1 Peter 3:11, “Search for peace, and work to maintain it.”
What does that word mean to you?
Peace is what I want in my home. Sometimes I want it so badly I feel I’m fighting and screaming for a moment of PEACE!
It’s interesting that the scripture above says to search for peace. Perhaps it is not something that can be demanded. I can’t just tell my kids I want peace and expect it to happen.
So what exactly does it mean to search for peace and maintain it in my home?
As we continue to do this we become detached from our own emotions. Instead of feeling our true feelings we mask it with anger. We stuff it and it seeps out in unhealthy patterns in our lives.
Now, as adults, my husband and I are finally learning how to access our deeper emotions.
We’re finding courage to actually talk about how we really feel. Yes, it takes courage, because talking about your real emotions means being vulnerable.
But we are experiencing a new freedom, closeness and healing in our relationship that we’ve never felt before. I would say the way we feel right now would be the definition of peace.
So, what about with my children?
I think it means allowing them to access and express their true emotions.
So many times when my children are feeling an emotion deeply, something inside of me is just hurting and I want it to stop. I think if the emotions will just stop I will feel peace.
But the opposite is true. I have to give my children freedom and space to feel what they feel, to accept each emotion as valid and help them work through it.
What I needed to do was just the opposite. Open up, allow them to feel, open my own heart to them, even when it hurts and be that safe place that they need.
That will lead to healing and that will lead to peace. This is how I search for peace and maintain it in my home.
And you know what? I’m doing that today and I see and feel a difference.
My little toddler started having a tantrum this morning. I tried to help him figure out what he wanted, but he was beyond comforting. He was worked up into such a state where he was just wandering around screaming.
So I went with my gut feeling. He was totally disorganized and so I just grabbed him, took him onto my bed, held him tight, looked into his eyes and didn’t let go.
I don’t always respond like this to a tantrum, but I just felt it was what I needed to do.
I whispered to him that he was safe, that I loved him, that I could see he was so angry.
Well, sure enough, after a little bit his screams turned to sobs. Then he calmed and settled, nuzzled into my chest, gazed into my eyes and rested. Pretty soon he began babbling, giggling and playing with me. He snuggled awhile longer, then headed off to play.
Later this afternoon Jude was playing with a friend and they began to fight over a toy. Ezzy ran up and told me that Jude had squeezed his friend’s neck.
Of course this highly distressed me. I told his friend I was so sorry that happened, made sure he was ok and asked if he wanted to go home. He wanted to keep playing.
Jude, on the other hand, was still mad and saying angry things about his friend. I took Jude into the other room and told him we needed to talk about it.
“Just go away!” he said angrily. I told him I would give him some time to calm down and then we would talk.
“Who do you want to have a sleepover with?”
He named some different friends.
“Are you thinking about the other friends you have? Does it make you feel better to think about them?”
He nodded. But he still wasn’t quite ready to talk about what happened. He continued to speak angrily about his friend that was over. I kept giving him space, waiting for him to calm down.
“Let’s just read a story,” he said grumpily.
“O.k.” I agreed.
I got a book out and we decided that we would read the story, then talk about what happened and then eat some pudding.
And that’s exactly what we did.
After the story we talked about how to solve problems. It’s not by hurting people, but by using words and talking about how we feel. He can tell his friend, “Please don’t take my toy, I’m using it.” He can even say it in a strong voice.
We also discussed that sometimes when friends play for a very long time together, they need a break. It’s ok if you need a break, but you still have to be kind.
Jude was able to talk about all of this with me in a very calm, open manner. He was really engaged and receiving it.
He ran outside and told his friend he was sorry. Then he invited him in to eat some pudding together.
At this moment as I type Jude is playing happily by himself in his own room while his friend, Ezra and Koa are playing outside. It’s quiet, it’s happy. Everyone is engaged in active play.
I would say that’s the definition of peace for this home. For this moment, at least. Until the next crisis.
But when that happens, I understand I need to meet it with an open heart, maintaining peace.
“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. For the Scriptures say,‘If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.’”
~ 1 Peter 3: 8-11
What about you? How do you find peace in your home? What do you think it means to search for peace and maintain it? I would love to hear from you!