I am a person that usually enjoys pursuing peace with everyone. But I typically pursue peace using my voice.
Never in my life did I think I would be out of words. I am a professional communicator; I work for a local radio station.
My mom says I talked before I could walk. My husband teases me daily about using up all my words, which has actually never happened until recently!
Pursuing Peace through a Crisis
When the global pandemic of 2020 hit, I started working from home.
Like many of us, I began balancing the shuffling of daily activities with new restrictions in place.
I was managing phone calls, shopping for elderly parents, and also monitoring remote learning for a high school student who is not too academically motivated.
As we were walking out the fallout of the 2020 Pandemic learning to pursue peace through a crisis, it seems America exploded…so many people with so many words flying around.
I felt confused and didn’t want to just say what everyone else was saying and be another talking head.
I mean – do MY words really matter? Do they bring a solution?
Think, social media … the platform where every voice can be heard, without boundaries or accountability.
Aargh!! My heart genuinely hurt seeing so much division in our world.
What happened to that lovely world we started embracing when the pandemic shut everything down and we had to slow down, stay at home, stop everything and make the most of being together?
Remember the commercials that aired, showing pictures of people living happy, singing songs, and using pots and pans as instruments on their balconies?
Oh yeah, and the world where we all longed for community and looking forward to just getting in the car to drive around or grab coffee with a friend.
Funny, most of us just longed for those sweet simple things!
Thank You Pandemic, for giving us some perspective on what’s important!
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”
Saint Frances de Sales
Pursuing Peace through Division
So sad that today, we seem more divided than ever. Protests, anger, dissension, hate, and violence. I look at the news and it’s hard to believe this is happening here in America.
I remember watching news footage of the Gulf War; TV stations showing numerous reports of chaos and fires and people in the streets throwing things in frustration.
I also know I had a disconnect because those events were happening across the world. But today, these same images are seen in the very same place my daughter took a college trip less than a year ago!
So much anger and strife and I realize it can happen anywhere.
It seems pursuing peace through division is more difficult than pursuing peace through a crisis.
Pursuing Peace by Disconnecting
Recently I decided to delete social media off of my phone and computer. Sounds crazy, but I still keep up with current events.
I just reach out “old school” and actually call friends I want to talk to.
I find myself less anxious. Surprisingly, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything, because I’m not always aware of what is going on.
It is comforting to just wake up and not swipe!
Disconnecting from social media may not be an option for everyone, but for me, it has been liberating and a clear path to pursuing peace.
Pursuing Peace through Genuine Conversation
I have also been pursuing peace through genuine conversation with different people.
Recently, I had a wonderful conversation with a wise friend about the disruption in peace. She gave me some insights into how she was feeling about things. We are not the same race on the outside, but our shared faith in Jesus makes us sisters.
Also, our family tries to have genuine conversations to deal with our differences. The saying ‘you get to pick your friends, but not your family’ means we have to make things right for the sake of peace.
We realize our family is who we do life with, so we work on pursuing peace.
I hope to continue to have more genuine conversations and embrace others with the same mindset. Regardless of our culture, race or beliefs.
What can we do to bring back peace?
There are no television commercials that will make us feel deep peace and definitely no social media posts that are going to bring peace.
But an open, genuine conversation along with an open heart might make us see more than one side.
“The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence.”
Norman Vincent Peale
Jesus Pursued Peace with Love
Jesus sees the “Big Picture”. He is most interested in our love for others because then we will pursue peace.
Jesus sees the heart and ALWAYS approached every conversation and conflict in LOVE.
Jesus’ version of love was never about opinions or judgment; it was always about the heart.
He made it a point to speak in love and appeal to the heart regardless of what the outcome looked like.
I am reminded of the story in the Bible when Jesus meets the woman at the well:
John 4:13-17 NIV
“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
- Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
- Jesus knew her story but still engaged with her in conversation, not judgment or condemnation.
- Jesus pursued peace with love and is not fazed by mistakes. The woman perceived Jesus as a prophet because He gently called out her mistakes and “told me everything I ever did” (John 4:29).
- Jesus is sovereign and sees the state of our heart (1 Timothy 5:15).
- Jesus spoke to her heart because ultimately, isn’t that what has to change in order for us to pursue peace?
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
Jesus (Matthew 5:9)
Pursuing Peace through Listening
I am not saying that everyone sharing their feelings and opinions about their passions is wrong.
I am just feeling that we need to be better listeners and try to see the heart of others. That might mean saying less.
A person can’t always hear when there’s noise, (judgment, opinions, anger, strife) but a kind word of encouragement can make a big difference.
The heart becomes more open to listen and receive the message.
Think about trying to get a point across to your own children when they are in the midst of a temper tantrum. If you really want to get their attention, start whispering.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
It never mattered to Jesus if He was right. He just lived righteously. He was without blemish and still went to Calvary to die.
There’s nothing anyone can do about all of the external chaos. You can’t get into the heads of people to make them feel or think differently.
We all have opinions but many times they offer no solution.
Listening to hear the heart of people gives us the perspective we need to be at peace with ourselves and others.
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord
What about you? How are you Pursuing Peace in your corner of the world?