Telling someone to relax never works.
We have all done it, someone is distressed and we feel the need to do or say something. This advice isn’t ineffective because it’s wrong, it’s ineffective because the desired state can’t be bestowed by another person, it must come about from within.
Walking the streets of Montréal this past summer, I was struck by the amount of partially completed buildings. One gentleman I spoke with said the reason for this is because of some loopholes in contracts where developers automatically get paid a certain amount when they finish at least 75% of a project. Now, I’m not sure if this is true, but I hung on this metaphor for a long time. These buildings, strewn about the city with exposed beams and abandoned scaffolding, became reminders of how I was feeling mostly in a good place, but somewhat incomplete and vulnerable.
The main grace I sought at this time was inner peace. The peace I’ve observed in people who seem to encounter hardships and handle them with quiet confidence. Not only is their foundation strong, but they seem to be weather proofed and solid.
This year I’ve spent a lot more time in prayer, letting God know my desire for this peace. I’m not sure I have it completely but I have found many role models and I’ve seen little signs everywhere. It’s been heartening that less people have told me to relax and even if I have an emotional response to something, it’s often from a place of strength, not devoid of vulnerability, but not as defensive.
The true test for my inner peace is how it endures changing circumstances. Regardless of how complete I might feel, I know I’ll always need help and guidance from my Creator, who has given me everything I need to build a full life.