Perfect Peace By Marti Sullivan Tidwell
he Enneagram is all the rage these days. Everywhere you look, you’ll find podcasts and books and even social media groups dedicated the topic. I’m a total personality assessment nerd (INFP here), so I’m all in on the crazy. I don’t have much time to research it, though, so I know only enough to be dangerous. I do know, however, that without one doubt I fall under the Enneagram 9 category: The Peacemaker.
It’s a blessing and a curse, really, to be a peacemaker. I will go to great lengths to find and keep the peace. I want to help others do the same thing. Any unrest is like a burn to my spirit, and I’ll do most anything to find relief and restore peace. At first glance, it’s an admirable and enviable trait, right? Peace is a good thing…let’s hear it for the peacemakers! It’s in the Bible…”Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” (Matthew 5:19) Not so fast. Let’s make sure we aren’t confused about peace. Let’s not confuse peace with quiet. Let’s not confuse peace with a lack of conflict. Let’s not confuse peace with…complacency. To be honest, I love all of those things. I love quiet. I love the absence of conflict. And if I am real, I love a season of good old-fashioned complacency, a time-out from caring. But these things…they have nothing to do with the peace of God. Scripture aligns the peace of God over and over with righteousness and holiness, teaching that by pursuing righteousness we will enjoy peace. Not necessarily quiet and ease, but the rest and assurance that we have consistently, if not perfectly, striven to honor God in our lives…and satisfaction and contentment are gifts of this pursuit.
Inside the shelter of His powerful wings, nothing can destroy me.
“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” (Psalm 119:165) Time and again in my life, I have spoken words or made decisions that perhaps diffused a situation, but did nothing to pursue healing and righteousness, nothing to encourage growth and character. As I grow older, I have no interest in that poor man’s peace any longer. I want the soul-abiding peace and maturity that only comes from a life lived with faithfulness, integrity and humility, and a heart turned fully towards God. I want to speak and receive hard words with great love, and encourage myself and others to trust God enough to make difficult decisions and sometimes scary journeys that will make us all more whole. Ultimately, perhaps it’s not peace that I love so much, but the absence of fear, and the desire for a soft place to rest. However, inside of all the chaos, the conflict, and the pressure this world can bring…nothing and no one can rob me of the abiding peace and rest that dwelling in my faithful God and His perfect ways will bring. Inside the shelter of His powerful wings, nothing can destroy me. There is no fear there. You will keep in perfect peace those whose mind are steadfast, because they trust you. (Psalm 26:3) I am not there yet, but God has put a vision and a dream inside of me to strive for His perfect peace every day, and not to settle for a counterfeit peace that may be easily acquired…but is fleeting at best. The work is hard and sometimes scary, but the abiding peace of God in the often frightening world in which we live is what I want for me and my family...and for you and yours. Ephraim.