“Seek peace and pursue it.  Set your face like flint to find that place of peace that goes beyond what you see or understand naturally.  Allow Me to elevate you above the things of the world, above your circumstances, and above your disappointments to a place of absolute freedom in the Spirit. Release yourself from all that keeps you from receiving all that I have promised,” says the Lord.

I was just thinking about the topic of peace and then opened the email from Marsha Burns and there it was. What do I value above everything? Peace and the ability to be myself without putting on a mask of fear or rebellion or frustration. I value earthly people with whom I can be myself (without makeup). I value people who are real with me. Funny thing, these can be peaceful people but they do not have to be. Sometimes peaceful people are the least real. The peaceful mask is covering up who they really are.

I value messed up people because they are real.  I value people who will yell and stomp their feet and rail against injustices in their lives and the lives of those around them.  I value those people who yell  their prayers at God and scream for mercy. It’s those people who recognize God’s grace in their lives when it comes.

I value people who can laugh at life and with whom I can laugh. I value those with whom I can tell my deepest, darkest mess up and they will laugh with me.  They help me not take myself so seriously.

I value people who will challenge me to be better and live better.  Those who hold me accountable or who I allow to hold me accountable are very few.  To me there is no greater gift than someone who cares enough about me to ask how things are going in the areas I am struggling with.  Sometimes it comes out in humor but always I know they have my back and I value that.

I value elderly people and their wisdom.  Far too often in this world, we relegate the elderly to some corner of a facility. We tell them what to do when. Their lives, though, have value to us and to the world.  I thank God for who they are.

I value children who climb up in your lap even when you don’t invite them.  Who talk to you like you are the only person in the world. Because at that moment in time, you are the only person in the world to them.  What a gift they are and they don’t even know it!  All they want is the attention of someone older and larger than their tiny world.

I value God’s presence of peace in my life. For me that only comes when I’m in constant communication with him and listening to His still, small voice.  I value God’s constant presence going before me and behind me, hemming me in, surrounding me, sending His angels to minister to me, pick me up when I’ve fallen, comfort me when I’m down, rejoice when I’m obedient.

No matter who you are or where you are in your navigation through this world, I value you. Being human is not easy.  It is sometimes lonely and depressing and frustrating and overwhelming.  What would the great times in life be without the difficulties? How would we be overcomers without something to overcome? So, celebrate today if for no other reason than the fact you are alive.

Think about the positives in your life.  And, Jesus will have your back.  He’ll stand guard over the most vulnerable places in you.  Things may seek to hurt you, mess with your emotions, frustrate your mind, but when you are focusing on Him, He promises to stand guard.  To me, that’s a WOW! I hope it is for you as well, because you are valuable just as you are.

Philippians 4:6-8  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.”