The Hebrew word “Shalom” is understood by most as the word for peace, but Shalom also means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full.
When I read these words I can only think of Christ. Much of my story is about discontent and the search for ultimate joy. I had done just about everything to experience contentment, like dating the wrong guy, befriending the wrong people, and succumbing to the pressure of the status quo. Long story short, I have been made new through the redemption of our Savior and these words are what come to mind when I think about the moment that I experienced the fullness of Jesus Christ.
Over the last month I have experienced a plethora of emotions, but what I feel right now is shalom. I love the time I spend with God every morning. Even when I don’t want to get up, I remember how I feel every time I read His Scripture. I feel every single one of those words listed above, safe, tranquil, full, rested, and whole. I feel shalom.
If I have learned anything during my time at home in Cincinnati, it is to make time every day with God. I feel so much more connected, confident, and content when I do so. Someone asked me the other day how I was doing and I gave the typical “I’m doing okay” response, but this friend knows me enough to dig a little deeper. I was excited to share with her that I was actually very much at peace with where I am right now. I know I am exactly where God wants me and that His timing is never wrong. Taking time every day to read scripture and pray has allowed me to feel more content than I have ever felt.
Along with scripture and prayer, I believe that good community and life-giving friendships can also encourage shalom. Being back home this long for the first time in 5 years made this a little harder than I anticipated when I came back in May, but through prayer and awesome connections I have been blessed with some amazing friends and a super encouraging community here in Cincinnati. They bring me so much joy, but they also make me feel at peace, safe, and provided for because they push me towards the ultimate form of shalom, Jesus Christ.
Let me say this, yes I follow Christ, but this doesn’t mean that life magically becomes easier. I still experience sadness, heartache, etc. However, what I’ve learned, what I am continually learning, is how to be content in all circumstances. Paul wrote this from a jail cell in his letter to the Philippians:
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
God is continually teaching me what this looks like, being content through the strength of Christ. I can say that this is so much easier when I am spending time continually in scripture and in prayer. The closer I am with God, the easier it is to be content with whatever comes my way because I can rest in the assurance that He will walk alongside and guide me in every circumstance.
For those of you who read this far, what are you doing to achieve “shalom” in your life? What can you do to encourage this more?
**I encourage you to read through Philippians 4:4-13 and meditate on this passage. Paul does a way better job at giving practical things to do to achieve shalom.**
I pray that you can experience shalom in your life through the fullness of Christ.