Monday, April 25, 2016

Don’t Rock the Boat

By Allen White

[Martha] had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.  Luke 10:39

After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, "I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me."

 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, "Ask him which one he means." John 13:21-24

John was the disciple “whom Jesus loved,” but John never refers to himself by name in his Gospel. The similarity between John and Mary is that they both just wanted to be with Jesus. They were both reclining next to Jesus. They’re not in a hurry. They’re not worried about everything else that’s going on. The impression is that they are pretty easy to be with. Not questioning. Not demanding. Just there.

I call this personality the Peacekeeper. I didn’t say peacemaker, you have to take pretty serious action to make peace. The peacekeepers motto is “Don’t rock the boat.” They are concerned about how everybody is doing. They don’t want to upset other people unnecessarily, which usually means that they don’t want to upset anyone at all.

I have a friend in California who is a wonderful Peacekeeper. She is well beyond retirement age, but just can’t retire. When we were planning a trip for our senior adults up to the gold country, I mentioned a certain Italian restaurant that I wanted to try. She recommended another restaurant. She won.

As about 30 of us sat around a big table, I heard my friend remarked, “Isn’t this nice? Everyone found something that they liked.” That’s the heart of a Peacekeeper. They want to make sure that everyone is included and that no one is left out.

Now Peacekeepers might have trouble making decisions because if they decide against someone, then they might hurt their feelings. Peacekeepers also need deadlines. Their relaxed, laid back personalities are prone to take their time.

Now don’t get me wrong on any of these personalities. No one is purely made up of any one personality type. In fact all of us have some combination of all four that I’ve mentioned this week. Attila the Hun can be kind because there is a little Promoter and a little Peacekeeper even in him. He might have to go lay down afterward, but he can do it.

Peacekeepers are wonderful listeners. But, we must be careful not to overload them. While they are very peaceful and easy to talk to, it’s also easy to overwhelm them with our problems and rock their boats internally. It’s important for Peacekeepers, just like everybody else, to maintain their boundaries and not take on everybody’s problems.

Who’s the Peacekeeper in your life? Are you rocking their boat? Are you listening to them? The Peacekeeper in a family or organization has a better grasp of how everyone else is doing. They know the temperature of the environment. Check in with them.

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