Understanding cliches: “Peace that passes all understanding”

**Another post written months ago but ringing incredibly true when I reread it today after a week of mounting anxiety and reminders that He is the reason it ever goes away. Enjoy.

I’ve spent the past two weeks sitting in a plastic chair on the third floor of my favorite building on Mississippi College’s campus getting C.S. Lewis crammed into my head in four hour increments each day.

Maymester. For us enrolled in C.S. Lewis, it’s basically bootcamp on all things “Jack”, Lewis’s nickname. [Which I still haven’t been able to get a good explanation of. Your name is Clive Staples Lewis, and your friends called you Jack. But that’s the least of my beef with the man. My main problem is that he wrote so many dang books. I’ve read eight in the past two weeks. And I’m not just talking articles. Abolition of Man, Screwtape Letters. Mere Christianity, Great Divorce, two of the Narnia collection, Perelandra, and Till We have Faces. These are the real deal.]

All this to say, my brain is teetering on the brink of explosion and total shut down. And this afternoon I found myself sitting in class, but mentally between 200 and 8,000 miles away. Quite literally. I was either in Ocean Springs or Uganda for most of today’s discussion. Ask me anything about Till We Have Faces. I promise I won’t be able to give you an answer.

Before this class, I didn’t know much of C.S. Lewis. I mean my dad read us the Chronicles as children, and I had picked up Screwtape Letters just last semester. I had Mere Christianity on my “Unread Library” list stuck somewhere on my computer, but it wasn’t going to be read anytime soon. Until this class. And the week before class started, a crazy hectic no good week that was supposed to be relaxing and somehow turned into madness, and to add insult to injury, we get an email Thursday of the reading list, books I had already ordered but not yet read, three of which had to be read the first three days of class. Thursday. And the class started Monday. So I sped read and have kept the speed until today. When we discussed our final book. The one I can’t tell you anything about. Well, because I didn’t actually finish it.¬†Because somewhere in the wildness, I lost my debit card and needed an oil change and the Till We Have Faces book I ordered a few weeks ago was never shipped because they had run out of stock. And our bank’s nearest branch is twenty minutes away, and I don’t have an hour during the day to run to the bank to cancel a card and order a new one and get cash and reset my online banking password that I had forgotten and left forgotten because who really needs a banking password when you don’t know how to handle money anyway? But you can’t go to Barnes and Noble without cash, and you can’t drive a car without gas and I had neither without a debit card. So what’s a girl to do?

And I type all of that and almost laugh as I think back to a year ago and the mess I would have been with all the little things piling into a seemingly horrible Monster. And now I realize that all of life is about perspective. And stepping back and thinking about what really matters. Because it’s not grades or money or your immediate situation. Because all that will change. It’s all temporal. And if I had even one ounce of the anxiety that I use to have, my week would have been a complete mess. Because I never knew what it even meant to turn things over to Jesus before last year. And I’m still new at it, and I still get frustrated and try to do things on my own. But not as much as yesterday, or last week, or last month, or last year.

And the only way I can describe it is “the peace that passes all understanding”. Because I’ve given it all to Jesus. And He has taken my little life and redeemed me. Adopted me into His perfect family and called me His own. And I still desire to be perfect. And I still want everything to work out my way. And I still am there somewhere deep inside saying “Me! Me! Me!”. But He’s taken over. And He’s slowly squishing that little guy down there. The one that needs complete control. Slowly but maybe not completely until I’m in heaven one day with Him. And that’s okay. Because I’m human. And you are too.

And He’s reminding me that whether everything is smooth sailing and I’m getting nine hours of sleep and eating right and exercising daily or things are crazy and four hours of sleep will have to do for tonight and prayer and Imitrex are the only things warding off that oncoming migraine that I can’t afford to have because I have six papers and six hours of work to fit into the next 12 hours. No matter the situation, it doesn’t really matter. Because it’s all temporary. And it will fade away. And what matters is that I lift all that is in my hands up to Him.

You are incredibly loved.
Don’t ever forget that.

–Hallie

Side note: I got an A in that C.S. Lewis class. That alone is proof that Jesus lives.

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