Seeking Peace

Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

James 3:18

 

I thought it would be a nice change of pace to talk a little bit about the opposite of anxiety, and talk about seeking peace. Ever since Chris and I have been married (almost) every trip we have taken whether leisure or work-related, has been a challenge. It seems like something always goes wrong. Chris always had a hard time getting his mind to relax. He would anticipate the drive, the first night in a different bed, different bathroom. The night before the drive home he would mull over what needs to get done when we get home (sounds like the average grumpy husband I know except grumpy never gets happy).

Traveling with my husband is either a blast or a nightmare.

No one can be more fun to be with on a road trip than with my husband. Otherwise he’s mostly quiet, but I think he’s so anxious when he drives that he can’t help but tell jokes or blast the radio singing at the top of his lungs to a Simon and Garfunkel tune (he has an odd hippie taste in music when he drives). When we arrive at our destination is when the quiet version of Chris comes back to life. He never learned how to separate himself from everything waiting at home; he carries the weight with him wherever he goes.   

On the other hand, I was always good at separating things at home, especially  when we vacation (which is rare)! I’m the type of person who needs to separate from work and other stresses at home. I love to shut my brain off for a few days far from home, but it’s a challenge to get my husband to jump on the vacation train (plus there always seems to be a mishap with a medicine refill the day before we leave for a trip which would obviously cause a lot of stress and strain on us as we prepare and to go somewhere).

As we have mentioned before a dozen times in other posts, in case you missed it, Chris and I met at a place called Pilgrim Camp in upstate New York.

Both of us attended this camp every summer since we were in diapers yet still didn’t meet till our 20's. 

Every year we spend a weekend at camp before the summer season kicks off, where we help the camp get ready for its guests. About 20 people from our church go up during this weekend to help volunteer.

This camp holds a lot of memories for both of us, good and bad.

The past few years that Chris and I visited we went through a few battles. I always go to camp excited for the peace, serenity and to draw closer to God. Although, it seemed like every time we visited Chris and I would really struggle to get through it.

Despite all the things we have struggled with in the past here, Chris prayed hard and was determined to not let anything distract us while we were volunteering (and believe me, I was praying too!).

I must admit, lately if or when I see a sign of Chris’s anxiety being triggered, I start to panic. I start anticipating an episode and how we will get through. This has been a true struggle for me lately. Instead of remembering what God has already brought us through, and trusting that he will again… worry starts to creep in.

The last night we were there, Chris got an email from a casting director that wanted him to audition for a major role in an adaptation of “Swan Lake.” However, he was expected to go to New York City for the audition while we were still supposed to be at camp.

Just perfect.

He had been praying to be called in for an audition for months and now that he finally gets the call while we’re away at the one place, Satan attacks him the most.  

 

He was furious! Arguing out loud with God asking why?

 

“Why dangle the carrot in my face,” he asked.

Eventually he calmed down and said a simple prayer.

“Lord if you want me to have the opportunity to audition, I know you’ll make it happen. It’s your hands, have your way. 

With that, Chris emailed the casting director explaining he was away and  when he would be returning to be available for an audition. I was surprised at how he completely surrendered the email to God and chose to not to care no matter the outcome.   

I had so much anxiety building inside me for him, making it impossible to sleep that night. The thought that the rest of our time at camp was going to be ruined, and lots of tears began to flood my face and mind – yet there was a sense of peace where normally I would start to feel overwhelmed. 

Chris had prayed about it on his own, and as I said before he told God that no matter the outcome, he would not let himself become a burden to me or anyone around us.

When he checked his email the next morning, he received great news! The casting director had emailed back giving him a time to audition upon our return.  

Chris lit up like Christmas tree.

He told me he didn’t even care if  he was offered the role or if the audition went well at all. He felt God gave him a generous gift just to have the opportunity to audition. He wasn’t offered the role, but was given a lot of great feedback (sometimes in the acting world it’s not about being perfect for the role, you also have to fit with the rest of cast).

 

Pray with absolute surrender and faith and God will bring you peace.

 

It’s a challenge to express the change I saw in my husband through this experience. He did not allow Satan to rob us of our joy. God was teaching him that true joy is not having everything in your life go exactly as planned. It’s not about having everything exactly right.

True joy is finding happiness and peace regardless of your circumstances.

God blesses a faithful heart.

Make plans and take action, but allow God to be your source of inspiration; your divine guidance in all that you do and God will accomplish great things through you. Don’t be fooled by Satan trying to find peace sitting on a couch watching a television screen with an alcoholic beverage in your hand. Jesus may have turned water into wine, but that was not to encourage us to find solace with impairment.

Peace comes from God and is given to those who seek it and turn away from foolish things of the world.

“I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants-but let them not turn to folly. Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace.”

-Psalm 85:8, 37:37