As usual, the inverted date numbers (12/21) means it's my birthday. I got up late, so I am just now (4:27pm) having my quiet time. Quiet . . . I sit now in the living room by the decorated tree, looking out the window at the snow. I have apple cake and coffee. Quiet piano Christmas music is playing. I breath a sigh of relief. The kids out sleeping or outside in the snow . . . finally. I see again why moments of personal quiet are so important. Especially quiet moments with God. How my soul longs for quietness . . . peace . . . rest.
As I grow older (36 now), I see how much time I spend without awareness. I am carried along by the madness . . . OK, maybe just busyness . . . of my circumstances. Amazingly and providentially, I open up my Bible to Ecclesiastes 4:6,
“Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.”
I believe that it is possible for us to live with internal peace, even when our circumstances are crazy or oppressive. I am learning that most of my circumstances that I would consider crazy or oppressive (only because I rarely experience anything truly oppressive) are results of my own decisions, or more often, my lack of decision. We so often feel like victims when things don’t go like we want. But most often, we are not victims of unalterable circumstances, just of our own failures. What is known as the Serenity Prayer is helpful here:
“God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things that I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
- Reinhold Niebuhr
The first point here is to realize that when things are not right (in this case, a lack of peacefulness of life), then there are probably many things I can do to rectify it. I must choose a peaceful life. Prioritize, be disciplined, love, simplify.
But then there are things we cannot change. How can we still have inward peace? Because God is love. He is absolutely good and totally powerful. I can trust him. I can run to him and find protection. I can come to him and find rest for my soul.