Wave The White Flag: Let Peace In

Wave The White Flag: Let Peace In

Stop asking for what you already own.
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Life is a constant search. Human nature has an uncanny desire to chase and look for what we lack. We long for adventure, we long for love, we long for knowledge, and we long for well-being. No different than any other human, I, too want for so much in my life, and sometimes catch myself wanting for more than I need. I have noticed that my spirit searches for one certain ideal with much more awareness and attraction than it does for any other.

I long for peace. I want peace in my relationships. I want peace within my schoolwork and my extracurricular activities. I want peace with the decisions I am making and with the decisions that are made for me. I am always searching and praying to stumble upon peace. And, why wouldn’t I want it? It is such a beautiful, simple idea.

Google defines peace as freedom from disturbance and goes on to define disturbance as the interruption of a settled and peaceful condition. It is liberty from regret, second guesses, guilt, and wonder. It is the comfort of accepting situations as they are and knowing that my misconstrued plan is insignificant in terms of the master plan that is laid out ahead of me.

So I long for it and pray for this glorious state of being. Through every storm and for every anxiety, I pray that God washes over me a wave of total serenity. Again, my human nature interferes and I, thinking my time is more precious than God’s, take matters into my own hands when peace doesn’t arrive as fast as I hoped. That my friends is a huge burden to carry.

It takes a lot of extra energy to attempt to smooth out every bump in the road, and, even more, energy to console yourself when you inevitably fail. It was in the midst of one of these failures that I finally got it; I felt it wash over me like a physical rain.

I realize that peace isn’t something you can just run to the grocery store and grab off the shelf. You don’t get to try it out for size and see what fits your situation best. Peace isn’t something you can force or magically receive. You can’t look for it or work for it. It is something you have to accept. You simply have to live in it. It is a choice. You must will yourself to handle everything to the best of your ability and be faithful enough to accept the outcome. It is easy to fill the empty spaces of our minds with worry, and we have to take the initiative to ring those thoughts back in.

In the middle of fall semester, my mom gave me a tiny bracelet with the small word “peace” inscribe on its silver plate. When she gave it to me her words were: “I pray and hope that this is something you find in the coming months.”

What that bracelet really helped me do is to realize that I had the peace all along, I just wasn’t letting it in. I was fighting a battle that I now realize I needed to lose. So give in. Wave the white flag. Let yourself embrace the freedom to choose how you view and respond to what life throws your way, and chose to be peaceful. To be content and thankful.

Trust Romans 8:18, in that there is no comparison of the present hard times to the coming good ones. Save your longing for gifts that haven’t already been granted to you by the prince of peace Himself.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT_3_1OH-Gw

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Dear America, We Can Step Forward As A Country If We Stop Believing That Only One Belief Is Valid

It's time to promote unity and emphasize our commonalities because only through unity can we step forward as a country.

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Dear America,

2018 was a year of political strife and conflict. The left and the right fought constantly. Republicans and Democrats blamed each other for the tiniest mistakes, and there were only a small number of successful bipartisan deals. Politicians and citizens alike seemed more concerned with sticking to party platforms, even ones they truly didn't believe in, rather than compromising with the other side to improve our society.Yet all this name-calling and hatred — what does it do in the end? What does it accomplish?

We've only seen an increased polarization of American politics and an expanded hostility towards "the other side." We don't consider the well-being of each and every person in America and the bettering of our society, or the building of a stronger world for our children and grandchildren.

We spend so much time insulting each other's political beliefs that we forget probably the most important fact that links us all together: We are all human. We all share the same basic needs, the same struggles, the same moments of happiness and sadness.

And yet we are willing to put our similarities aside and only focus on our differences. We are willing to thrust ourselves into the deep anger and loathing that comes in attacking those different from us. We are willing to parry insults behind the safety of a phone screen and forget all about what makes us alike. And we are willing to gloss over the fact that we have more similarities than differences.

SEE ALSO: Dear Trump, Thanks For Transforming Me Into A Responsible, Educated Citizen

Yes, political beliefs make a person. Political beliefs define the values, ideas and thoughts of a person. But sometimes, we have to reach over those beliefs, as hard as that may be, and focus on the bigger picture at hand. What will insulting someone because of those beliefs do? It definitely won't change their views or make them see things from your point of view.

It's sad and frustrating that this endless fighting doesn't even occur between two countries or two governments or two nation-states. Instead, we see arguments and strife between two family members, two neighbors or even two strangers, all living in the same community and under the same government, all sharing more similarities than differences.

We need to stop focusing so much on singular ideas. We need to stop believing in the close-minded idea that only one thought is the best thought. And instead of wasting energy trying to change other's opinions, we need to use that energy and time to promote unity and emphasize our commonalities.

These past few years have truly divided America. Let's make 2019 a year of unity, because only through unity can we step forward as a country.

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