2020 Challenge: The “Begin With Me” Formula

My husband and I almost got into an argument last night…over water bottles. I mean this could have turned into a big spirit-wounding fight…over water bottles. We were both tired and cranky and wanting a reason to release the day’s stresses. However, rather than choose to escalate a tiny problem into a huge one, we chose to retreat to our own corners. Then we chose peace. Then we chose love. Water bottles disaster averted.

If you watch the news, you know it has been a scary week in our country. A week of escalating tensions. Since this is not a political blog or a “how-to” blog, or an opinion on the state-of-the-world blog, I will just write that, for me, it has been a week where I longed for a dose of love and peace. What this blog is meant to be is a “telling of my faith journey” blog, including massive mistakes and large lessons. It is my shared story and I try to let inspiration guide me through the process each week. . Today inspiration is singing classic words from a few old songs. One that keeps ringing and resonating has the following line:

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Me? Now that is challenging. I am learning in my own circle of influence that there is a small window of opportunity I have to choose to initiate peace. In his well-known book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey calls it the “Margin of Freedom” This is that place where I get to choose my reaction to stimuli that angers, upsets, or triggers me. It is “stop and breathe” time.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:9

I have a strong fabulous thought-provoking family. We also are a family of differing opinions on several subjects. At times when we are together and a hot topic emerges, it is tempting to jump in and try to convince others that my opinion is the “right” one. It is here where the choice comes in. Is arguing your “right” always prudent? Is it peacemaking? Is the outcome of a well- argued judgement worth strife with those most important to you?

Please don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about intelligent respectful conversations in an attempt to understand each other. I am not talking about sharing important truth with grace that will effect the relationship if not addressed. I am not talking about tolerance or approval or allowing of abuse or mistreatment. My challenge for 2020 is to recognize the difference between wanting to prove “right” vs. sharing a respectful search for understanding.”Right” is a shallow substitute for peace. I am so thankful that when we get together as a family, we choose peace and love over contention. Let peace begin with me.

I don’t know how to tell anyone else what being a peacemaker or walking in love looks like. I only know what walking in it feels like and looks like for me. I also know when I am walking in something else. My personal challenge for 2020 is to catch the gait I am moving in quickly and turn back towards love and peace. I want the choice to begin with me.

Beloved, let us love one another. For God is of love and everyone who loveth knoweth God. He who loveth not knoweth not God for God is love. So Beloved, let us love one another. 1 John 4:7-8

Dear Readers, Can I just take a minute to thank you for the supportive comments and responses last week? They encouraged me in a way you may have no idea. They gave me new grit to write on the book and they helped to face the computer again today. Thank you! Prayers for each of you to have a week full of peace and love and joy. Amen

The Reason

During my adolescence and early adulthood, (for a variety of reasons) I was not a huge fan of Christmas. Then at the age of 25, a stranger told me about the love of Jesus and the new life I could have by trusting and believing in Him. All of a sudden, the story became real, the music made sense, and Christmas touched me in a powerful way it never had before. The hope, the joy, the peace, the promise.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.Luke 2:11-14

At Christmas time, I display two mini-candle holders given to me as a gift. I have put them out for over 30 years. They lived with me in a log cabin where we could not decorate with Christmas lights or twinkling tree. We did not have electricity. These little candles provided some sparkle to our holiday. They also traveled with me to various cities where I resided after my mountain life, including San Diego, and several cities in Salt Lake and Utah counties. Each year wherever they sit during the Christmas season they speak silently of a grown-used-to cliche. Jesus is the reason for the season, Nevertheless, a true reminder. The reason… for this season… for Christmas… is Jesus.

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas filled with His joy and Peace! Much Love, Kristy