So earlier this year, Pastor Trevor asked us to pick a Fruit of the Spirit to focus on and grow in. His reasoning being that we should be maturing in Christ and the focus would help us see the change in ourselves. I chose peace. And am still choosing peace.
God, much like your boss when you tell him you want more responsibility, likes to give you what you ask for. So when I was praying to become a more peaceful person, He was listening (and probably laughing) and saying, “Okay, so we’re doing this.”
This year my personal life has been incredibly tumultuous. And we’re only six months in. What the heck?! I don’t think I have ever had more opportunities to be the She-Hulk we all know I want to be. I have never wanted more to grow three times my normal height, turn green and muscular, and start punching buildings and throwing cars. HULK SMASH!
People are hard. And I know it’s a heart issue because love covers a multitude of wrongs. But really, people are hard to deal with. (Especially when you can’t smash them!)
Passion City Church in Atlanta, GA has a women’s ministry called The Grove. One of their core values, which has always spoke to me, is Shade, which they define as “unexpected, preemptive, no-strings-attached support” to those in their path. I’ve discovered that my journey of being peaceful has less to do with my own emotions or stability of life, and more to do with what I offer others.
Let’s break that down a little. Colossians 3:12 tell us, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (ESV). What we are saying then, is that as a result of who I am in Christ — chosen, holy, and loved — I am to wear these attributes like an article of clothing (think back to our Gideon study, when God wore Gideon like a glove). Compassion is that unexpected part of Shade. It is seeing the need without being told. Kindness is preemptive. Kindness helps without question, as soon as possible. Humility, meekness, and patience are all part of the no-strings-attached support. Humility reminds me that I am not the center of the universe. Meekness remembers that the other person is valuable and it is important to give them my time. Patience keeps me going back even when it gets frustrating.
Think of the coziest blanket you own. A little over a year ago, for Valentine’s Day, my now-husband gave me a terrible gift (or so I thought at the time). It was a soft blanket with a pocket for your feet to slide into. It wasn’t romantic. At the time it felt like a gift you’d give your ailing grandmother. But I am always freezing and have used that blanket every day of my life since I opened it. It now ranks among the best gifts I have ever received because of all the comfort and warmth it’s brought me.
That’s what peace is to me: comfort, warmth, and a constant reminder that I am loved.
We, as Christians, have a responsibility to offer that to those we encounter. Going back to The Grove’s definition of Shade, offering people unexpected, preemptive, no-strings-attached support is offering them the Peace of Christ which should rule in our hearts and overcome any preexisting emotional filter (Col 3:15, NIV). We should be spiritual and emotional blanket-givers, offering comfort, warmth, and love to everyone. My office, my living room couch, my table at Starbucks should all be pockets of peace, where everyone who comes into my bubble feels that no-strings-attached support.
People are hard, but if I am putting on peace, then how I respond to them is going to be a lot less She-Hulk and a lot more Shade.
At the WELL, we desire to be a community of women who live out our potential and purpose in Christ, lead where God has placed us, and encourage others to do the same.
Learn more about our ministry and events on our main page.