Pen in hand my words glide across the pages of my journal. I’m always writing but my words don’t always make it to my blog.
I’ve been enjoying the summer, meditating on what’s good and lovely and making space for quiet reflection. It has been worth every moment of pulling away from my computer and my devices that bring me to places of constant information. Most of which isn’t worthy of my attention. Even the news around the world has the potential to enslave and keep me in a trap of darkness where it can seem there isn’t any hope.
A friend of mine said that while chatting with another friend this week they spiraled down the dark side of world news. She told me she finally exclaimed, “No! We can’t do that. We will take action where we can but we need to remain hopeful. We will amplify our happy and remain strong so we can persevere.”
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve found myself spiraling down that same rabbit hole. Thankfully I pulled myself out, as I realized my mind wasn’t in a good place, and planted my feet back on solid ground again.
The daily news and the chaos of social media often fuels our propensity to lash out at anyone who holds a different view or opinion. We no longer live in community with others, trying to understand with the possibility of even learning from one another. The discord has pushed us into a ‘me and them’ mentality and we divide ourselves into tribes. There’s more arguing and less communicating. Wanting to win debates takes precedence over kindness and that can make us look with contempt on anyone who disagrees with us. All this makes me want to escape to a remote island far, far away.
But instead I take walks to the beach near my house. To get there I walk a wooded path and my mind clears, I feel lighter, free and in a better mood.
Years ago after moving to the shoreline of Michigan, I met a friend who told me that going to the beach is full of negative ions and will lift my mood anytime I needed it. Since then I’ve done my own research on negative ions … in nature only … not in the air purifiers that claim to do what nature does. I learned that nature (especially near water or after a thunderstorm) is full of the benefits of negative ions. But that’s a whole different topic. You can do your own research but I’m sure you know the calming effects of nature. It’s worth the walk.
Another activity that’s been saving me from all the noise lately is an online community of women from all over the U.S. and beyond. We are studying the book titled, “Waymaker” by Ann Voskamp.
Using the acronym S.A.C.R.E.D., takes us on a deep dive into what gives us stability and direction…a compass, so to speak, that reorients us in our relationship with God.
S Stillness to Know God
A Attentiveness to Hear God
C Cruciformity to Surrender to God
R Revelation to See God
E Examine to Return to God
D Doxology to Thank God
Stillness. It has been my quest this summer and I have found peace in my sacred place, whether a quiet corner in my home or out in nature, especially my hikes to the beach.
The peace I’m experiencing isn’t the absence of conflict or hardship but the presence of something much greater. It’s Shalom. This Hebrew word, from the Bible, has been translated into the word peace but it’s so much more than that. Shalom is the presence of goodness, thriving, right relationships with God, ourselves, and others. Shalom is living in harmony with all of God’s creation … it’s what God intended. It’s perfect peace.
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3
Many years ago, He restored Shalom to me in Jesus. A bringing back to Himself but I must continue to work that out, because I am fickle. I carry with me the human condition and this summer there is more working it out and I will do that for the rest of my life. The working out is never finished this side of Heaven.
This is where I am, what I’ve been up to. Although Shalom can be experienced anywhere, I’m enveloped in it when I let go of any worldly attempts to find it. Stillness has been my soft spot to land, away from the maddening crowd and into the hands of Shalom, because peace isn’t a place but a person.