The Practice of Peace

I had one of those “I quit!” kind of days yesterday. I think it has been building for a couple of weeks. I have been fighting an underlying malaise for the last week or so, but yesterday the whole thing erupted into a major bad attitude. I just did not want to be where I was or do what was required of me. It was the kind of day that would have been better spent alone. There is less need for apologies that way. ~sigh~

But a homeschooling mom is never alone. There is no bus to whisk the kids off to school. There is no time when the house falls completely silent. There is no one else to explain the math lesson for the bazillionth time, or get the preschooler off the TV cabinet before breaks his neck. We are in it together, through thick and thin. The kids get the good, the bad, and the ugly of Mom. And yesterday it was ugly, I am ashamed to admit.

The last few weeks have been particularly busy and rampant with opportunities to fall behind. I generally don’t do well when I feel behind. The key word there is “feel” because I know the problem is largely within me. This pressure I feel and put on myself to get it all done. Where does it come from? I mean, who cares if homeschooling has to run an extra week? I know this time of year everyone is anxious to be done with school. I totally get why teachers and students both need a summer break. We wouldn’t make it without one. It gives us hope, rest, and renewal. But, really, why this anxious, relentless, driving pressure?

We’ve been talking about peace at church as part of a sermon series on spiritual warfare.  Our pastor quoted a verse at the end of the sermon that I have heard now three times in recent weeks. I decided that maybe God is trying to tell me something through it. Maybe now it’s time to listen and try to understand the lesson (said “Captain Obvious”).  The passage is Colossians 3:15, which says “Let the peace of Christ rule your heart”. Our minister said the word “rule” implies ruling like an umpire or referee. In other words, God gets to “make the call” in whatever is going on in your life. I talked to a friend about it Sunday afternoon. She pointed out that, while the sermon emphasized the word “rule”, we should not ignore the tiny word preceding it. Let. We have to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.

How true, but how? I decided I have no idea in practical terms, as evidenced by my meltdown the next day. It is clear that yesterday I was fighting against peace, resisting His rule over my heart.

This thought of “letting” peace rule connected with something else I have been reading about in a book called “A Balanced Christian Life” (Watchman Nee). Nee teaches on the passage, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28, 29). He separates out verse 28 from 29, showing them as two sides of the “balance” of rest. He calls verse 28 “Rest given” and verse 29 “Rest found”. Jesus has already given us rest in His complete salvation, given at the Cross. “Come to me…I will give you rest”. But it’s that “taking up the yoke” part Nee says most of us rail against. Verse 29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me”. This is where the rest is found. Our minister said something very close to this in his sermon. He quoted Jesus, “My peace I give you” and asked, “Have you received the peace”?

Taking up the yoke of Christ is receiving the peace. Putting on the yoke – the constraints and realities of our life circumstances – is letting the peace of Christ rule in our hearts. To live within the limitations of the life field we have been placed in by God. To take on whatever He allows in our days, right where He has us. To do the work required of us with a heart resting on His authority and provision, and to know that Christ is pulling the weight with us. We find rest in sharing the load with Him in balanced distribution. Let Christ make the call on every disturbance and foul thing that presents itself on the ugly days. Mostly, that means dragging our resistance and temperamental moments before Him on the days we feel like quitting. To lay down our urge to break free, to strain against Him, and to follow after the pressure and anxious strivings created by our own inner turmoil.

 “Salvation rest is when we enter peace, submission rest is when the peace enters us”
-Warren Weirsbe

I am praying today for the peace to enter me as I plow my field through the final rows of the school year. The day promises to bring many challenges (opportunities) to receive peace. Again and again, Lord help me. Deep breaths, Robyn. I pray for the grace to persevere in this final stretch, and I offer thanksgiving for the summer breaking on the horizon. 20 days of school to go! (But who’s counting?)

May the peace be in you today, right where God has you.