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Psalm 46

Peace amid Chaos

"Peace is not the absence of conflict. It is finding joy and calm in the midst of conflict." There are many variations on this quote -- so many, in fact, I had a hard time settling on who said it first. But the sentiment is solid. Storms, chaos, and conflict are inevitable. Peace comes when we find a solid center, when we ground ourselves in our values, and when we hold tight to the hand of God. Peace is finding balance even when everything else around us is falling apart.

I have developed a number of coping mechanisms to ground me and keep me focused and calm. One is daily meditation. One is deep breathing. One is eating well and getting enough sleep. One is talking about what's eating me.

One of my favorite tools is what I call my "bubble." This works especially well when I am in a situation where emotions are running high and the possibility of panic is all too near. I imagine I am in a giant bubble. All the positive energy that lives in my body also fills the bubble. But the negative energy that threatens to suffocate me cannot penetrate the bubble. Air and light can come and go, but the emotions, chaos, and negativity of others cannot. My bubble begins wrapped closely like a second skin. I then imagine it expands so I could reach out in any direction and not quite touch its surface. I let it grow as large as it needs to grow to surround me with positive energy, healing, and light. I can see and hear all that's going on around me, but the impact of the negative energy cannot touch me. Inside my bubble I have space and clarity to take in what's going on without being swept away by it. I can think clearly and process the events. I can make grounded, informed decisions. I can stay positive even if everyone around me is not. My bubble helps me find peace in the midst of chaos.

You might say God is the light, air, and positive energy inside my bubble. Despite the turmoil surrounding me, the presence of God keeps me peaceful and joyful. I don't need to fear the chaos because I know I don't need to be swept up and carried away by it. God can give strength, peace, calm, power, light, and breath in any situation.

Narrative Lectionary Text: Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
   a very present help in trouble. 
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
   though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 
though its waters roar and foam,
   though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
   the holy habitation of the Most High. 
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
   God will help it when the morning dawns. 
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
   he utters his voice, the earth melts. 
The Lord of hosts is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Come, behold the works of the Lord;
   see what desolations he has brought on the earth. 
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
   he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
   he burns the shields with fire. 
‘Be still, and know that I am God!
   I am exalted among the nations,
   I am exalted in the earth.’ 
The Lord of hosts is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Earlier Event: June 27
Psalm 16
Later Event: June 29
Psalm 52