I’ve always been a people-pleaser. As a kid, I always did whatever I could to ensure peace within the family. As an adult, I continue to try to do that in my family, business, friendships and even with those strangers who cut you in line at the coffee shop.
Peace is good, and I believe that my desire for it is God given. However, sometimes our good intentions, even God given giftings, can be twisted into bad ones. Funny how that works, right?
When rooted in faith, my desire to keep people happy comes from a healthy place. I’m not operating out the fear of rejection – I’m operating out of a Godly love and desire for that person’s well being. It’s not selfish.
But when I’m operating out of an unhealthy mindset it creates an inward focus. I want to appease this person so that they will like me or so that I can continue to live in my little restful, peaceful bubble.
For instance, in health I am free to (nicely) share my opinion even if it is at odds with the opinion of the person I am talking to.
However, in un-health I may hold my tongue when I know I should speak or even agree when my heart is telling me not to. In un-health, I run from the smallest confrontations.
The unhealthy side of being a peace-maker inhibits me from having true relationship. It hides who I really am from the ones with whom I’m interacting because I’m overly concerned with avoiding conflict. To take it a step further… it means that I’m pre-judging that person and assuming how they will react without even giving them the chance to respond.
When we operate out of this place, it’s from a place of fear… and God never intended us to live in fear.
A few months ago my preacher said something that I have not been able to shake….
“Love is being willing to be in conflict with each other and walk through it.”
Pastor Brian Ban | The Anchor Fellowship
That hit hard.
I had to come to terms with the fact that as much as I feel like I am a loving person, it is not truly loving to avoid conflict with the ones you love. In fact it’s bad for your relationship long-term.
While it’s something I’m continually working on, I can already see the good that comes when I am truly myself in relationship with my friends and family. It’s incredible how much your relationships can develop and progress when you’re able to overcome conflict. You learn more about the other person and real trust is established when you lovingly work through the tough conversations together.
How do you handle conflict? How do you “peace-fully” work through confrontation? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.