Things used to freak me out a lot. I’m a person with a short fuse, descended from a long line of people with short fuses, and when I ran into a setback or some other form of adversity, I could lose my temper fast. I would get angry, and most people didn’t like me when I was angry. If I wasn’t getting angry, I was otherwise pushing the “panic” button.

I find that, these days, I’m seldom like that. I can’t even remember the last time I got angry or upset. The biggest reason for the change is that I’ve learned peace.

N. T. Wright explains it as follows:

A famous preacher had a friend who was well known for his short temper. One day, at a party, he asked this friend to help him serve some drinks. The preacher himself poured the drinks, deliberately filling several of the glasses a bit too full. He then passed the tray to his friend. As they walked into the room to distribute the drinks, he accidentally-on-purpose bumped into the friend, causing the tray to jiggle and some of the drinks to slosh over the brim and spill. “There you are, you see,” said the preacher. “When you’re jolted, what spills out is whatever is filling you.” When you’re suddenly put to the test and don’t have time to think about how you’re coming across, your real nature will come out. That’s why character needs to go all the way through: whatever fills you will spill out. And it’s up to you to do something about it. [1]

I got angry because anger and stress were what filled me, so when I was “jolted,” they were what spilled out. Now, what usually spills out is patience and resolve.

Some of my newfound peace is a product of better life choices: a job with good benefits, getting out of toxic relationships, building up an emergency fund, etc. But I honestly believe that the rest is a product of sanctification and the Holy Spirit working within me.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you,” Jesus promised. Let us receive his peace.

[1] N. T. Wright, After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters (New York, N. Y.: HarperOne, 2010), 28.

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