Each year I choose a word and a verse for the year to focus on. This year my word has been Shalom and the verse, John: 14: 27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. “ It became evident the more I thought and prayed about it, that Shalom was the word to study. Shalom is his peace, and if I am honest, it has redefined my view of peace.

Many times when we think of peace it is temporary and based on circumstances and outcomes. Shalom is a state of wellness, wholeness, and permanence not dependent on the circumstances or outcomes. Philippians 4:7 says “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” I wonder if “surpassing all understanding” is because our finite mind simply cannot make sense of the shalom we experience from an infinite God.

How do we let our hearts not be troubled or afraid? For those of us who battle anxious or fearful thoughts, we might say we can’t help our anxious thoughts. The fearful thought has overcome us long before we have had a chance to let our hearts not be afraid. Could it be that we have held captive the troubling thought and are stuck? We have not “let” His peace in. This practice of shalom has been a work in progress to not let my own heart be troubled. It begins with asking the Spirit for help. It involves learning to rest and wait in a space between the fearful thought and the state of peace. This is where the Spirit can move as we trust.

I have often thought of my life as a house with different rooms. The many parts of my life and emotions are different rooms in the “abode” of my life. The biggest “aha” moment for me was that I wasn’t allowing the Spirit into every room. Do you have some areas of your life you are not allowing the Spirit in? It seems the more we allow the Spirit in, his peace begins to grow. This changes from a dependent peace to a constant shalom.

As we ask the Spirit to lead and guide us, may our eyes be opened to see we have a faithful Comforter who is a permanent resident in every room of our life. Take some small steps today. Shalom!

Tammy DeArmas

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