where peace comes from

Spiritual growth is not peace but it can have a great deal to do with whether or not you have it. To me the origin of peace is within you. It is a decision you make.

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Not too long ago a colleague of mine stopped me and asked if they could ask a personal question.  She said she had noticed a change in me over the last 3 years that she didn’t quite know how to define but wanted to know.  I asked what it was she wanted to know and she asked…  “what  has changed in you?  Did you find Jesus?  What has caused you become so peaceful?”

I’d have to say that it set me back a bit.  I mean…  it caught me off guard.  Unexpected to say the least.  It did please me a little to have someone else see in me a peace that they had previously noticed was not there or at least was not evident.  If in any way someone else noticed that some change had taken place that caused more peace in my life, well, I was happy that this had happened.

So…  What was it that happened?  What had changed?  Had I found Jesus?

I had to say no.  That was not what had happened.  This was not the change that took place.

So what was the change?

Well, a number of things had happened.  Years ago (about 16 years ago now) I had gone through a rough divorce.  As a result of that divorce I became ostracized by well-meaning people of my own faith at the time.  Too old to be in the “singles” groups.  Not married so I couldn’t be in the married couples groups.  So…  I felt left out.  In fact, I was left out.  By many churches.  Not all of them.  Just a vast majority of them.  That was around 16 years ago.  I then spent some time out of the church all together but not too long.  I think it was about a year.  I went back and, in an attempt to find a connection somewhere, I found a church willing to accept those people that were or had been divorced.  This is more common now but it wasn’t as much 16 years ago.

Wanting love again, I found what I thought might work by looking in a place I felt safe.  In the church.  I found another woman who had similar interests.  We dated and eventually got married.  So… I was married again.  After only two years of being divorced.  Not too bright I know.  And it was indeed another mistake.  I’m not blaming anyone.  We both played our part in causing the problems.  The real problem is that it just wasn’t really right in the first place even though I had convinced myself that it was.  Looking back I now feel I must have just been lonely.  At any rate, that too ended in divorce.  That was a bit over 3 years ago.

So… again, what caused the change in me?  Though in some ways I’d have to say that the divorce made a difference, the real difference was that I made a decision.  It appears to me to be a decision that I will never regret.  A decision to live life, on my own terms, in my own way, the best way I know how.

I laid down my claim to be anything but who I am.  Accept me or reject me.  Your choice.  I am what I am.  I am who I am.  Nothing more and nothing less.  No better than anyone and no worse either.  Basically, I accepted myself.  I began to look at life with a different perspective.  With a different view.  From a different portal as it were.  No more playing church.  No more trying to have more than the Smiths or Jones’ or whoever.  No more trying to think myself better than someone else.  No more regretting who and what I was.  There was a new beginning.  The beginning process of breaking down the walls that confined me and opening myself to the light that was now before me.  I began to be at peace with myself.  In my own way I began to be at peace with all things.

I had some help.  There were books and friends, videos and articles and more books.  But the real truth I found was coming from within me.  It was coming from deep down inside myself.  My desire became a quest for truth.  It meant laying down some of my beliefs that had been ingrained in me for most of my life.  It meant laying aside some of the cultural brainwashing that happens to all of us.  It meant opening my eyes and my mind to things that before now had been closed off from viewing for fear of some retribution from peers, colleges, friends or family.

Growth only comes as a result of struggle else the growth that has grown is weak.

Spiritual growth is not peace but it can have a great deal to do with whether or not you have it.  To me the origin of peace is within you.  It is a decision you make.

Freedom is not peace.  Peace is not always freedom.  Freedom is not free.  Peace can have a cost.  But at least in my book it is worth it.

Author: memman

Too much to tell. There is more than what is seen on the surface of any man. Some have more layers than others. I have many.

2 thoughts on “where peace comes from”

  1. Thanks for sharing Dan. It’s fascinating to me that some of what I pulled from this is more inferred rather than said directly. Like peace is not really directly “attainable”, like an ordinary achievement or accomplishment. But is rather a fruit that results when some genuine growth, of a spiritual nature, is “happened upon”. I’m not sure I know what you mean by a “decision”, though I do think that is often what it is.

    Something about what you have said Dan has reminded me how in certain areas on the earth that often experience earthquakes or volcanoes, are often the most fertile places on earth, capable of rich growth and vegetation that would otherwise be impossible.

    I believe that similarly, we, like the earth, for growth and health, require shift and change. And change that uproots, or even demolishes the “ground you walk on”, can actually bring the richest change.

    I do think authentic growth can also visit us, completely unrelatated to anything we have consciously chosen. And such visitation does seem to often follow very painful events. Events that get our attention at a deep level. I know that is true for me anyway.
    I think we are very much “creatures of habit”. So it can be easy to create our lives around sets of habits and addictions of our own choosing. And of course addictions can be almost anything… even watching TV, work, exercise, or even church activities that may give us a feeling of security, can be all consuming addictions. We are not too far removed from eras of time, that were petrified of “hell fire and damnation” (if we are removed at all), so “a ticket to heaven”, which the church often seems to be offering (but only to it’s following), can look like heroine does to a drug addict.
    This may sound extreme, and it may be for some. But I really don’t think it is in many cases. And consequently, people under the “rule of fear” as many church members often are, may also fear being affiliated with someone in a divorce… much like a superstitious athlete may avoid wearing any previously deemed “unlucky” item or piece of clothing in an important game.
    But when this set of habits begins to BECOME “who we are”, in our own minds, then it often takes a devastatingly painful event to break that world apart. To make us question everything we hold dear. To look deeper, and more honestly, for what all this is about. And that can put us in a very raw and vulnerable state, but ironically that raw state is then more authentically “who we are”, than possibly anything we have previously encountered, of ourselves. And that can be unexpectedly refreshing, to others as well as ourselves.
    I believe that “raw state” is of the same “raw material” that we are made from. I believe our deepest instinct for true living comes from that place.
    When we are trapped in our compulsive habits and addictions, we are much like an onion, for which layers must be peeled away to get to the inner core, for the truth.
    But the truth often, amazingly and mysteriously finds a way to the surface. But unfortunately, our own growth is very hard for us to detect. So sometimes others detect it in us before we do. That sometimes happens with me, and I think that occurred in the story you began with here.

    1. You are one of the few that see that often I write in such a way as to infer things into my blogs. Why? Another friend of mine wrote me and asked that question in a slightly different way but the question was there. Why infer something you know or want others to know and don’t just come out and say it? Because they could not handle it. Not in it’s purest form.

      It takes more understanding. Sometimes they see it right away. Sometimes they see it after something happens in their life to make what I have said in the past real to them at that moment. It happens to me! I hear things or read things others have said or written and don’t always understand the full meaning until later. Sometimes much later.

      So far as what I mean by decision… sometimes it is a direct decision. Other times it is a decision based on current events. Still other times, the decision may not have been mine. Not all truth comes as or because of a decision. Peace certainly doesn’t come from a particular decision. It does have to come over time. It is not automatic. Spiritual growth does create peace. Spiritual growth certainly doesn’t come over night. We both know that. And like you said, often it is “happened upon.”

      I like the phrase that you included. How that spiritual growth can “visit us” sometimes. In fact… it happens all too often. You may not have meant it this way, but, sometimes it will visit us and we will forget it and then we fall back into the same rut we were in before it’s visit. Still, if I get a visit of immense enough substance, it will surely leave me with a residual effect even if I am unfortunate enough not to remember it all. I have still grown as a result.

      Thank you for your input. I value it greatly. As always. I hope others will grow too as a result.

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