I got a Facebook message from Jesus yesterday.
“Happy New Year! Way to go, peacemaker. You’re an amazing child of God.”
My eyebrows shot up. “Are you talking to me? Peacemaker?”
I chuckled. My name’s more accurately spelled “p-i-e-c-e m-a-k-e-r,” because when I cut loose with selfishness and anger, I leave a trail of shards in my wake. When I think about only my own needs, I can’t see past them to others, let alone bring anyone peace.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). Jesus’ peace is singular. In fact, the Holy Spirit is making deposits of serenity throughout our day. We just have to look for them.
What we focus on defines our experiences.
I backed my Honda out of the garage a couple of months ago and scraped the cedar siding of the house, leaving streaks of paint on the fender. Suddenly cars with dents and scratches hit my radar everywhere. After a recent hair cut, I noticed other women with new hairstyles in line at the grocery store. So when Jesus whispered, “Peace, friend,” in my devotional times, I was sure it would pop up somewhere. But where? How?
On a trip to the bank, I was running late, and my heart was pounding as I scrambled to find a parking space in the crowded lot. High winds had whipped my hair into a rat’s nest. My water bottle drizzled onto my lap. As I crept forward, a car backed into my path, barely missing me. I leaned on the horn. A splitting headache came barreling out of nowhere.
But I was determined not to let the enemy steal my joy. So I asked the Holy Spirit, Comforter and Counselor (I affectionately call Co-Co) “What are You thinking?”
“I’m enjoying creation.”
“Where?” I took a look around. Half a dozen seagulls, circling Douglas firs and maples, called to one another (and to me, I imagined). I took a deep breath and shifted my mind into a casual mode. I focused on His presence. Layers of stress began to fall off.
And then a parking space became available. But, more importantly, a space opened up in my soul, and a peace seeped in—one brought on by practicing the presence of the Holy Spirit. I brought that calmness to a business meeting that followed.
This time of year, we’re inside, in close quarters with coworkers, friends and family. God invites us to practice His presence with a remembered Scripture. A quiet moment in the middle of chaos. A deep breath as we whisper His name, “Holy Spirit.” Then, with the calm center of Christ, we can release it to those around us.
And once we’re filled, we’re ready for a “piece” of the action. Let’s step into a new year replete with possibilities.
Friend, how do you practice the presence of the Holy Spirit in the middle of chaos? What do you focus on?