings mean, or how long they will last…. It is about noticing how it feels at that moment, letting your tears come and letting them go. Knowing that the moment of grief will overwhelm you….and knowing that it will recede.”

The Psalms are a great place to see this process in action. In many of the Psalms, the writer describes feelings of anguish — anger, grief, fear. There is no holding back. However, often by the end, the wave of emotion passes, and what is left is acceptance and hope. As Christians we are so fortunate to know that God is in control. Like Job, we realize that we cannot understand His purposes, for God Himself tells us:

“… my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

What we do know is that we can trust Him. Expressing our emotions and then accepting our situation will calm our anxieties, allay our anger, and blunt our grief. It will give us peace.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. “Proverbs 3:5-6

For more about peace see:

Peace Is a Practice by Morgan Harper Nichols–Book Review

I Wish You Peace

Pursue Peace

Peace Is a Practice by Morgan Harper Nichols–Book Review

As an adult, author Morgan Nichols was finally diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Now she could understand why, over the years, she had been troubled by so many sensitivities that made it hard for her to feel relaxed and peaceful. In this book, she explores some of the ways she has learned to be peaceful over the years. For her, as for most of us, peace is a practice, not just a fleeting feeling.

Each section of her book has a topic– things like journaling, conversation, trusting, silence, rest. In addition to a short personal essay, there are suggestions for implementing the particular practice into daily life. Morgan is a poet, and snippets of her poetry are included as well.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. I used this as a devotional, reading a chapter or two every day and then trying out some of the ideas. The Bible tells us to “pursue peace” and this book would make an excellent starting place for doing just that.

For more book reviews see:

What I Wished I’d Known About Raising a Child with Autism by Bobbi Sheahan and Kathy DeOrnellas, PH.D–Book Review

Making Darkness Light by Joe Moshenska–Book Review

Be Thou My Vision by Jonathan Gibson–Book Review

I Wish You Peace

It hasn’t been a peaceful year. We’ve been anxious and worried about many things –our health, politics, the state of the world. It’s been said that only God can make a bad man good, and that’s true. I’d liked to add to that statement here at the end of 2021 and say, only God can give a worried man (or woman) peace. I wish all of our readers peace in the New Year.

“‘These things we write unto you, that your joy may be full.’ What is fullness of joy but peace? Peace is the privilege of those who are ‘filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.’ ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.’ It is peace, springing from trust and innocence, and then overflowing in love towards all around him. He who is anxious thinks of himself, is suspicious of danger, speaks hurriedly, and has no time for the interests of others. He who lives in peace is at leisure, wherever his lot is cast.” John Henry Newman

For more about peace see:

Quiet and Peaceable Lives:

Keeping the Peace

Pursue Peace

The Challenge of Small Things

My devotional reading this morning reminded me that we can grow through the challenge of the smallest circumstances in our lives.

It is small things that, just because of their smallness, distress and overset us. I mean the weight of daily care, which in their small details of personal expenditure, and in the careful routine of a household, and in the rearing of children, and in the society of friends, and in the outside duty, and in private affairs, singly and separately is sufficiently burdensome; but altogether, and on one set of shoulders, is sometimes felt to be more than the strength can bear. Those anxious lives, tempted to be fretful, and hasty, and self-important, and fussed with their incessant activities, may, if rightly interpreted, and manfully grasped, settle down into round and sunny centres of regular, and peaceful and fruitful activities. Where there is prayer, there is peace; and God, who makes every duty possible, knows, helps, and cares. Anthony W. Thorold

Anthony Thorold (1825-1895) was an Anglican Bishop of Winchester. For more of his quotes see:

More on Fruit of the Spirit

When Things are Unclear– Trust God

Two Quotes on the Sacrificial Life

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

Can You Do This?

“Use thy utmost endeavor to attain such a disposition of spirit that thou mayest become one with Me, and thy will may become so entirely conformed to My all-perfect will, that not only shalt thou never desire that which is evil, but not even that which is good, if it not be according to My will;  so that whatsoever shall befall thee in this earthly life, from whatsoever quarter it may come, whether in things temporal or things spiritual, nothing shall ever disturb thy peace, or trouble thy quietness of spirit;  but thou shalt be established in a firm belief that I, thine omnipotent God, love thee with a dearer love and take of thee more watchful care than thou canst for thyself.”

St. Catharine of Siena

For more about doing God’s Wll see:

Fanning the Flame #6–Seeking God’s Will

Your Dream. God’s Plan. by Tiffany Smiling — Book Review

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

Make the World Better — Practice Charity

Our theme this month is twofold:  clarity and charity.  This quote is from Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural speech, given near the end of the Civil War.  Sometimes it feels like we’re at war with each other these days — there is so little understanding between political parties, ethnic groups, even Christian denominations.  Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all practiced “charity” (which is defined as kind and tolerant behavior) toward others around us, even those with whom we disagree?  If you examine this quote closely, you’ll see it also has to do with clarity — the ability to see what God would have us do.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

God’s Victory Over Our Sin

“The way may at times seem dark, but light will arise, if thou trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.  That light may sometimes show hard things to be required, but do not be distressed if thy heart should rebel;  bring thy unwillingness and disobedience to Him, in the faith that He will give thee power to overcome, for He cannot fail.  ‘Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world,’ so keep close to Him, and the victory will be won.  But do not, I beseech thee, neglect anything that is required, for disobedience leads to darkness;  and do not reason or delay, but simply follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit, and He will guide thee into all peace.”

Elizabeth T. King

Sunday’s Coming

Good Friday is over.  The disciples are hiding, fearful.  Will they be arrested next?  And even if they aren’t what’s left for them?  Some of them have been following Jesus for years, and now he’s dead.  Their hopes are dashed.  No doubt they’re depressed, frustrated, maybe even angry.

In hindsight, we know that Sunday’s coming.  Sunday when Jesus will rise again.  Sunday when Jesus will conquer death itself.  Sunday when their experiences will begin to transform them into brave men who are willing to die for their Lord and His church.

Right now, all of us are in a sort of “Good Friday” place. We feel imprisoned in our homes.  We don’t know what’s coming next.  We’re afraid of getting sick, or making others sick.  We’re worried about our finances.  Like the disciples, we may be feeling all kinds of negative emotions.

Take heart, friends, because Sunday’s coming.  God’s promise is:

“… we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

We don’t know what that good is, but as Christians we do know we can trust Him. As Job said,

“Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” Job 13:15

St. Paul’s trust in God was so complete that he could say:

“I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances. I know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound. I am accustomed to any and every situation—to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:11-13

At some point this situation will end.  We’ll get through it one way or another, but only with God will we find true peace, acceptance and hope.  Keep trusting in Him.  Sunday’s coming.

 

 

 

 

Come Holy Spirit!

I came across the words to the hymn below in my devotional reading this morning. It was written by Samuel Longfellow (1819-1892), the younger brother of the more famous poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  He was educated at the Harvard Divinity School and served as a Unitarian pastor for many years.  It pleads for the rest and calm that can only be given by the Holy Spirit.

Do Not Worry?

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” Matthew 6: 25-34

These verses have been coming up recently in my study.  First, we had a Sunday School lesson on them;  then they showed up again in a book I am reading about “respectable sins” (more about that in an upcoming post).  Yes, I am learning, worrying is a sin.  We may excuse it by saying, “that’s just how I am — I was born a worrywart!”  That certainly seems true of me.  We may even find it a bit admirable — worriers are often the best planners, and certainly God doesn’t want us to go through life oblivious to our needs and responsibilities.  At the core, however, worry betrays a lack of trust in God.  Jesus tells us in the verses above that we can rest assured that God cares for us, and our lives will work out, when we put His kingdom first.  Trust puts one foot forward at a time, day by day and resists feeling anxious about the future.

I also recently read about anxiety in a book about insomnia (didn’t I tell you God directs my reading?)  One suggestion given was, if you tend to worry and can’t sleep, set aside a “worry time” each day — maybe just 30 minutes.  Ask yourself what things are really bothering you, and then decide what you’ll do about it.  When the worry comes back, tell yourself, “I’ve already thought about that problem, and  I have a plan for dealing with it….. then put it out of your mind.  As a Christian, our “worry time” might be part of our hour of prayer.  Let God know what’s on your mind, and ask Him to help you resolve it.  Then ask for His peace about the situation, knowing He will give it to you.

Maybe, like me, you’re a natural worrier (because we all are, after all, natural sinners).  You can’t entirely avoid those worrisome thoughts;  but you can stop yourself from obsessing.  Turn them over to God.  Pray instead.

He loves you and so do !

Other posts about worry:

Who’s Got Your Back?

Growing Older

Afraid of all the Things by Scarlet Hiltibidal–Book Review