|Posted by charismata on February 13, 2010 at 3:32 PM|
In acceptance there is peace
This was always one of my very favorite phrases. I had heard one of my Christian mentors say it on the radio when I returned to the Church and it resonated with me because at that time my life was anything but peaceful. So, when my world was rocked, when things didn’t go my way, when I was treated badly, I would repeat this phrase like a mantra to myself.
In acceptance there is peace.
It helped me to swallow a lot of grief, pain, terror and shame. I thought I was being a good Christian and applying a spiritual principle that would help me to cope with some of the chaos that was swirling around me at the time. What I found out though, was that this phrase must be applied correctly or it can truly do some harm. The key word in the phrase: acceptance is very often misused and misapplied. It can be used a crutch or a cover-up. Here’s what I mean.
Acceptance does not mean resignation. In other words acceptance does not dictate that you should resign yourself to a bad or brutal situation. It doesn’t mean that you allow or make excuses for abuse or mistreatment. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you skim the surface of your life thereby avoiding deep feelings or difficult situations. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you look the other way when the house is on fire or when you or someone else is falling off a cliff.
Acceptance means that you evaluate a person, situation or experience accurately…as it TRULY is, acknowledge that and respond appropriately.
I want to repeat that:
Acceptance means that you evaluate a person, situation or experience accurately…as it TRULY is, acknowledge that and respond appropriately. Acceptance requires that you make a judgment. You use your intellect and your will to make a determination. You stand back, observe, feel, experience, and ponder. Then you act.
For many years, I was not able to get out of the abusive and self-defeating relationships and patterns of behaving that I seemed hopelessly locked into until I observed and absorbed what was REALLY happening in my life and my interactions with others. What I found when I was finally able to face what was going on was startling and inspiring at the same time. The temptation to retreat back in shame and horror was strong but I had to face the music of my own soul. It was calling me to freedom and I had to follow.
A lot of energy, attention and drama go into denial. Denial never leads to peace… just more confusion and entanglement. In my case, it led to an overwhelming, crippling and disfiguring fear in my spirit. I say disfiguring because it was a fear that so damaged my interior relationship with myself that my whole way of looking at the world outside became distorted. I tried desperately to hold onto my Self… but she kept slipping away until finally one day I woke up, and she was gone. (There’s more on that, later.)
Diversion and deflection from an interior honesty can become habitual. In most cases, we learn it from a very early age. The result is that we continually and insidiously deny our own TRUTH; we abdicate our very selves for the sake of someone else. The trouble is… this is NOT the kind of “lying down of one’s life” that Jesus talked about, nor is it very Christian. It is self-hatred in a holy suit.
Now that “someone else” that we are “laying down” for can be the person that happens to be in the room with us at the time or it can be someone from our past, usually a parent, who we are still trying to please or bond with way after the fact. In either case, we are living out an impossibility, we are walking in a fantasy, and we are lying to ourselves.
God, in His infinite mercy, won’t leave us alone in this state. Because He is Truth, Itself, He is the way to a life of peace. I mentioned before that I was once crippled by fear. To say it more accurately, I was crippled by the denial of the fear I felt every day of my life until one day I could deny it no longer. It came crashing through with the fierceness and force of a raging tsunami and it overtook me.
For the period of about two months, I was completely shattered by the weight of a lifetime of pain and fear, most of which I had tried to deny. The truth of my life was ugly and the wounds had gone on festering and unhealed for far too long. I had “accepted” the unacceptable. I had buried a truth that was too painful to even look at in the light of day.
Yet I can say in complete honesty that I was fortunate. I was blessed that I had finally reached a point and found a place in my life that was safe enough to observe, feel, experience, and ponder that truth. I believe that only God could have brought me there.
And by accepting that truth, He set me free. And He can do the same for you. He infused me with a life-giving courage and transformed me from the inside out. He took away my fear and He showed me that beyond all shadow of a doubt that in true acceptance there is always, always His peace.
My prayer is that He brings you to that place of mercy and grace, as well.