I love my home. It means the world to me. Not because it’s my “dream” home. (I’ve always wanted a farm house out in the country.) It’s definitely not that. It’s a very simple, modest, small 2 bedroom apartment. There’s no “wow” factor or anything special about it. I’ve decorated it in such a way that when I walk through the door and close the world behind me, it feels like home. From the colours I’ve chosen to the furniture etc, I’ve tried to make it feel comfy and cozy. A make shift sanctuary that I know I can run to after a long day. This is something that is very important to me.
Another reason why I love my home…it’s peaceful. From the outside it might not seem that way. It’s next to a busy street so there are constant sounds of traffic and people outside. Also, because I live in an apartment building there are other people living around me as well. And while I have good neighbours, living in such close quarters with others around you 24/7 can sometimes not be perfectly peaceful at all times. It’s just part of the deal when you live in an apartment building. Regardless of what is going on outside or around me however, I know that once I walk into my own apartment and close the door, peace is waiting for me there. And it’s my favourite thing about my home.
I haven’t always been able to say that. Having peace in my home hasn’t always been a reality. Even when I was married, there was way more tension and stress than peace, to the point where it was just unhealthy. In the 10 years since then, there have been other instances of me not learning my lesson the first time and having to take the test all over again. I guess some of us are just more stubborn than others and we require taking the long way around to some common sense.
It’s safe to say that I’ve finally learned my lesson and I’ve gotten to the point in my life now where I crave peace. It’s at the top of my list. When you go through enough stress in your life, you do whatever is necessary to obtain it. Even if you have to claw your way to it. And once you finally latch onto peace, you’ll do whatever it takes so that it never escapes you again. I’ve heard this quote many times and it’s become my mantra:
“If it costs you your peace, it’s too expensive.”
Your peace is one of the most expensive things that you possess. It affects and connects every part of us, our spirit, our soul (mind, will and emotions) and our physical bodies. When we lose our peace, it is only a matter of time before we begin to see the effects of it in our own lives. Our peace should be so fiercely maintained and cared for that we would do anything to protect it. So much so that no relationship, habit, decision, job, etc, is ever more important than your peace. In my experience, it’s never worth it. The last decade of my life has been spent in one way or another taking inventory of my life and allowing God to prune and mold it in such a way that there is now only room for that which brings, restores and maintains peace in my life.
In a moment of vulnerability, I will say that this exact subject matter is probably the main reason why I have been single for 10 years as well. My peace, both in my home and my own personal peace is so important to me that the idea of someone possibly ruining that and causing me stress or pain once again terrifies me. I have seen so many couples that go through the motions of being in a relationship but actually can’t stand each other and fight constantly that it turns me off from the idea of a relationship all together. Hearing couples constantly argue makes me want to crawl into a hole, assume the fetal position and cover my ears until it’s over. I can’t stand it. It makes me thankful all over again that I come home to a place that is peaceful and quiet.
I’m not saying that couples shouldn’t fight. Even the happiest and healthiest relationships have arguments, but I’ve come to learn over the years that there is a right way and a wrong way to having a fight. And too many times I’ve witnessed the wrong way. On a bit of a side note, the person that you’re in a relationship with shouldn’t cause you unnecessary stress. Even though life has it’s ups and downs, you shouldn’t come home to someone that makes life harder. You’re supposed to be on the same team. They should be your best friend. Your partner shouldn’t be the enemy. You shouldn’t be afraid to walk in your front door because you feel that what is on the other side is just going to stress you out. Walking through your front door should be a blessing and a refuge, a safe place to land after a long day. This is something that I have learned the hard way and it can be difficult to open up and try again. It’s easier sometimes to get comfortable behind these stone walls that have been built up over time. Matters of the heart is always a risky business. I suppose finding the one that’s worth the risk is the tricky part.
Peace in your home is one thing. Peace within yourself or peace of mind is quite another. Life is pretty unpredictable. I think we can all agree on that point. We all go through storms in life. But regardless of what is going on around us, we can still experience peace. As I have gotten older, my prayers have changed from shallow, temporary things to simply wanting things that money can’t buy: peace, joy, hope. Jesus teaches us how important peace is when He says:
“I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”~John 14:27
Later on, the apostle Paul gives us another encouraging reminder of this same thing:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.”~Philippians 4:6-7
Our circumstances will change. Our feelings/emotions will fluctuate day to day. But one thing is constant, peace. The peace that comes from Jesus is our anchor in the storm. It is our solid foundation from which we can endure anything. This type of peace means that no matter what it looks like or feels like, we trust and know that God is ultimately in control and we can rest in that knowledge. We can go through our day with joy and smile. We can laugh with others and appreciate the little things that perhaps we wouldn’t normally take the time to see and appreciate. We can trust in His promises, even when the situation that we’re in looks like the opposite. And as time passes and we look back over our life, we can recognize that it was in those dark moments that He kept us, held us, and we made it to the other side. Still holding on to our peace. His peace. His peace that I’ve come to personally know that really is more wonderful than the human mind can understand.
Ask Him for it and He will give it to you. Hold on to it for dear life. Never let it go. It’s all there is. It’s everything.