I plan to do a series of posts on Christians and competition soon. But I’ve been distracted lately with all manner of personal and professional issues – some of which I wrote about in my last post. But honestly those were just two main issues in the mix of what has turned out to be two dozen in the past 6 months. Beth and I sat down on the couch a few days ago and decided to go back to the basics of what makes our family “tick.” At the core of that is the idea of pursuing a life of peace. And though I’ve blogged on this idea before, I thought I’d share those ideas again - at least for my benefit if not for someone else.
The idea of pursuing a life of peace comes from the verse “Seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14, 1 Peter 3:11). Romans 12:18 relays a similar idea: “Do all that you can to live at peace with all men.” We call it aggressive peace. Beth and I try to make decisions around the idea that in every situation, there is a peaceful and overall beneficial decision that keeps balance among our family members. If at all possible, we choose that “peaceful” solution. That’s how we make vacation plans, buy new appliances, choose schools, choose television shows or movies, etc. You get the idea. If there is a choice that leads to unrest, strife, anger, impatience, and irritation, we usually opt for something else.
Now that may sound obvious to you. But there’s a subtle difference. We don’t wait for peaceful decisions to come to us. We make peace happen for our children and for each other. We’re aggressive about pursuing peace. We fight for it. We plan for it. We do whatever it takes to maintain it. A lot of people have financial goals or material goals – and we do as well. But all of that comes from our overall peace goal. What lies behind “peace” for us? Questions like, “Which choice promotes the most security for our children?” “Which choice creates ease of life and rest for our retirement?” “How can we peacefully discipline our children?” And most importantly, “Which choice honors God and draws us to him, not away from him?”
But not only do we not wait for these options for peace to come our way. We take it a step further: we “agressively pursue” them. Beth and I discuss questions like, “What makes for a peaceful marriage?” or “What brings peace to our children?” or “What does financial peace look like?” Then we take agressive measures to implement those details into our lives. For example, with finances, we list a second round of details. Financial peace means ultimately means no financial stress: little debt, no collections calls, solid retirement plans, college saving for children now rather than later, choosing economical and sensible cars and houses, and not living paycheck to paycheck if possible. Then we aggressively make those our goals.
I guess pursuing peace as a lifestyle can only be done by someone who believes they have the ability to make their life what they want. I believe all of us can do that. But it takes a lot of thought and premeditation…in other words, it takes work. And often times our decisions are not the most conventional choice. We’re not experts at this and sometimes lose our focus. And plans can certainly change. But the key is to at least have some plan in place and be willing to adjust it accordingly when life throws a curve ball. Personally, living a life of peace is a way to honor God with what he’s given us – a way to proactively reflect his image in us. Taking the initiative to make life good is not anti-Christian at all. It actually reflects the productive nature of God and his willingness to be involved in every aspect of our life. In the end, life truly is what you make of it. Our goal is to make a life of peace for each other and for our children.