I am at peace with my thoughts.
Two years ago as I drove home to Charlotte from Lake James, a 90 minute drive, I sensed that I should turn off my radio. What I discovered that day in the silence was that my thoughts were a boiling caldron of anger and defensiveness and pressure and judgment. This was a revelation to me, because I had thought of myself as a loving, giving person. All the fight-or-flight syndrome, all the anxiety about being on time that I had learned as a child, all the me-first thinking and projecting bad motives on everyone else shocked me as I drove home that day. But there I was admitting all of this not-so-loving-thinking for the first time.
For a year and a half I abstained from any radio or music while I drove either around town or on the road. I learned to live with my thinking and to accept it for what it was—very egocentric. The more I immersed myself in my mind, the more I became accustomed to what was really there. Then I finally could trust myself to listen to music in the car –about six months ago–and to find that I am now mostly resting in the presence of God when I drive. And I am at peace, finally. My favorite music today is a couple of cd’s of classical guitar which I practically know by heart now plus some hymns and other spiritual music. And that meditative music always calls me back to God.
I still have the same thoughts, but they no longer trigger any emotional response in me. I can be on my way to some appointment and no longer be anxious about getting there on time. I just look to the Lord to arrange the timing as He will, early or late. I no longer get angry at the person who failed to signal a left turn, I know that he or she is not deliberately trying to slow me down. I no longer have the angry conversation in my head that I’d like to have with someone who made me stop suddenly or caused some other problem for me. I am at peace even with the thoughts that previously would have led me to create those scenarios in my mind.
I am no longer on a roller coaster going from fine to angry to anxious to relaxed and then back through the same emotions again. My thoughts no longer trigger my emotions.
How did I get to this peaceful place? By offering up to God my thinking and any actions I would be contemplating and asking Him to heal me. I use intention, a prayer of the whole person, for healing. Gathering my heart, mind, soul and strength, I ask God to heal and to transform me, so that I can be free of the anger and fear and everything else. And so He has. I don’t know if I will ever be free of the thoughts I still have, but it no longer matters to me. I am at peace.
It is so freeing to let God set the pace of the day, to surrender to His greater wisdom. Every morning now I praise God for what He is about to do that day—in advance, as one of my readers taught me. And then I watch how He makes things happen, arranges them in my favor sometimes and other times not. It doesn’t actually matter which way it happens, I find I am grateful for everything He does in my life.
In July I spent the month in Oakland CA near where my two sons live with their wives and babies, one 10 months old and the other 18 months. The first week I was here I was so tired—even after the jet lag passed that I was not so functional. I learned to leave some space between visits to each baby, so that I could have some recovery time. I had forgotten how intense caring for babies and toddlers is. Then I got really sick, picking up the virus that one son and his family had contracted. With both of these things I was not fighting them, even if I would have not preferred them happening. I figured that it was God’s will and that, somehow, I was processing deep stuff from my past that needed to be expressed both physically and verbally. It was okay with me.
When I recovered from the flu, I found I was so grateful for the time I had with those babies that I didn’t mind the lost time or being ill. I enjoyed the last week so much more because I had missed almost a week of time with them. I’m not sure about the tiredness that first week, but I know that the flu—cough and sore throat—had something to do with deep feelings about my mother that apparently needed to be “coughed up.”
To be at peace, no matter what, is a great gift that God offers us in the midst of all the ups and downs of life here. And we can truly relax into that peace that passes all understanding and let go of all that binds us and let God lead us. Amen.
Questions to ponder over the week: Will I do anything to escape my thoughts? Do I have zero tolerance for the repetitive themes in my thinking? Have I ever experienced peace and the ability to just be with whatever is? What would the peace that passes all understanding feel like?
Blessing for the week: May we be at peace with our thoughts, may we be at peace with our lives and with ourselves. May we be at peace with God.
–I am collecting conversion stories—How did it happen to you to give your life over to Christ? And what was that like? If you’d like to contribute yours, please click Message in the Comments, to add yours. I will not be using your name, only initials. I am not yet sure of what purpose I am collecting these for—my blog or another book, but I am always inspired like this for a purpose. Thank you so much in advance for joining in this project. Pat
–An Invitation to All of Us to Pray for our nation: for mercy and compassion for all, for community values and a deep sense of caring for each other. For peace. For love to reign. For a return to the love of God. For us to have one nation under God” as our motto again. If many of us would pray these things for our country, we could change the world. Invite your friends and neighbors to pray with us. in love and faith, Pat
 Philippians 4:7