I’ve had this writing project running through my mind since January. It has taken me since then to post a single post. Then, after a week of posting a few things I’ve written, the questions started bubbling in the back of my mind. “Why are you doing this, anyway,” I would say to myself. “What are you trying to accomplish, here?” My self-doubt nearly got the best of me. There is no rhyme or reason to what brought on this barrage of self-pity, but man, it has been tiring. I won’t bore you with all of the sad details of what my inner monologue has been, but let’s just say it has been burdensome. You know, that feeling like you are walking with a 20-pound sandbag over your shoulders…in mud? Yeah, that one. Try that feeling on for several days. Yuck. And unfortunately, this negative pattern of thinking is a habit of mine. It’s one I’ve battled for a long time. From writing projects to sewing projects to music projects to, well, any project….I tend to be a little critical of myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an excellent starter. I start things really well. But then, somewhere along the way, I begin to feel that I’m not doing Thing A or Project B well enough, and I decide to shelve it until I can do it right. Last week I started feeling frustrated because the ideas I had weren’t translating the way I wanted them to. So I nearly shelved it.
But then I got to thinking.
What if I didn’t shelve it? What if I kept on walking through that mud until things got better? What if I actually stuck it out? What if instead of being so critical I decided to practice a little self-acceptance? What if I made a few steps toward being at peace with….myself?
Living here in the desert, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of water being underground. You know those old movies where someone would be stranded somewhere and they would just dig and dig until they found some spring of water? I think peace is kind of like that. It’s not like an emotion, happy or sad. It’s this constant source of nourishment for your soul that is always there for you, even if it is out of sight, or it takes some digging to get to. It is always there.
I heard a song this morning – one of my favorites – that reminded me of this truth. Each verse is a person calling for help, and in the Chorus, God replies. Read these lyrics. They are beautiful and poetic and teach a powerful lesson.
“Peace Be Still” by James Cleveland
Master, the tempest is raging.
The billows are tossing high.
The sky is o’er shadowed with blackness,
No shelter or help is nigh.
Carest Thou not that we perish?
How canst Thou lie asleep,
When each moment so madly is threatning,
A grave in the angry deep?
The winds and the waves
Shall obey my will, peace be still.
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea
Or demons, or men, or whatever it be.
No water can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies;
They shall sweetly obey my will,
Peace be still, peace be still.
They all shall sweetly obey my will;
Peace, peace be still.
Master, with anguish of spirit I bow in my grief today.
The depths of my sad heart are troubled.
Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish
Sweep o’er my sinking soul,
And I perish! I perish! dear Master.
Oh, hasten and take control!
Master, the terror is over, the elements sweetly rest.
Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
And heaven’s within my breast.
Linger, O blessed Redeemer!
Leave me alone no more,
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor
And rest on the blissful shore.
Peace is constant, even if the storms are raging around us, or, as in my case, if the storm is raging inside of us. And I know the true source of all peace is the Master of Heaven and Earth. The patterns of negative thinking I’ve developed are not from Him. So today, and going forward this week especially, I’m turning the reigns over to the Master. I’m going to honor myself as His daughter. I’m really going to try to master my thoughts and practice some kindness and self-acceptance. It won’t be complete by the end of this week, or even my whole life maybe, but it will be a start. I’m going to try my best to come to terms with this inner battle I’m waging, and be at peace with myself. It might take some digging to get there, but I’m finally willing to do it.
Wish me luck. I’ll need it!