Y’all ever get up and the morning and go about your business just to be smacked in the face with a big, fat truth?! Yeah.
And the funny thing about that truth is that it was there all along. It isn’t new. It isn’t a surprise. The time for all things to come together, mix together, and rally together just happens…and in a single moment you find yourself smacked.
I’ll give you an easy example. You pay bills, mostly on time and with a little left over at the end of the week. You’ve got a reasonable handle on your finances, then *smack* you realize you don’t have that much money in the bank, and paying bills this month might be dicey. How?! You know you’ve filled up with nearly $4 gas several times more than usual. You saw that yard-long grocery receipt and thought about how much more it’s costing you to stock your pantry. You fudged a few times and ate out, figuring in the back of your mind that it’ll get covered. Then you sit down to write your rent check only to get smacked by the hard truth that your funds are way low. You’re in a predicament, a situation, a pickle. Now what? You’ve got to act. Fast.
I hate those smacks. They are rude awakenings…and who likes to be rudely awakened? They force us into uncomfortable action…and who likes to be uncomfortable? They push us to tighten up our belts and get busy…and who likes tight belts and extra work?
Here’s the deal…smacks are going to come. I used to think that if I arranged everything perfectly and efficiently, all organized and well-intentioned, smacks wouldn’t happen, and I could live in peace. PEACE! Life would run smoothly, and I could exist happily and with few annoyances.
The bottom line is that SINCE smacks are going to come, we better not make our peace dependent on our circumstances. We better figure out how to establish and maintain peace in our hearts FIRST, then arrange our lives, then take the smacks in stride because inside, we are already peaceful. Did you get that?
I really was busy about keeping my house, crafting my life, and attempting to regulate every, little thing such that I would enjoy a well-put-together, very deliberately created, carefully curated sense of calm. I knew that if I did what was right, worked with intention, planned accordingly, and prepared for anything, I would feel better, more at ease, and…I hate to keep saying it…peaceful. And you know what all that made me do? Chase peace.
I worked harder. I learned about planning better. I fussed over making everything perfect. I killed myself to please people and keep them happy. I built, scrubbed, wrote, created, ran. I kept going…peace is ahead. I kept pushing…peace is coming. I kept working…peace will be the result.
I figured out that I ain’t that good. If my peace depends on circumstances, surroundings, and everything always falling nicely into place, my little heart will forever be tormented, I will forever work, and I will forever kill myself trying to find peace and preserve it.
I had the order all wrong. Peace has to happen first.
I’ve learned that I best be about nurturing my heart and soul, my mind and my body, to bring about peace. I’ve learned that, for me, peace is found in Jesus, from a hyperfocus on my husband and kids, from doing more of what I want to do, and from being who I am.
The smacks still come unexpectedly, and I am still inclined to pitch a hissy fit when I have to regroup, cinch up my belt, and get to work. But I don’t, because I already have peace. My calm is not dependent on life’s predicaments or the lack thereof. It is dependent on ME, God’s love for me, my precious husband, my daughter’s goofiness, my son’s smile, my writing, reading books, and traveling. And food…Lawd, I love eating real, good food.
So yeah, peace first. Life second. Smacks eventually. That’s the formula I’m currently using, and I feel so much better.