Monday Dec 05 2011
A Word to the Wise: Peace on earth begins in our hearts
By: Tom Rupp, Special to the Telegraph
This is the time of year when many people allow themselves to become stressed out with anxiety and worry. We establish expectations and then tailspin when those expectations are not met. Notice that I said we do this to ourselves. I like what Steve Chandler says about this, “All lies to the soul are the same lie. The lie is that we are powerless. The truth is that we are powerful.” Jesus put it similarly in John 14:27 when he said, “Let not your heart be troubled.” In other words, “Do not allow yourself to become troubled.” We have a hand in the matter. We are much more than mere passive spectators. It is one thing to have troubles. Many of those are unavoidable. You do what you can to avoid mayhem but sometimes it finds you anyway. That is understandable. But it is another thing to be troubled. Then we have opened ourselves up and allowed it into our hearts. Then it affects our core. Think of a boat on the ocean. No matter how small of a boat it is, it will give adequate sailing as long as it doesn’t allow any of the ocean into it. Once the water gets inside, the boat is doomed, whether it is a small fishing boat or the Titanic. I am trying to think if worry accomplishes anything, or at least anything positive. It may give you an ulcer, etch wrinkles into your face or strengthen an overactive imagination. But worry never paid a bill, never won a race, never healed a sickness and never patched a relationship. If anything, worry caused more mischief. I like the part of the Serenity Prayer that asks God to help me “accept the things I cannot change.” Worry is an attempt to change the things I cannot change. It will not work. During the Christmas season many people set unreasonable expectations (are there such things as reasonable ones?) and then exhaust themselves in the attempt to change the unchangeable. The other part of the previously mentioned verse speaks of the peace that the Lord leaves with us and gives to us. God’s peace replaces my need for worry. Let others rush about following the siren calls of society. I will walk in peace through the turmoil knowing that God is in control and that what is over my head is under His feet. You may reach Tom Rupp at firstname.lastname@example.org.