This morning in my devotions I found a phrase that just jumped off the page to me.
In a small book called Jesus-Centered Daily by Rick Lawrence, I was reading about a Saturday he experienced that sounds very familiar to me.
He started off his day with quiet time and prayer, a workout and a nice lunch. But shortly after that things begin to unravel and he lists a variety of unwelcome interruptions that build and pile up until the day is basically a train wreck.
Before all of the chaos begins, he says “Control masquerades as peace.”*
I can so relate.
When I just have myself and my schedule going, I can feel like I have peace.
But true “peace” isn’t me running my own show with no one messing it up.
That is a false sense of control.
If my “peace of mind” rests solely on no curve balls, no pop up thunderstorms, no waves from passing boats rocking my one-woman kayak…then I am in big trouble.
I feel a series coming on, my friends….so as we wrap up July…come on back tomorrow and let’s take a look at this revealing of where Control can get confused with Peace and what true PEACE might look like <3
*Jesus-Centered Daily, Rick Lawrence; Group Publishing, Inc. 2020
I have been doing a study this summer by Ruth Chou Simons called “Truthfilled.”
It is based on a practice she learned from her husband which she calls “preaching to my own heart.” Grounded in the example of Psalm 43 and the book of Colossians, Ruth walks this study through the fact that we are always giving ourselves inner chatter and often the words we are speaking to ourselves are based on old ruts and, basically, lies we have come to accept as truth.
About ourselves, about our circumstances, about God and about others.
By filling our minds with truth (hence the name….Truthfilled) and practicing preaching Truth to our own hearts, we are transformed in our thinking and as we know, we act on what we think.
She is an artistic student of the seasons and so she has separated the study into four seasons that use the natural order of the conditions of spring, summer, fall and winter to compare to our own spiritual seasons.
I was particularly interested in her take on fall. She calls it a season when all the abundance stops. The gardens are spent, the flowers are no longer blooming, the long days of sun and activity have left us tired and sun dried and full.
When I read her description, at first I was confused because I thought how Fall has always been a season I felt energized.
“In the same way that a garden explodes and then must recoup after being spent, fall is a season of the heart that reestablishes and reminds a believer where his or her provision for perseverance comes from.”
Truthfilled by Ruth Chou Simons, Lifeway Press, 2020. Page 121
As I walked this morning I enjoyed, as I do every time I walk the neighborhood that surrounds us, the bounty of color in pots and hanging baskets and flower patches that line the homes of our area. The hydrangea bushes are so full of blooms they take my breath away.
The giant hibiscus in front of many houses make me laugh as they really just exceed themselves in how huge the flowers are. The corn fields have reached full height and in some places we cannot see anything but the tall green stalks on either side of the walkway. We call it the corn tunnel.
Our own little pollinator garden has filled in and plants are crowding against each other with those crazy pumpkin vines continuing to send out new shoots and little vines looking for anything to wrap themselves around.
And I love it all.
A feast for the eyes of someone who can not ever get enough of the wide range of colors and shapes and handiwork of God. But I sense that we will soon be winding down. And although I will be sad when the sun starts setting before we even are thinking about what to have for dinner and I will miss sitting out on the patio and just watching little hummingbirds flit around, I know the shorter, cooler days will bring a refreshing.
The seasons are all part of the ebb and flow of our lives and each has a purpose for both the natural and spiritual in us and around us.
So enjoy the bounty even as the heat and humidity climb.
Embrace the cool at the end of the day when the sun is setting and the fireflies begin their dancing about the yard.
Stop at the farmer’s market….take someone up on that offer for tomatoes and zucchini…grill…read outside in the shade…admire the flowers.
Take in all the fullness of summer now so that when fall comes, you can embrace the ahhhhhhhh…..of harvest and then rest.
A couple of thoughts to share on this mid-July Monday.
First of all, I do not recommend beginning the book of Ecclesiastes on the heels of your 63rd birthday particularly when you are prone to melancholy and no stranger to the stark reality that time is precious and we are fragile.
Ask me how I know?
But start it I did this morning and I do appreciate the commentary portions added by Eugene Peterson in his study bible.
Because while Solomon’s words tend to fuel any tendency toward depression…ie, all of life is basically meaningless…Peterson continues to throw the Gospel in between these lines.
He reminds us faithfully that while yes, all that is temporal is basically going to end up leaving us with nada…when we remember God as our Creator and Maker and Sustainer and Savior…all that is of value in the temporal is transformed or refined into eternal and all that is of waste is burned away, washed away, forgiven and redeemed.
Second, on Saturday I was invited to spend the day with this one….
She wanted to take me to lunch and some places she knew I would like as my birthday gift.
We went to a garden of breathtaking beauty. The pictures throughout post are just a few I took.
I was undone by the unique blooms and pods and colors.
And like Peterson, I just kept worshipping God for He is so amazingly creative and artistic and I cannot even imagine how wonderful it will be one day to be fully and completely perfected to stand in His presence.
While these pictures are lovely, they are not the same as you going out into all that God has made and seeing His handiwork with your own eyes.
I pray for you to see with fresh vision all that He has made and it would bring you to a place of deepened love for Him.
He loves you so much <3
Have a blessed day, you beautiful part of creation, you…