We place the last off-season kids’ clothes into boxes. Stacks of shorts and t-shirts, as well as size- and season-labeled boxes, start to litter our bedroom floor as soon as the slow tug-of-war between hot and cold weather begins. My husband sorts them and carries the keepers to the attic; the Goodwill boxes to the car; and the trash bag full of items that no one would want to the garage.
I breathe a sigh of relief, beam at him, and declare, “Now we can have company!” He looks confused, but I know how this cast-off clothing chaos has stolen my peace.
I spend a week messing around the backend of my website, running dead-end Google searches, and losing sleep trying to figure out how to create a page with different sidebar content on my blog as a landing page for my upcoming book.
Finally I find the perfect plugin — no heavy lifting or code-writing required — and solve the problem in 10 minutes. My book is free to release and the proverbial weight of the world falls from my shoulders.
Clearly my husband didn’t see kids’ clothes in our bedroom floor as an obstacle to entertaining. He just closes the door. But I feel like I’m standing in the front yard in my undies — not that I actually know what that feels like — when visitors get a glimpse. It’s a roadblock to being comfortable in my home and welcoming others here. (Our bedroom isn’t tucked away upstairs or at the end of a hallway. It’s in the middle. of. everything. Our builder intended it for a grown woman who can keep her room clean.)
And my book? It will remain on schedule with or without that tweak to my blog, but I couldn’t move on and do the other necessary things with that one dominating my mind.
We may not recognize the things that steal our peace until we feel their tentacles release. Some need time and attention, like my mess. Block off time to deal with them, even if you’d rather watch Sherlock or read a book than fold and box stacks of off-season kids’ clothes or face whatever your thing is.
Some require us to do hard things, like apologize to someone we’ve wronged or forgive someone who’s wronged us. Maybe you feel obligated to do something that you don’t want to do, but other people expect it from you. It takes courage to explain yourself and risk disappointing others.
My mother told me the things I’m most afraid of will almost never be as bad as they seem, and I’ve found it to be true. Sometimes you’ve got to do the thing that scares you and then you don’t have to be afraid of it anymore.
What steals your peace? Fear of new things, like the necessity of finding a new job or making new friends? Self-imposed expectations? The necessary household project you can never find time to face?
Can you begin 2015 with fewer of these peace-stealers? Watch for things that niggle at your subconscious. Take steps — even hard ones — to deal with the ones you can, and then loosen your grip and hand the reigns to the One who is in control. Rest in His peace.
The Lord will give strength unto His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace. ~Psalm 29:11