seeking peace.

The snow is falling outside, the temperature hovers around zero, the holiday lights are sparkling and I’m sitting here looking over bills while sipping on peppermint tea. We missed last month’s internet bill and owe more than double this time. Then there’s all those other bills and expenses coming up this month. On top of stressful finances, my to-do list is never-ending, I feel like I am unable to make time for the things I really want to do, and I’m hardly feeling rested at all. I took the entire month of November for myself and feel like nothing was accomplished. All I can think right now is:

“This isn’t where I wanted to be right now. I don’t need many of these things I have.”

I aim for a simpler life. I am still getting rid of things, It’s not that I want to settle, but I’d really like everything to fall in place. So I can fully rest. In six months, we’ll be picking up and moving out of state. Even more to do. What tasks stay? What can I let go of?

I know what I want. I know who I want to be. And yet, I feel like I’m constantly changing. And I just want to focus on my heart. On people. On food. Nourishment. God. The stuff that really matters. Yet, all these other distractions are getting in the way.

And oh, my heart is so full as I think about all the kind people, beautiful moments, and precious things that fill my life. Looking around and marveling at how blessed I am to have this small, warm place. Heart aching for those without a good home. Wishing I could give every homeless person a bed. Why do I deserve to have so much? Why are others struggling? My heart breaks for all the anger and pain and loneliness in this world. I wish I could help everyone. I wish I could live a completely peaceful life and spread it to others.

Over the past couple weeks I have been thinking a lot about how my life is overfilled. I cringe when restaurants offer large platters of food. I cringe that I can even afford to eat a restaurant. I have so much food. So many clothes. A car. An education. And I’ve been feeling kind of guilty. So many people in other countries don’t even have a reliable meal everyday. They don’t have jobs. They can’t provide for their children. They can’t afford school. I’ve always been somewhere aware of this but it hasn’t affected me until now. It is so unfair that I have all this and others don’t.

I think about the children around the world that eat one small meal a day, if anything, and feel disgusted with myself for a cabinet of ‘food.’ I think of the homeless person on the streets of Chicago without warm clothes and hate that I have two winter coats and countless scarves. I think about all the people who have lost loved ones in the past year and kick myself for ever thinking saying unkind words. Then I think about my choices and ponder whether or not each choice leads me down the path that I want to be on.

I’ve had an unusual amount of kindness in the past few weeks. So many unexpected acts of kindness, so many sweet words, and so many beautiful smiles. My heart has grown with love for this world. My eyes cannot stop soaking up all the beauty that God created.

And above all, I seek peace.

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. -Psalm 34:14

How to balance all of this? I have been reflecting on this verse (and other verses about peace) quite often. I pray for peace in everything I do and say. I pray for peace at work, with my friends, with my husband, with our finances, with our families, and within the world. I crave peace.

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