By Keith Lyndaker Schlabach
The term “peace activist” itself offers me a clue as to why I seem to be rather imbalanced when it comes to living a life of peace.
“Activist” implies action, working for peace, and though that is a good thing in my book, I often find myself wondering why it is so difficult for me to bathe my action in prayer. Should I not be inquiring of the Prince of Peace each day for wisdom, for guidance, for . . . peace, in my work?
I have received much instruction, certification, training, education, a degree, in a variety of peacebuilding modalities. These have been very helpful in my work. But often times, when I am faced with conflict, a difficult situation, or an opportunity to be a peacemaker, my first inclination is to act on what I have supposedly been taught. I “lean on my own understanding” rather than “trust in the Lord with my whole heart,” to flip Proverbs 3:5.
Again, my knowledge and experience make up who I am and can inform my work. BUT I am beginning to believe more and more strongly each day that rather than start there, I need to ask God first and let that conversation guide me into discovering what part of what I have learned may be best for the situation.
When I do this, I am continually surprised at the results. (Though you would think by now I would have learned). My reaction comes not out of righteous anger or a preaching of the truth (as I see it). Rather I find that there is a greater sense of peace, a realization that I am not entering into the situation alone, and sometimes the action is not one I would have thought of at first. Things may not always work out as I wish but I am less bowled over by the reaction. God’s got my back. I did not “lean on my own understanding.”
Hopefully, in my own life, when I pray first, and then act, the peace that passes all understanding, will infuse my heart and all that I do and say.