Saturday, October 17, 2009

Holding the Line

By Belinda (Meg has not been able to post today, so I am posting Sunday's post early. Perhaps, God needed this message to be here for someone today. Blessings friends.)

Hold the line
"To maintain the existing position or state of affairs"

I leaned over Paul, who sat in the window seat, and strained to see what he was pointing out to me--the C.N. Tower and Lake Ontario, then the streets with which we are so familiar. In other words: "home."

It was a beautiful, bracingly crisp and sunny, when we flew into Toronto this past Tuesday afternoon. The sky was a cloudless, deep blue, and below us we could see that we had not missed the brilliant fall colours, as the tree tops blazed red, orange and gold. It had been so good to be totally relaxed and luxuriate in family and friend time in England, but now it felt wonderful to be back home.

We both had work the next day, and I was up early, still running on British time. It was a good thing, because when I clicked on my automatic car starter, intending to give it time to defrost the windows, there was a scary squealing sound and smoke issued from beneath the hood. I opened the driver's side door and lo, smoke was streaming in from every opening on the dashboard. "Turn it off!" shouted Paul, in dismay, "It might catch fire next." Oh, and one of the rear tires was flat.

So began my first day back, but, I was only momentarily panicked and Paul and I, a tow truck driver and our Honda dealership, worked out how to navigate the next couple of days and I am now back on wheels.

At work, the pace picked up immediately I hit the ground, and I felt something I hadn't felt for a while; an intensity that I knew I needed to push back against.

I decided that, not just for my own sake, but also for the sake of the team of wonderful leaders that I lead, I needed to hold tight to peace, to fight for it if necessary. And that's what it felt like--a literal battle, to "hold the line," a term I think of as military. I realize that I am limited in what I can control environmentally, but I can work on my inner environment--my spirit and soul.

A devotion book that is feeding my soul of late, Peter Scazzero's The Daily Office, expressed my battle perfectly and I found myself underlining and circling several phrases (page 103:)

When we are busier than God requires, we do violence to ourselves:

"There is a pervasive from of contemporary violence...activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyyone in everything, is to succumb to violence...It kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful." Thomas Merton

The sections I underlined were:
To allow oneself; to surrender; to commit oneself; to succumb

All personal choices.

I choose peace. I choose to resist the violence that presses in from outside. I want those I work and play and live with to experience peace when they are in my presence. I want them to sense the Presence of God.

By God's grace, I am holding the line.

Psalm 63:7 (New Living Translation)
7 Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.


mercygraceword said...


Bingo. That's all I can say.


P.S. Did you buy the book recently? Amazon reflects it is out of print.
Have you read his other books? (Although the last thing I need is more books - seems like I'm living in Catch-22 :o) )

Belinda said...

Dear Deborah,
Yes, we just finished studying another of Peter's books, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, with our cell group. It was a very healing process for the group as individually many of us had buried the past alive and needed to look at it before we could be fully free to move on. I highly recommend his work, and his website which can be found by Googling Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.

Belinda said...

Sorry Deborah, I didn't answer the question at the beginning. We ordered the books through Peter's website I believe and it was a few months ago.

Marilyn said...

This is excellent, Belinda! Thank you for the quotes. The word 'violence' says it so well. We tend not to think in such strong (but accurate) terms.

It's interesting how a number of avid bloggers are writing on a similar theme, without knowing they would. Hmmmm..... Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience spent this whole week that followed your Thanksgiving blogging about slowing down and I recommend her postings this past week (Tues - today) to everyone seeking to cease the craziness and step into the peace.

Belinda said...

Thank you Marilyn,
I will enjoy visiting A Holy Experience to catch up. I love Ann's writing and heart.

Susan said...

"HE is our peace."
"He IS our peace."
"He is OUR peace."
"He is our PEACE."

Whichever way you emphasize these words from Ephesians 2:14, it's still all about him. The more I practice the Daily Office, the easier it has become to enter and then to stay in His presence - no matter what might be going on around me. Where he is, there is peace. When I slip out of his presence, the peace goes with him. :) I don't have to choose to practice peace, I just have to choose to be with Him.

I loved this post, but mostly I love the fruit that is falling off your vine of late... :)

Joanna Mallory said...

Belinda, when I started reading your quote I assumed it was recently-written. It reflects our culture so well. Thomas Merton's day looks quiet in hindsight, unless I'm thinking of someone else.

It's a very apt quote and I agree with Marilyn that the word "violence" is surprising but true.

Susan, thanks for sharing that simple quote with the emphasis in each spot. Short and simple I should be able to remember.