Be Still…in Relationships
By Alex Fittin
I know you’re probably tired of hearing about the Enneagram, but Imma talk about it for a minute. I am an Enneagram 1 wing 2, The Reformer. Allow me to list out some of the 1w2’s most notable attributes:
“Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their Best: wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Can be morally heroic.”
Now, obviously there is much more to my personality type than that description. But with those being the highlights, I think we can all see how Being Still is not really my jam, and with the added “reformer” quality, it’s even more difficult. What am I constantly trying to reform? People. I want to change all the people. I want everyone to be as ethical and pure of heart as I strive to be (note the word “strive”), and in case you haven’t heard, the world doesn’t work like that. People are sinners and… just kind of suck sometimes.
This idea that I should chill out or Be Still became very real to me within our adoptions. Being a grown adult and realizing how very little control I actually have over others was humbling, to say the least.
When our caseworkers and attorneys moved so much slower than we wanted.
When unfair judgements were made by those around us.
When our teen didn’t behave, receive love, or function “normally.”
When our marriage was strained from the pressure and stress.
When we had to deal with the consequences of someone else’s numerous mistakes.
When we couldn’t make other people understand what we were going through.
When our people weren’t always there for us.
Take out my story and situation and plug in your own. It can be infuriating when we can’t control others’ behaviors and we have to sit on the sidelines while they make mistakes, make choices we wouldn’t, and take paths that hurt themselves or us.
The minute we say “yes” to God’s free gift of salvation, He starts refining us and doesn’t stop until we take our last breath. A part of this process is teaching us to keep our eyes where they’re supposed to be, on Him. In marriage, with our kids, with our family of origin, coworkers, pastors, friends, in-laws, you name it, our goal was never supposed to be making them happy or even making the relationship a successful one. It is always to bring glory to God. So when we take our eyes off of that goal, our whole world gets rocky. Not Still. We start holding people up to standards reserved only for God: Perfection, knowing what’s best for us, and unconditionally loving us. No one can handle that pressure, and when we rely on others to make us ultimately happy, we are setting them up for failure.
When we follow Jesus, we say yes to His people. We say yes to their ugly and yes to their beautiful. Yes to their wins and yes to their pain. People are not Still, but Jesus is. He asks us to be Still in Him, even when our circumstances and the people surrounding us are anything but.