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Peacemakers {Surrounding Yourself with Persons of Peace}

He says it–he reminds me over and over. A truth my husband over and over reminds me…

“Andrea–surround yourself and your ministry with persons of peace.”

He listens to me working through something–a story at the park…or a request for me to do something…or a frustration related to ministry. And quietly he says five short words–and I know…

Not. A. Person. Of. Peace.

I’m learning.

Slowly. But learning.

And the growing–so much faster and more free as I learn. Weight lifted. Truth seen. A spade a spade. And when I begin to call things for they are–I can much more easily move on without having to have the answers, explanations, mending or even befriending.

And it’s not only okay.

But good.

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Here is what I have learned about being a person of peace–or rather, determining a person of peace in my life.

1. Peacemakers / Persons of peace are not always “peaceful”, quiet people.

Oh no. Being shy. Tip-toeing around a problem. Exiting the room when conflict comes up–does not make one a peacemaker. In fact, often it’s the contrary. Personality type has NOTHING–absolutely NOTHING–to do with it.

Peacemakers–MAKE PEACE. They are some times loud. They are some times silly.

They are truth seekers and truth speakers.

Some do this quietly. Some loudly. But they do this humbly–and they honor all parties while they seek to share truth and bring peace.

I’ve watching countless “quiet” personalities stir up more chaos and cause more hurt in their “quietness”.

Often I’ve made the wrong assumption a quieter person is more trustworthy because she is quiet. NEVER assume a quieter person is a peacemaker simply by the quietness around her. This has nothing to do with being a peacemaker. NOTHING. If anything, those who tip-toe, avoid conflict, carefully–politically–correctly deliver passive aggressive responses are often the very ones stirring up the most chaos in hearts all around them with very little honesty and truth–or depth every spoken. When you sense this in a friend or acquaintance–be friendly, love them–but never unload to someone just because they are the quieter type. I’ve seen the quieter type also run and share everything just unloaded to them to a principal, director or boss–simply to make them look like they are “helping matters” when really–they are stirring up t-r-o-u-b-l-e.

These types might even put you in uncomfortable positions after you unload your heart, “Do you mind if I ask the headmaster about this? I just want to get to the bottom of it.”

You will be tempted to say, “Oh. Sure. I just did–but that’s fine with me if you try also…”–trying to avoid any conflict yourself. But realize QUICKLY you just identified a person that is NOT a person of peace as you were seeking wisdom or advice. Be BOLD. You know in your heart what and how things should happen. Handle conflict Biblically. Pray with a peacemaker on positions to take when there is confusion–but where there is conflict go directly to the person yourself and tell Mrs. Chatty Cathy Imitation Peacemaker the truth. “I should have never come to you with this. Please forgive me. I should have gone directly to ________ about this myself. Thank you for that reminder. I was simply looking for advice or a different perspective” before I did…after I did…or whatever it may be.

AND–it is OKAY to share your heart with a peacemaker to get advice or a different perspective. But when you share with someone you think is a peacemaker and they quickly give away they want to handle things regardless if it’s their place–speak truth and move on.

Surround yourself with peacemakers–and do not confuse this with peaceful, quiet people.

2. Peacemakers will encourage the right people to make peace. They do not overstep, invade or put their nose where it doesn’t belong.

Conflict surrounds us daily. In every situation. Whether you have preschoolers or you are in the assisted living. (Trust me–we’ve spent enough time making friends at the local assisted living to observe this–and daily conflict exists there just as well!) Because conflict isn’t going any where, make friends with PEACEMAKERS–people who resolve conflicts instead of feeding it.

Peacemakers listen. But they do not take care of the problem for others. They listen. They ponder. They help you think about what to do–in a good way through the processing. They challenge those involved to do the right thing. And they celebrate peace when it unfolds.

Everyone WANTS to be called a peacemaker–but very few are. So watch carefully and closely where ever you are in life–at preschool and at the assisted living. I’m not saying to not LOVE those who aren’t peacemakers. Love those who overstep, invade and put their nose where it doesn’t belong–but LOVE THEM FROM AFAR. Like from–really far. Yes–shine Jesus on them, but do not fill your life and ministries with them–because just 1 person that isn’t a peacemaker can change everything–sucking up all the peace that really needs to be there in order to truly thrive and move forward. Many of these people (who aren’t peacemakers) will know Jesus but not fully be walking or experiencing Jesus. You will know them by their fruit the Word says. You will be able to tell when someone is overstepping, invading or putting their nose where it doesn’t belong–and when I see this…just like Rich quietly says to me, I quietly take note…

Not. A. Peace. Maker.

And it’s okay. It’s not bad. In fact, it’s good to recognize this and create the appropriate space necessary. It’s just seeing a spade for a spade and knowing how to surround myself, ministry and life with peace makers. It helps me choose my friends wisely, and to know who to love from afar…like really far;).

When I hear the “too much information”…

When I confided, and I hear it shared for the entertainment or well-being of the one I confided…

When I feel taken advantage of…

I remember those 5 words, and when I do–I’m no longer easily offended–because people who are not peacemakers will ALWAYS offend.
“Not a peacemaker. Now it makes sense! This is why I always feel this way when in his/her presence.”
The sooner you realize who or what in your life is a peace maker and who is not–the sooner you will be able to gravitate to the place you need to be and truly move forward with less road blocks, discouragement and distraction.

3. Peacemakers are respectful to those in their life and put others before themselves.

Peacemakers are constantly thinking of others–putting themselves in the shoes of another before they even approach them for a word.

They think about what the babysitter is missing by serving them–and they are grateful…rather than complaining how much the babysitter costs and how she probably didn’t do THIS or THAT.

They think about the mess the waitress will have to pick up after them instead of fussing the order was all wrong–and they wonder why she is waitressing at all–and the way they leave a situation leaves the aroma of peace all around them.

They make others loads lighter simply by thinking of others first–and they find joy in this peacemaking. They ask how they can help–rather than how you can help them.

They create LESS work rather than more. They are problem solvers–and when they see something that needs to be done–they just do it instead of telling you what needs to be done and how they think it should be done. (By the time all of that happened–especially in ministry–it could be done!)

They do more asking than telling how things will be. Because when you put others first–you have to find out their hearts and what works for them first. These are persons of peace. Surround yourself with them.

Or just find one. And make her your best friend. Learn from her. Die to yourself some more. And realize if everything doesn’t happen your way, in your time–the world won’t stop. BUT–if you learn to slow down and serve others…for a moment–their world’s will…they will stop–as they experience more peace in their lives and you realize more actually gravitate to this new fragrance you carry.

4. Life is short. Fill it with peacemakers and create appropriate distance in your life from those who are not peacemakers so you can continue to grow and move forward in a healthy way.

Learn to let the quiet, passive-aggressive, gossip, pot-stirrers, naggers, braggers, drama creators, narcissistic, selfish people in your life–be loved on from AFAR–really far away.

While that may sound terrible. It’s not terrible at all. But rather–WISE.

When they text, text them back–short and sweet. (Some of you are SO sweet–you feel you should be friends with everyone regardless of the drama they bring into your life. It’s okay to realize where and who this lack of peace is coming from and create distance in a healthy way.) Yes–always be kind and courteous. Always. But don’t make plans for play or try to be nice and schedule a coffee. If they aren’t a peacemaker–there will certainly not even be peace over coffee–and who needs coffee without peace?!

If they call–don’t answer during a peaceful, sacred, sweet time with your family or friends. Let it go to voicemail–and call them back when you have a few minutes to chat.

When they tell you what they are going to do–what works for them–and you didn’t invite that opportunity to even happen–kindly decline. Instead of bending over backwards to make things work for them–take a breath–realize “Not. A. Peacemaker.” and you will quickly realize you have probably been living your life far too much making things work for everyone else except those entrusted to you first. It’s freeing to realize this and to begin to use your voice! Just say no! (It makes me think of a poster I made in 3rd grade for an anti-drug campaign contest!)

In some circumstances, you will have to avoid. (And maybe even hide–okay not really–but you get what I mean.) Okay–as terrible as that may sound–there’s a member of my extended family that will stir up trouble to no end–and the best thing for me to do is to love her from really afar. Trust me on that one. (She didn’t agree with our adoptions–and that was the final crazy–enough for this momma to say I’d love you forever from afar.) Peacemakers understand that everyone has different ways to live, grow and raise their family–and they encourage even if at the time they don’t quite agree:).

Some times you will be able to identify a peacemaker simply by the peace that enters your life when they show up. I have a sweet friend who wants to just come and sit a spell with me on my front porch. She just brings peace with her when she comes–far from quiet–and I know she’s a person of peace. The more I get to know her on a more personal level–I see she very much possesses the qualities of a true peacemaker–so I’m being very intentional with the time I get with her. You will always look forward to the next visit with peacemakers!

Filling your life and ministry with persons of peace will keep one foot in front other the other no matter the mountains in life you face! Being able to recognize those you really need to surround yourself with in daily life and boldly classifying this in your mind will help you to realize when things are said or done and for some reason it just hurts. It’s freeing to realize–it has really nothing to do with YOU–but rather with this person in your life who is not being a peace maker. If you continue to allow those people in your circle–be ready to struggle with confidence, deal with hurt and question every decision you make.

This momma is so thankful for her handful friends of peacemakers and how they run this amazing race of life with me. And I know now who to love from afar–and I’m perfectly okay with that–and I think they are too (busy bodies quickly move on–so don’t worry about loving them from afar!)

Be blessed, love BIG and BLOOM!