I’ve been thinking a lot about temperature. Could be because this winter in Ohio has been unlike any one before. One day my girls are asking to go to school in shorts because it’s seventy degrees and the next Addilyn is playing a soccer scrimmage in the snow! The constantly changing weather drives me and my sinus cavity crazy. Never knowing what to expect when I wake up inevitably leads to disappointment when I walk outside, under prepared or over prepared! Hard to know what to do when you don’t know what to expect.
The past six months I’ve also been paying close attention to my internal temperature. As the pace of life around me slowed down, I have been able to settle into doing just a few things with a whole hearted mentality. The change in pace showed me something about myself. This may not be true about you, but when my schedule is too full, my internal temperature seems to struggle.With too much on my plate, I fight to be the wife I dreamed I be. I wrestle with being the mom I enjoy being. When I’m spread myself to thin my relationships suffer a bit, my ministry, my house and ultimately my enjoyment of the moment to moment life around unfolding around me. But with a steady, consistent temperature within me because of a slower pace around me, I am more of the person I like being.
The chaos around us doesn’t have to dictate the temperature within us. It will, if we allow it, but it doesn’t have to. As a church we’ve been studying how the secrets always seems to be the secret place. We’ve taken time to examine the presence of Jesus, the life of the disciples, and some other Scripture greats. One thing always stands out when we look at the life-changing accomplishments of those in our Bibles; their deep connection with the Father. The secret is the secret place. Because of an intimate connection with the Creator they were able to live set apart instead of controlled, influenced or impacted by the culture around them and even when the pace of life seemed to demand more – they remained steady. Their steadiness is a reflection of their secret place. From that place, in spite of what was happening around them, their choices were made based on the Spirit within them.
Time in the secret place with the Father governs our thermostat. He is a steady, consistent temperature. It’s why I’ve noticed a difference. With less on my plate, I have more time with Him and more energy to recognize Him. Jesus never reacted to the different scenarios unfolding around Him. Rather, He responded in a way that seemed to raise the temperature of every room He entered. The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. It was used often as both a greeting and farewell term of endearment. Peace is the actual definition, but the word implies so much more than just a lack of conflict.
Have you ever been inside a restaurant, warm and cozy and had to walk outside in the freezing temperature of winter? It’s shocking. So shocking, my bones sometimes ache. To go from a comfortable temperature to a below freezing temperature in mere seconds is not desirable. I don’t like it on the outside and I don’t like it on the inside. I don’t like it when my heart, my actions, my thoughts and my responses lack consistency with the world around me.
According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, shalom means “completeness, soundness, welfare, peace.” I love the idea of completeness. The promise of consistency, steadiness. Because of the peace of Jesus who lives within us we have been promised a life of shalom. A life of inner peace. The fruit of our peace feels like a steady, consistent temperature.
As believers we should be some of the most consistently consistent people in our culture. People should not come to us and wonder what they are going to get. Our time with the Father governs our thermostat and instead of being controlled by the world around us, we are controlled by the temperature of the Spirit within us. When I feel my temperature rising it triggers His promise of shalom. When I feel a desire to react to criticism around me, it triggers His promise of shalom within me. When I ignore the triggers and give way to the pressure of the circumstances around me, my response does not represent the Jesus within me.
Consistency feels good. Soundness sounds enticing and peace, inviting. Being confident in who I am and will be changes the world around me. It makes sense that this is the promise of my Father. That time with Him would bring me to a place where my actions don’t surprise me or anyone around me for that matter. That my family would know what temperature to expect and would even readjust their inner thermostats to the temperature God governs within me.
What if we all allowed the Father to govern our inner thermostat toward a life of consistency, a life of completeness, soundness and peace? How different would our homes be, our car rides, our friendships, marriages, work interactions. Look at the lives of the greats through out Scripture. Did they have moments of increased temperature change? Yes, but more times than not they were steady and consistent regardless of the circumstance they faced. It’s worth a try. Peace and consistency are worth taking a shot at it.
Go into the secret place. Let your time with the Father set the thermostat of your life and then when you step out, take it with you. Be aware of your shalom. Refuse to settle for anything less than what God has promised you.