Finding peace is not a new topic on my blog. I’m striving for it in my life and I try to expose that on this space so anyone out there also struggling can, perhaps, learn something. I had a very deep experience recently and I just knew I had to share it.
Like most of us, I feel a certain level of guilt when I don’t accomplish “enough” in any given day. I never feel like, no matter how much I have achieved, that I can STOP. Especially since I quit my office job and started working my own businesses. I can never stop thinking, “How am I contributing?” “Did I make enough this month?” “Maybe I should have skipped lunch today or gotten up earlier, or worked the weekend.” It just goes on and on. The list is never-ending. And I keep going until something causes me to break.
My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. ~ Psalm 38:4
Last week, I had a couple of self-esteem blows in addition to the normal list of “guilts.” And I let a few moments go by and didn’t use each second to the best of my abilities so I felt guilt. Every SECOND wasn’t used properly? *GASP!*
BUT the weather was BEAUTIFUL and I had spent too much time cooped up over the winter to let it pass by so I suggested to my beloved that he skip the gym and we take the kayaks for a spin on the lake. He readily agreed. We left chores, guilt, and to-do lists in our dust.
Once we got the kayaks on the lake, however, I quickly noticed that just pushing off into the water was not enough to relax my overactive mind. We paddled over to a section of the lake where some Bald Eagles have set up a nest. (We did get a glimpse of the majestic bird as he was fishing for some food.) As soon as I saw the bird, it was like a checklist clicked on my brain. *Saw the bird. CHECK! Moving on!*
I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.
So I say, “My splendor is gone
and all that I had hoped from the Lord.” ~ Lamentations 3: 17-18
Even on the lake, where there is little to do EXCEPT relax, my mind kept churning. I tried to make conversation with my husband (because silence is apparently a sin in my head), I sought out other wildlife and I paddled all over that stupid lake. And then the guilt started to kick in: What SHOULD I be doing instead of lounging away on the lake?
A few weeks ago someone in Sunday school made this comment: What part does guilt play in hindering my peace?
SHEESH. A lot at this point. I couldn’t even relax in the serene beauty of God’s creation! He basically put me out on a boat in the middle of a lake and I STILL couldn’t find the peace He was handing to me on a silver platter! I made a commitment in that moment to just BE and find peace… even if it killed me.
So I sat back in my kayak, felt the sway, heard the lap of the water on the stern and even let my eyes close for the briefest moment. After a few moments I heard, “Hey! Are you awake over there. You don’t have your vest on!” His concern was valid. Weeks of stress and self-imposed guilt dissipated as I drifted along, lulled finally into the peace that I had sought so desperately.
But I didn’t fall asleep. I cried.
Giant sobs came and big, wet tears fell down my face. (I think I may have scared my husband, but in the end – he understood.) And as the solitude claimed me, it pushed every guilt-ridden, negative, unhealthy thought out of my mind. I released it all into the lake.
When we left the lake soon after, it was too soon, but I determined to come back soon (because I THINK my peace might be in the center of that lake.) So here I sit again today (but not in my kayak), writing this post. But now that this post is written, I’m going to shut my brain off, put down this pen and just feel the breeze coming off the lake and hear my own heart beat.
Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. ~ Proverbs 3:17