Life is a whole lot easier “in theory.”
Adulting, being married, keeping my home under control, parenting, homeschooling, blogging, and literally everything else I can think of, might sound doable enough on paper.
When that rubber hits the road, we find out how well our theories hold up.
Today, let’s talk about bridging the gap between theory and practice where peace is concerned.
Sometimes when I am overwhelmed, I practice an exercise in my imagination.
I zoom out from my bedroom, to my roof, to my neighborhood, my city, my state, the continent, the planet, the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe. It’s basically like Google Maps of the future.
While I am zoomed out as far as I can possibly imagine, I remind myself that God is holding it all.
If He can handle the intricacies of all creation, He for sure can handle whatever I’m worried about. God is much bigger and better at being God than I ever give Him credit for.
The practice serves me well, and I highly recommend it, but I can’t actually live on the back left corner of the universe. I have to take a big, peaceful breath and return to my overwhelming life.
I cannot just be peaceful “in theory.”
When we view our lives from a distance and accept God’s ultimate sovereignty over it all, we may be encouraged to find that our hearts are at rest.
But if our actual lives are in a perpetual state of avoidable chaos, it isn’t enough that our hearts are at rest.
As much as it depends on us, we need to aim for a life at rest.
Peace must come down and translate into wisdom.
Wisdom was with God in the beginning before the world began. She was there, at His right hand, creating everything we see. (Proverbs 8)
If peace is transcendent, going beyond our circumstances, past our understanding, smoothing out the edges of our problems with distance and putting them in an eternal perspective, wisdom zooms back in.
Here are three categories where we desperately need peace to translate into wisdom.
1 – We need wisdom in our thoughts.
The peace God gives us is not blissful ignorance. God’s peace is gutsy. It shows up when nothing makes sense for it to be there. Places like a lions’ den, a fiery furnace, a leaky boat on a stormy sea.
In moments when our thoughts would rather go dark, Wisdom calls us to embrace our utter dependence on the Lord. She brings us to our knees before our Creator, the only appropriate place for us to be, and reminds us to turn to God’s word.
Wisdom draws from the clarity peace brings and applies it. She recognizes when we are believing lies and reminds us of what is true. She clears away the fog of worry, of people-pleasing, of perpetual insecurity, and reminds us of the beautiful assurance of God’s love that covers all our sins and fills us to overflowing.
2 – We need wisdom for our words.
Wisdom is like Peace’s plucky cousin. She clamps her hand over our mouth when we need it. (Or tries to…) Wisdom prompts us to speak truth when we’re too scared to say it.
Our words are important. They directly influence the climate in our homes. They affect the quality or even the existence of our relationships. With them we have the ability to build up or to tear down.
The difficulty is that the things we say sometimes bypass our brain. Our words slip out before we catch them, often in moments of stress. They reveal the places where we are still broken.
But even when we plow past Wisdom and say horrible things anyway, she continues to speak to our hearts.
Wisdom pleads with us to not let our foolish words be our last words. She calls us to apologize, to self-correct, and to not let our damaging words hang unchallenged in the air.
The daily practice of meditating on God’s word and allowing His presence to fill our hearts with peace should translate into the wisdom to speak words filled with truth and kindness.
3 – We need wisdom to influence our actions.
Peace and Wisdom work together, pushing and pulling at our constructs of time and space. While Peace lifts our eyes above the storm, Wisdom tells us to build our house on the solid rock, rather than on shifting sand.
Peace is the assurance that God is with us, that He holds everything in His hands. Wisdom puts Peace to work. She walks into a chaotic life, rolls up her sleeves, and begins to set things in order, one decision at a time.
Wisdom is peace in action.
When we practice a lifestyle of remembering truth and allowing it to fill us with peace, we are poised for wise living. Peace allows us to slow down and look closely, to be still and listen, and then to steadily move forward in wisdom, moment by moment.
We need wisdom to make good decisions and to recover quickly from our poor ones.
So How Do We Get Wisdom?
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5-6
God point-blank says He will give us wisdom. The question is, if we ask Him, do we really believe He will guide us?
Holding a problem before the Lord takes spiritual muscles. Instead of worrying, we pray with thanksgiving, ask God for wisdom, and trust that God will direct our paths.
Sometimes we already know the answer to our dilemma. Other times, hearing the perspective of a God-honoring friend can be helpful. But all input needs to be lined up with scripture.
Wisdom calls us to align our habits and practices up with what God’s word says is important.
While this is a lifelong journey, making one wise decision is startlingly immediate.
There may be a huge category of changes we need to make, but often it will be something really simple, like doing the dishes, going to bed on time, finally ordering paper for your printer, or smiling at your family members the next time you see them.
Tiny wise decisions might seem pointlessly small, but they start to build upon each other and bring order to our life.
Then, because everything in life seems to run in a cycle, living wisely brings about even more peace.
We receive peace and joy and comfort in the presence of God, and then we must allow those vital resources to wash over the details of our lives, bathing them with fresh wisdom and love.
Here is a simple verse I pray often. It is written out above my desk.
“Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8
I pray your heart is encouraged. Thanks for coming by and have a lovely week!