John 14:27 New International Version (NIV)
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
I know… I know… everyone is currently rolling their eyes saying “live in peace with my ex?? You haven’t met my ex”! Haha – you’re right I haven’t! But God has and guess what?He loves your ex the same as He loves you!
It is so, so important that we learn to live in peace. We don’t have to create our own peace – we have God’s peace! Refer back to John 14:27 – Jesus left His peace here for us. How awesome is that?? Peace is here, we don’t have to create it. We just have to open the word and find it!
Finding peace in the word of God is actually much easier than we make it. Peace is literally everywhere – God is peace, He is also omnipresent – therefore, we are surrounded by peace. However, the enemy loves to distract us with barriers that keep us from experiencing the peace that Christ intended for each of us.
I’m pretty sure society has created an idea that living in peace with your ex-spouse is paradoxical. Funny how SOCIETY so often creates the “norm” for everything. We (including myself) follow feelings that aren’t even there because society teaches us that’s how we “should” feel. Have you ever looked around in a situation and wondered why you didn’t really feel the way people around you do or how others think you should feel?
I remember a conversation with my Dad years ago regarding the loss of someone in his childhood. He recalled looking around and seeing everyone crying and sad but he didn’t feel that way on the inside. He wondered if there was something wrong with him or if he was missing something because he didn’t feel the same way that everyone thought he should. Well-meaning adults were depicting feelings onto him and he eventually played along outwardly because he thought that is how he should have felt. Society said he should be completely devastated, he should be in mourning. But the little boy in him really just wanted to rush on over to the baseball field and hit some balls with his buddies. Part of that is truly because his child-like mind wasn’t able to comprehend forever – forever gone or forever here – forever isn’t really something most adults can process much less a pre-adolescent. But part of that was truly because he was not feeling the same emotions that society projects onto children that lose a loved one.
We can not allow society to define the “norm” of our relationships based on the title of the person. If it were socially acceptable – I believe we would see many more blended families and exes interacting together for the best interest of their children. Why are we conforming to society? Why are we allowing society to define how we interact, when we should be annoyed, when we should be worried, and who we should be compared to? Why do people think my husband and I are crazy when we tell them we took our children to dinner with my ex-husband and his wife? Why do people seem so confused when I call my ex-husbands wife a friend of mine? Because society and the enemy tell us that’s strange, we should be angry at our ex. How many times have you had others make a derogatory statement about their ex? Probably more than you’ve heard someone defend their ex…
When we are not living in the peace God intended for us, we stay distracted by every little thing that passes by. We shouldn’t be so distracted by the title ex-husband that we lose our peace and are unable to focus on the task at hand.
Example…. (because I love sharing how mean my flesh is – haha!)
Rewind to Summer 2011 – my daughter was 7 years old and had just finished her softball season. We were celebrating the end of the season with our team at the bowling alley. As all coaches do these days, her coach had purchased a trophy for each player to receive. The awards are given and my daughter walks back to her seat waving her trophy with a BIG smile. She was so proud! But for me the anxiety increased the moment she turned to walk back towards us with that trophy in her hand. WHO WAS GONNA TAKE THAT TROPHY HOME?
“I keep all of her keepsakes.”
“He’s only doing that to mess with me.”
“I have a place on her dresser for that trophy.”
“What could he possibly want with that trophy?”
“I’m taking that trophy to my house – I want to have it with me”
Oh y’all – the thoughts that creep in my head as distractions are unreal! I remember this story vividly. I can almost feel my heart racing as I’m typing it out. Not because I feel the same but because I’m so mad that the enemy was able to STEAL so much peace from me before I caught it!!!
Back to the story – Immediately, I recognize that my daughters dad is wanting that trophy too! There were no words exchanged but the looks that were passed said far more than our words could have. In just mere seconds and one moment of joy for our daughter, we had created turmoil over nothing. Was it something? Yes, it was a trophy. But it was nothing because it didn’t belong to either of us. It was HERS. She practiced, she played, and she earned it. The coach bought it for HER. And to be honest, both houses were her house so no matter which house it went to it still belonged to HER.
I thank God that my husband spoke up! I mentioned to him that I was a little frustrated because I thought my daughter would take the trophy to her dads with her when they left (it was his weekend so she would leave with him). He looked at me almost cross-eyed and said “do you really care whose house the trophy goes to, doesn’t it belong to her?” Against my better judgement, I proceeded to rationalize to him why I wanted the trophy to come to our house. He looked at me and said – “what would you think about me if I wanted one of my children’s trophies?” He then reminded me that I get all of her school work and artwork daily as she comes in from school… how often had I shared any of that with him, and why was I entitled to any of that any more than he was??
My husband just took sides with my ex?? Seriously? But, he was right… it was a trophy! One that is likely going to sit and collect dust for about ten years before being boxed up and stuck in an attic until she gets married and decides to throw it away!
But do you see how something so tiny and frivolous can be built up into a mountain if we let satan run wild with our thoughts?? See how just the fact that he is my ex-husband automatically changed his motives in my mind? Do you know how many of my girlfriends I could’ve called and their response would have been “what a jerk!” as they fueled the fire.
PEACE. Peace in ALL things. Peace EVERYWHERE. Peace, especially in those places that there is apprehensions – find the peace that God gave us and walk in it. Look for a way or call out to God to help you find peace in every part of your interactions with your ex!
Could the motives and thoughts I projected on him be right? Absolutely, they could be, but they are just as likely to be wrong. But to choose to live out that turmoil and ride the crazy-train that goes along with it would be choosing to neglect the precious gifts of peace and joy that our Heavenly Father gave to us!
Years later, I am much, much better at recognizing these distractions BUT I still need God every single day to renew my mind and fill my heart so that I can see these insignificant troubles for what they are worth. Our flesh will always need earthly vindication if we do not humble ourselves before Christ. I still have to wait before I respond so I can take time to align my thoughts with God’s Word. I actually have Yahweh Shalom tattooed on my wrist as a reminder – IN ALL SITUATIONS – God called me to live in peace… Trust Him… and lean on my Faith where I have fleshly needs for vindication…..