Shalom: More than a Hello

I enjoy receiving the Dictionary.com “word of the day.” The word today is “ataraxia.” At first, it struck me as an unfriendly word, one that might have a meaning related to ill health or an attack of some kind. I was surprised to read the definition: “a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety; tranquility.”

I looked into the word a little deeper and learned that its origin is from ancient Greece; a “lucid state of robust equanimity (I had to look this word up too. It means "composure"). The ancient Greeks used it to describe a status of freedom from distress and worry. Worry and distress are not strangers to me.
The expanded definition really got my attention when I read that it was a term used to “describe the ideal mental state for soldiers entering battle!” It is a mental condition important in troubled times.
As followers of Jesus and readers of the Bible we are familiar with the Hebrew word “Shalom.” It means completeness, soundness, welfare, peace. When I combined these words together, the Greek Ataraxia and the Hebrew Shalom, I opened 2 Corinthians 10:4 “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
I flipped over to Ephesians 6:10-18 which reminded me again that we too are soldiers! Living within troubled times in our nation and our world, we can discover our “ideal mental state for soldiers entering battle.” That mental state rests on having the right weapons, and knowing how to use them based on the Holy Spirit’s counsel and mental/emotional comfort when we face personal, national, or world challenges.
ATARAXIA is now a word I’m combining with SHALOM. Let’s reinvigorate these ideas as we face various battles surrounding us.


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