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Finding peace: Pick a word, any word, but not that one

January 18, 2019 Karianne 4 min read No Comments

I’m now a firm believer that an excessive amount of irony comes pre-embedded in every decision. Even one as simple as choosing a word to focus on for the year.

In the past I chose patience, or courage, or perseverance. And each year I was given opportunities to practice the attribute. The year I asked for patience I was asked to help take care of my two year old cousin. When I asked for courage my faith was challenged by friends and family. The year I asked for perseverance? That was 2016. We don’t talk about 2016...

2018 was a dream (compared to the previous 26 years). The most drama that came in those 365 days was from burning expectations. “Overcome fears” was the attribute I chose last January, and I—the person who’s afraid of flying—went on several flights, and learned to let go yet keep going when the opposite of what I thought would happen happens. Relatively easy peasy.

Filled with confidence, it took me a whole 10 seconds to pick an attribute for 2019. Peace, I said, then wrote it on my calendar and went away skipping.

My life has calmed down, I thought.

Nothing could go wrong that hasn’t gone wrong before, I said.

Like waves slapping the side of a boat, my resolve was immediately tested.

January 4th I lost my 4.0 in college because I got a 85% (B) in my first animation class. The instructor said it’s almost impossible to get an A in the class without prior animation experience…

But it’s over and I’m over it. I’m FINE. Can’t you tell?

That same weekend I found a great opportunity to move out of my grandmother’s extra bedroom and into my own space. I get two small rooms, a garage, no pet fee, and an awesome roomie for less than the cost of the studio apartments I looked at.

But this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity comes with a major con: moving.

For most of my life I’ve lived in the same neighborhood, except when I traveled between my mom’s house in the city and my dad’s farm on the Colorado plains every other weekend. (#divorcedparents) My grandmother’s home is just down the road from my mom. So moving anywhere beyond a 9 block radius feels like a whole new world.

Everyone I shared my fear of moving with laughed. They’ve moved between states, some even countries. The place I’m moving to? “It’s still the same county,” they pointed out.


Even though I feel like a stick being dragged through thick mud, I’m going through with it because this move will be pretty great!I think.

Since making the decision I’ve been gathering large random boxes, measuring everything, and trying not to fall behind with homework for my new classes. Then, January 14th I got a notice that my credit card was stolen. Thankfully, Discover is awesome and they declined the payment immediately, locked that account, and overnighted my new card. No big deal.

But, I had just made payments on my stupid Urgent Care visit on that card, and I still don’t know if that went through or if I’ll miss the 0-60 day payment window. After 60 days they charge an additional service fee because they…want to?

Moving. Finances. School. Bills. And NOW my car leaks a river of coolant everywhere I go and will cost $1800 to fix the “timing cover and intake manifold.” AH!

Life has me emotionally curled up in the fetal position in a corner clinging to my presumptuous word. Peace. Peace. Peace. Peeeeace. (Just like Shifu from Kung Fu Panda.)

This isn’t what I had in mind.

Remember that thing I said about irony? Well, the devotional for the day read:

Welcome challenging times as opportunities to trust me. You have Me beside you and My Spirit within you, so no set of circumstances is too much for you to handle…

Can you believe that? Of all the times to stumble upon that text it came while I’m struggling to tread water. It continues:

The way to walk through demanding days is to grip my hand tightly and stay in close communication with Me…I can keep you in perfect Peace as you stay close to Me.

Sarah Young, Jesus Calling – 50 devotions for encouragement

“Great,” I said and threw back my head in frustration. God. I don’t think I can pray. I don’t think I can even breathe. But led by the Spirit and Google search I sorted through several unhelpful “what to pray when you don’t know what to pray” articles and finally found this one.

Not that I like summarizing blog posts down to one sentence—*ahem*—but it basically says:

Sometimes our best prayers are simply to close our eyes and breathe

Now that…that actually sounds do-able right now. It’s not like sleeping, but rather, actively soaking up God’s presence and letting my spirit reverberate to His.

I’m glad I don’t have to know what to say, and that there’s no magic word I have to chant to feel okay.

Instead I just have to keep swimming with a firm grasp on my swimming buddy. No matter what challenges are weighing on you, remember, you have floaties and you are not alone.

But it sure would be nice if I was a better swimmer…

Meet the author
Founder - Art Director - Animator | Website

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Karianne is the founder of Windmill Ways. She plays the cello professionally and currently works as an Art Director for a charity. Because she loves animated shows and movies, she studies 3D animation and graduated with a BFA with the unfortunate class of 2020. Her dream vacation would be just staying home, but "home" being a glamorous cabin somewhere in the mountains surrounded by forest.

Favorite band: Lord Huron
Favorite book: This Present Darkness
Favorite quote: "Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail." Proverbs 19:20-21 (NLT)

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