By: Amy Dalke
I struggled to fit every piece of wet laundry into my hands so that I could transfer it to the dryer. Grabbing and grasping, I was determined to get every last sock and long shirt sleeve into my arms.
There were so many pieces that fitting them all into my arm span was a near-impossible goal. So because I’m stubborn, I kept trying. Because heaven forbid that I slow down to move things over piece by piece.
Who has time for that?
When I finally had all that my reach could hold, I lifted the load up and out of the washer. But as soon as my arms moved past the washer door…loose garments inched their way out of my grasp. Socks. (Oh those stupid socks.) Underwear.
More socks tumbled onto to the floor (whose mates were inevitably not in the same load…because, of course), followed by a pair of shorts.
And then, because I was in such an all-fire hurry, I got angry. Angry that I couldn’t hold onto the entire load.
But…you know what I saw in this? I saw my life. I saw how I want my arms around everything.
My standard busy-mode requires that I clutch everything in one fell swoop, so that I can quickly move to the next thing, and the next without breaking pace.
I want to control, and manage, and extend my arms around the whole wide load. I want to act as though my arms are really longer than they are. And all the while, I’m in a hurry. All the while, I’m dropping socks and shorts.
And all the while…I’m wondering where I put my peace.
Because, exactly. I live life going 90 to nothing….and then I question my lack of peace? Sounds perfectly logical.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” – Isaiah 26:3
The Hebrew word for peace here is shalom: completeness, soundness, tranquility, contentment, wholeness, safety, soundness. The word conveys the truth that our lives prosper where the peace of God rules. It signifies our wholeness, and this shalom comes to us by our salvation, from the Prince of Peace himself.
The word, perfect, used in the verse above to describe peace, is actually the very same word: shalom. In essence, Isaiah said, “You keep him in shalom, shalom (or peace, peace) whose mind is stayed on you.”
The double usage denotes the certainty of this tranquility and this wholeness that is ours in Christ. It indicates the constancy and continuity of this peace that Jesus offers. And maybe, just maybe, it means that we always have enough.
But peace is not automatic, and it won’t magically appear when life’s treadmill is set on the highest speed possible.
A mind “stayed on God” is one that is purposefully directed upwards; and peace is the fruit of a heart intentionally bent toward Him. Peace lives full in the mind that believes God has everything under control.
My fast-paced sprint through the day…this tendency I have to live with my arms full…is rooted in a belief that I have to take care of things on my own. (In case God decides not to show up or something.)
When life gets busy, my internal hard drive goes into performance mode. And there I am (yet again) trying to earn God’s approval through hard work and good behavior.
(Have mercy. Like I could ever, ever create one ounce of holiness on my own.)
If you and I don’t purposefully center our lives around God, then God becomes just a piece of laundry dropped in the midst of our agenda. Once he’s checked off for the day, we once again find ourselves trying to hold the world up with our own two hands.
Until we drop things. Until the things that really matter start to suffer. Until peace is like a pipe dream.
As long as we insist on carrying an armful of laundry, we’ll be continually frustrated with a lack of peace.
Our lack of peace is driven by our lack of faith; it’s a result of pridefully trying to do life on our own, just in case God isn’t enough.
What would life be like for you today if you purposefully set your mind on God? Would today look any different if he were in charge?