Fruit of the spirit: peace

27 April 2015

This year, instead of setting traditional goals, I am practicing a fruit of the spirit each month to move closer to the person I hope to be. I explain more here!

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It did not go unnoticed by me that likely my busiest month of this year fell on my designated “peace” month. Peaceful, it was not. (Hence the fact that I didn’t get around to writing a post at all!) The peace I’m interested in pursuing for this project, though, is less about the circumstances I find myself in and more about the disposition and mindset that guides me through them.

The peace I’m working toward is the peace of an un-ruffle-able mind, a head space that’s calm and quiet instead of roiling.

I don’t spend a lot of time obsessing, over analyzing, or worrying about things, but one thing I can do is hold a grudge. If I’m in a grumpy mood and John does something to annoy me, I’m capable of freezing him out for as long as I want. (This is not new – my family nickname growing up was Princess Thundercloud because of the ease with which I could show my displeasure.) On the other hand, if I do something to annoy John (it’s difficult, but it does happen), he forgives me just as soon as I show the slightest bit of contrition.

This is one thing I love about marriage, that you can show your ugly and your person says, yes, I see that, and I still love you. At its best, it’s a lifelong, up close and personal opportunity to learn, with grace upon grace given and received.

I imagine this inner peace is something that’s always been with John, in some form or another, but when I asked him about it several years ago, I was surprised and tickled by his answer. Apparently in eighth grade, his English teacher led the class on a tangent about how holding a grudge is letting the past consume your future, and therefore is among the stupidest things you can do. John’s eighth grade mind immediately connected this to a particular scene in The Lion King.

In it, Rafiki bops Simba on the head with his stick.
Simba: “Ouch, what’d you do that for?”
Rafiki: “It doesn’t matter! It’s in the past!”

Simple as that! Of course, there are some things in the past that do matter, but the vast (VAST) majority of minor injuries and injustices don’t, in fact, matter, and don’t deserve to be carried into the future. When your mind isn’t consumed with trying to remember why you’re angry at so-and-so or how the scales are balanced between you and what’s-his-name, it is free to be at peace. You are free to be at peace. A lesson I’m still learning, but trying to take to heart more every day.

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I’d love to know: how peaceful is your mind? Are you great at holding a grudge or quick to forgive? Do you have a family nickname that you can’t quite escape? :)

P.S. Love and joy.

2 Responses to “Fruit of the spirit: peace”

  1. Rob

    Holding a grudge — or, worse, contemplating revenge — hurts you worse than the person who is the object of your displeasure. Especially since he or she may be blissfully unaware of your feelings. So, you ruin your peace without disturbing his. Doesn’t make sense.

  2. My mind goes through an eb and flow of peace and chaos depending on my circumstances but I definitely want to work on having a more peaceful mindset and disposition overall, as you mentioned in the beginning of this post. I am really enjoying reading along with this series each month :)