John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” is one of my favorite holiday songs. The famous anti-war song has always appealed to my drive for social justice. Peace is something the whole world longs for. It is one of the things I highly value. Prior to the last five years, I pursued peace through a lot of venues: Buddhist meditation, Shamanic drumming circles, and the use of spirit guides. These practices left me with momentary peace and a longing for more than they offered. In addition, my long-term partner and I lived in constant conflict the last couple of years of our relationship. When I was visiting a friend in Texas and she shared that Jesus promised peace to those who followed Him, it profoundly influenced my life. I couldn’t escape the words of Jesus my friend shared from John 14:27— “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.” It was not the promise of heaven or the fear of hell that drew me to Christ. It was the promise of peace that drew me like a moth to a flame.
My desire was for peace within. I recognized that this peace Jesus promised me was costly. Once I made the decision to surrender my life to Jesus, I called my partner to share the news with her. My announcement was received with silence followed by these painful words: “You have left me for Jesus.” Gulp! In a sense she was right; my affections were no longer primarily toward her, and my heart now belonged to another. In that moment, all hope of returning home and living happily thereafter was gone. The final blow came with my partner’s pronouncement to not come home. At that time I was over 1,500 miles away from our home in the Seattle area and I was crushed by her words, yet strangely at peace. That peace would become an anchor in the days that followed.
When I returned to Washington State, she had changed the locks and refused to answer my phone calls or texts. In an instant I was homeless. This was followed by the discovery that she had shut me out of our bank accounts. I knew that following Christ was going to cost me something, perhaps some minor inconveniences and adjustments to the way I did life. This was a lot more than I had bargained for. In the midst of those difficult circumstances I sensed waves of peace washing over me and I somehow knew I was on the right path. From the onset of this journey I felt like I was in the middle of a war zone. The emotional toll on my relationships meant a great deal of relational suffering. My ex and my friends believed I had been brainwashed and desperately tried to convince me that I was heading the wrong direction. At this point I knew two things; first, even in the midst of the turmoil the peace remained. Secondly, I needed some time and space to sort things out. Within a month I moved to Texas and moved in with my friend who had shared about the peace Jesus offered. Since February of 2009, the initial peace I experienced has not only remained but grown.
So this is Christmas, the season in which we recognize that God became man to reconcile mankind to Himself. What have you done with that message? Is your life constantly unsettled and lacking peace? Have you pursued meaningful relationships that seem as though something is missing? Do you fill your life with the latest and greatest things to improve your life, but within days or weeks they lose their value? My friend, if this is you may I invite you to receive the Prince of Peace into your life and end your internal war.
Thanks for following my Journey, your thoughts and comments are welcome!