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UNEARTHLY THING◽ ENCOURAGEMENT
Poisoning My Peace
by Angela Dolbear
ENCOURAGEMENT - apr 2024 - unearthly thing.jpg

The Peace Lily plant is so beautiful with its large, graceful white blossoms and broad, shiny green leaves. But according to the Poison Control Center website, when any part of the Peace Lily plant is ingested, “it can cause immediate discomfort and mechanical injury to the mouth. This can lead to mouth and throat irritation, swelling of the lips, coughing, nausea, and vomiting.” It looks good, but it’s poisonous.

I have been thinking about this phrase, “poisoning my peace,” for a couple of weeks, ever since the Holy Spirit whispered it into my mind when trying to decide if what I was doing was okay.

Now I ask myself, “Does it poison my peace?”

At first, I thought this was a new song idea God was giving me (which it still might be), but then I realized I had been praying about 

things that seemed like they would be okay, but I was unsure because they never brought me rest or restoration.

Again, I ask, “Does it poison my peace?”

This morning, I woke up with this question in my mind. In my before-my-feet-hit-the-floor prayer, I asked God to show me what was poisoning my peace. He answered me immediately with a list of things:

  • Spending time on entertainment, like online games (I knew this, but it was good to get a reminder)

  • Purposeless online shopping (I knew this too. Again, a reminder is appreciated)

  • Comparing myself to others (Whoa…that’s a new one)

  • Worrying about what others think about me and then changing myself to “fit in” (God doesn’t like that…He has told me many times. He created me as I am, so I need to be His way for His purposes)

  • Guilt over things in the past I have already confessed to God and asked for forgiveness (He reminded me of His grace and mercy, so I should let it all pass)

  • Worrying, fearing, or not trusting God fully (is this just a constant challenge or consistent sin? Hoping for victory over this “giant” real soon)

  • Allowing feelings to reign, especially hopelessness. I am learning to replace the hopelessness of chronic illness with hope in God and allow Him to use the suffering to sharpen me like a sword. He’s got me. Yes, He does.

 

After my prayer, I stumbled upstairs (we practice inverted living—our beautiful finished-out basement is our master suite) to get coffee, with my four-legged co-workers following me into my office, tails wagging (except Maddy the Cat, whose tail motion is more languid). Their eyes sparkled with hope for treats and playtime on this new day. My mind was still pondering peace. I considered hauling out the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and my Greek and Hebrew dictionaries to study “peace.” I don’t know why I hang onto those heavy hardcover tomes of knowledge when everything is online. Anyway, next up in my morning routine is devotional time with God.

And what do you think one of my regular devotionals was about on this fine morning? Yes, you guessed it -- peace! (God is so good…I will say it again and again and again.)

I read about the peace I am given and is with me constantly. The Bible verse from my devotional was Psalm 29:11. Here it is in several translations:

“The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.” (New Living Translation)

“The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.” (New King James) “The Lord will give [unyielding and impenetrable] strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.” (Amplified)

I decided to include three translations of this verse so we could read it multiple times and really let it soak in. Peace is a gift from God. I need to draw strength from that and not let anything hinder it.

I’m reminded of a scene from The Mid-Century Breakfast Club, my current novel in progress (release set for Fall 2024), where the main character, Maddy, shares with her husband, Peter, her lack of peace because of the effects of a stroke left on her:

“I wish my brain would heal. It’s so hard to carry on conversations with people when it takes me a second or two, sometimes three or four, to process what they have just said. I feel like I’m being rude.”

“Try not to worry about what other people think.” Peter gently squeezes my waist. “It’s a waste of energy.”

“You can say that again.”

“Try not to worry about what other people think. It’s a waste of energy.” Peter lifts one dark eyebrow and smirks at me.

“Thanks, Love.” He makes me smile.

“Anytime.” He hugs me close and rubs my back for a few moments. I stand still soaking in the feel of him. Also, I know he is silently praying for healing for my brain. He does this often. I am so grateful.

I love this scene, probably because I live it often. But I must remember that the Prince of Peace Himself (a.k.a. Jesus Christ) has excellent words for us to live by. So, I leave you with His words in John 14:27:

“Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.] (Amplified)

Amen and amen, which I recently learned means “so be it.” Yes!

The peace of Christ is with you!

Angela Dolbear is the author of contemporary Christian novels, such as THE GARDEN KEY Series, THE TORMENTOR’S TALE, and many short stories. Her novels are available on Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook formats. Angela writes real, relatable, and reverent fiction. She loves reading, writing prose, and recording music with her husband Tim in their studio in Nashville, TN- listen to their music on SoundCloud.  Please drop by and sign up for news, read new stories, and hear new original music at http://www.angeladolbear.com/subscribe.htm. Blessings to you!

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