I have one really firm rule in my house: only one person can cry at a time.
We have a few caveats.
Number One: If someone is already crying, you can’t add in your four choruses of the sob serenade until the first cryer is finished.
Number Two: The youngest cryer gets precedence, so if you are crying and someone younger than you begins to cry, you just have to dry up until the baby stops crying, at which time you may resume.
Number Three: It’s all hands on deck to help the youngest stop crying.
Believe it or not, this actually kind of works. Until it doesn’t. I instituted this rule years ago because I was DYING for peace in my home. We had four kids under four, which means so much poop and crying.
Unfortunately the key to peace isn’t just keeping the volume and stink at bay, though I wish it were that simple. It’s easier for me to work on the behavior of my children or the condition of my home than to look at the state of my own heart.
Do you ever find yourself sitting cross-legged on the floor of your life, looking around at all the screaming pieces and groaning, “I just want peace”? I do this all the time.
It’s hard for me to admit my version of peace isn’t actually real peace. My version of peace is everything under control, my control—books alphabetized and noses wiped. True peace is a soul rightly aligned with the way of Christ.
But, goodness, alignment of my soul to Christ sounds pretty heady for a girl who is typing one-handed while nursing a baby who is triumphantly filling his diaper. I don’t know a lot about peace or alignment. Thankfully, we have God’s Word to consult on the subject! James says, “a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:18 ESV). That sounds SO GOOD! I want to sow seeds of peace and reap giant peace gourds and watermelons! I want to arrive at harvest time to a whole heap of peace.
I think James is saying that our daily, quiet acts of peace—listening to someone who is super needy, emptying the dishwasher when it’s not our turn, letting someone else win—gently nudge our souls into alignment with the peace of Christ.
And then, when our little boats are sailing in the wake of His ship, we see how wayward and wobbly our course is, how imperfectly and poorly we make peace. But we also see how great is the wake of Christ. It hems in our feeble steering. The closer we draw to Him, the more we see that peace is not something we make. Rather, Christ’s peace He gives to us, not as the world gives it.
Today—when you wrangle your loud baby-blessing, when you can’t see over the pile of bills, or when your friends don’t make any sense—let your strivings fall away and breathe in the peace of Christ, because He promises, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”