Me and conflict are enemies. I will avoid it with a 10-foot pole. I often shy away from it, run from it, duck and dive, bob and weave, exit stage left and will even roger rabbit my way out of a room if challenged with confronting it. Just not my thing…I literally suck at it. My heart races, voice starts to shake, pretty much any outward expression one would experience when faced with fear is pretty much what happens to me when faced with conflict.
I’m not as quick on my feet as I would like to be. And as luck would have it, the people that I’ve had confrontational situations with always seem to have the knack for it. It’s like they’ve earned an advanced degree in thwarting any type of ownership, disqualifying any feeling, emotion or opinion you have about a topic and doing it all in one breath. Now, when I say I’m not quick on my feet, it’s regarding a tactful, polite response befitting of a Christian young lady. If I didn’t have to be loving and caring and think twice about the consequences of my words before they came spewing out my mouth and instead could just shoot straight from the hip, I could go round-for-round. Funny how those nice, colorful, non-edifying words have a way of rolling off your tongue like butter.
At any rate, here’s how my most recent bout with conflict transpired. I was in a leadership class and the topic was ‘The Cause of Confrontation”. Several great points were made that provided a new perspective on the topic. One being how conflict has held onto the number one spot for being the baddest of the bad boys for sometime now. But is conflict really all that bad? Or does bad really mean good? Could it be that conflict can bring about growth and development opportunities? Could it be that it’s not about two opposing forces squaring off, or about a winner or a loser but more about active listening? Hmmm…could it be that I’ve been wrong about conflict all this time? Instead of embracing it I’ve been running from something that could help me reach my fullest potential?
So of course I’m feverishly taking notes, this is some good stuff…some good teaching. I proceed with…”yeah…that’s good Pastor…you better say that, I’m fist bumping, chest bumping, and ready to rule the world. Well, how about the very next day I was tested with what I learned and I failed with flying colors. If there was ever a complete and utter fail that could go down in history, this would be it. If you Google’d fail, the Wikipedia article that would come up would have my picture beside it. Even the memory verse for the week about the seed falling on good soil was lost on me. I literally went into commando, rogue mode and failed to apply everything I just learned.
Well…the story didn’t end well, actually it’s still being written.
But one thing is certain, when I woke up the next morning I was desperately needing for God to redeem me, to hold me, to comfort me, to give me peace and direction. Prayerfully, He led me to several scriptures in Proverbs…the book of wisdom.
The one that specifically stood out to me and could be directly applied to this situation was Proverbs 14:17…”A quick-tempered man does foolish things…”
Ouch! God’s word…sharper than any double-edge sword.
So after reading that I’m like, really God…Et tu, Brute (Shakespeare reference…look it up)? I’m being persecuted, forsaken, cast down and destroyed by You too. Yes, quite the drama queen. Of course He calmed that down pretty quickly. And the words I wish would have come back to me in the moment of confrontation, came back to me in my quiet time.
- Don’t be easily offended
- Conversations that are bringing about correction can sting
- Conflict can create growth opportunities
Whew! Powerful stuff!
I am learning how important it is to stay close to God. He brings correction, it may sting but it’s always followed up with wisdom, love, comfort and peace. But I will say, God is the best public relations and damage control rep I know. The aftermath of this epic fail could have been a lot worse but the grace of God….it is definitely to be reverenced. I am being blessed in the midst of it all and prayerfully when confronted with conflict in the future I am able to draw upon what I learned from this situation. I honestly didn’t think I would be tested so quickly this time around but then again, why am I surprised?
Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!