Peace and Joy. Two abstract ideas that fill the longings for most of us, yet remain just out of reach. Maybe, because we’re not exactly sure how to define them.
Webster’s Dictionary defines them as:
1: a state of tranquility or quiet: such asa: freedom from civil disturbance Peace and order were finally restored in the town.b: a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom a breach of the peace
2: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions I have been in perfect peace and contentment — J. H. Newman
3: harmony in personal relations The sisters are at peace with each other.
4a: a state or period of mutual concord between governments There was a peace of 50 years before war broke out again.b: a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity offered the possibility of a negotiated peace — New York Times
5 —used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell
- in a state of concord or tranquility The problem was settled and his mind was at peace.
My definition – and note that I intertwine them, I can’t have one without the other:
Not freaking out over things I cannot control in this life.
Well, honestly, I do believe they mean something a bit deeper than that, but for a practical definition – we’ll go with this.
Peace and Joy, to me, are something separate than if I’m happy or not. I’ve detailed on this blog my battle with depression. That is not the same thing as losing my joy or peace. My depression is not circumstantial, it is not tied to what’s going on in my life at that time. Peace and Joy – heavily tied to what’s going on, the good and the bad.
I have a confession to make – I don’t always find my peace and joy in the midst of the bad. When things crumble around me, I often focus on the crumbling and I lose my peace. I lose my joy.
But, I’m soon reminded where that peace and joy came from, and that they are outside of my circumstances.
Wait – didn’t I just say that peace and joy were tied heavily to what’s going on?
Yes, yes I did.
Have I lost you, yet?
Don’t worry. I think this is where most of us get lost. We know that our peace and joy should transcend our circumstances – but we live the day-to-day with them intrinsically tied to how we feel.
In the book, she details her pursuit of peace and joy – the many avenues that we all take – and how these ideals eluded her until she finally discovered one simple word: Surrender.
It is a simple word, isn’t it? Surrender. Simple to say, not so simple to live.
We want control. We want to have a say, a hand, a push on everything (and sometimes everyone) in our lives. When things don’t move or act or flow the way we want – we lose our peace and our joy.
The thing is, we were never meant to have control. This isn’t to say that we just throw up our hands and passively let life happen to us. We do what we can. We make our plans. We guard our families. We work our best in any and every endeavor.
But, we release control.
We work hard at our job, but we know that we cannot control the economy. We cannot control the whims or customers or if our boss has to make the decision to lay us off.
We cannot control every illness or injury our children endure.
We cannot stop every heartbreak.
We are powerless against every tragedy.
And those are tough pills to swallow.
So, for me, I surrender. Not to some nameless, faceless whim of fate and nature. But, to God. To the one I know actually does love me and cares for me.
That doesn’t shield me from tragedy. It doesn’t shield me from life. And life is not easy.
What the surrender does, is that it frees me from the stress of trying to fix it all. Trying to make it all better.
God doesn’t call me to sit on the sidelines and watch as evil consumes this world and tragedy strikes. He wants me to do something.
But, he frees me from having to do everything.
And when I fail, he frees me to stand back up and try again. And again. And not let guilt and fear of failure bind me from trying.
So, how do I find my peace and joy in the day-to-day?
With a day-to-day purposeful reminder to surrender.
How do you find your peace and joy in the day-to-day? What do those two words even mean to you?
Let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
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