Giving Space for Shalom

I believe one of our deepest longings is for peace and rest – for shalom. There’s a lot wrapped up in that – connection, belonging, safety, complete transparency, trust, compassion, and freedom.

One of my many lofty goals when I’m at my best is to help give space for people to experience moments of shalom. I think we constantly battle as human beings accepting who we are, believing we can do better, yet knowing that we are generally doing the best we can at any given moment. This leads to feelings of inadequacy, shame, and anxiety, and therefore unrest within the deepest parts of ourself.

Part of the irony of trying to experience shalom in our lives is that we are constantly struggling, hustling, and trying to earn shalom in our lives. But that’s not how we encounter shalom.

We all long for shalom, but we tend to look for it in the wrong places.

Grace and shalom are found in God. They are embodied in Jesus. They are swirling through this this world as the Spirit of God. They are found in the fingerprint’s of our God on his creation. For some reason we tend to think we have to pursue shalom, when really we only have to receive it. Similar to grace, we often make the hard moments of life harder on ourselves by thinking we need to earn shalom through hard work, or by being doing enough “good” things.

I believe that one of the greatest privileges that we have as image-bearers of God is that we are deemed ambassadors of his kingdom. We get to reflect and bring God’s infinite love, grace, and shalom to others. We are most likely to experience shalom as we we give space for others to experience it.

When we bring shalom into the chaos of this world and into the lives of one another, we are living into our unique role in this world as human beings. No other species has the ability to overcome the way of nature with the way of grace like we do.

In my experience, shalom breaks into our lives when we give space for others to experience peace and rest by being welcoming, honest, compassionate, empathetic, and good listeners. When we pay attention to the lives of those around us — their emotions, their words, the emotions behind their words, their composure, their schedules — in the midst of our violent, narcissistic, and consumer-driven world, we give them the space to recognize they are loved. I believe as we love others as God loves us – with a love that seeks us out and tells us we are valuable and worthy – we are participants with the Holy Spirit in God’s relentless pursuit of his furious love for all people.

This is what we are invited into. We get to tell, through our words, our actions, and our attention, the good news of God’s love to others, letting others experience the freedom and rest that is found in the shalom of the Kingdom of God.