Archive | May 2016

Conflict Management

conflictMe 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!

~Forever Trina

He Said Yes!

yes-man1He said yes….
to my no
to my maybe later
to my some day
to my doubt
to my distrust
to my wandering
to my, not right now
to my compromise
to my worrying
to my backbiting
to my stressing
to my control issues

Yet, despite all of my No’s…He still said Yes!

Now I will say…
Yes, I’m committed
Yes, today
Yes, I believe
Yes, I trust You
Yes, I will remain steadfast and unmovable
Yes, right now
Yes, I will uphold Your standard
Yes, I will accept Your peace
Yes, I will praise You
Yes, I will rest in You
Yes, I will release all control to You

Why? Because You did it for me on Calvary!

You knew me before I was formed in my mother’s womb.  You knew every success and failure I would encounter.  You knew every straight and crooked path I would take.  You knew every detour in life and shamefully, even the number of times I would deny even knowing You…in my action and inaction…and You still said Yes!

God, I will commit to continue making this the year of my Yes!

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~ForeverTrina

“Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field.”  James 4:8 MSG

 

The “V” Word!

img_4387“… vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.” Brenee Brown

I was introduced to Brenee Brown and her TEDtalk on vulnerability a few years back….from a counselor actually. And to my surprise, her name came up again in a sermon my Pastor was preaching and he too was introduced to her by a counselor. Kindred spirits maybe? Either that or a prerequisite to being a counselor is to listen or read her material.

I digress…

How many of us would benefit from being more vulnerable in our relationships…both personal and professional?

When I think of vulnerability, I also think of her friends, secret and shame and even her friend of a friend, fear. The inability to be vulnerable typical stems from information you may be withholding…a secret that you don’t want exposed, something that may bring you, your family or other innocent bystanders’ shame. You hold on to whatever it is so tightly that it actually produces the opposite effect of what one would expect.

Fear is usually lurking somewhere in the background of all of this.  A fear of being found out or maybe a fear of being rejected by others. So in our angst to avoid the exposure or the uncomfortable feeling that comes along with being vulnerable we instead create disconnection rather than closer, healthier relationships.

Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

These uncomfortable feelings have an end date. We are so busy ducking and diving and hiding but not seeking that we end up missing out on some great opportunities to grow, relate, understand and simply be human.

We subconsciously jump from the frying pan into the fire. We move further from our intended end goal of closer connections and relationships and never stop to figure out why.

We endure self-inflicted pain and bondage versus the freedom God desires for us.

Secrets can ruin relationships. And the enemy knows that. He would like nothing more than to divide a marriage, a friendship and a family. We’re stronger together and more susceptible to his tricks when we’re apart. So he will use that one thing to bring about separation and use it as a curse when it was designed to be a blessing.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10


So, I love the movie “Peeples”. It is absolutely hilarious. Kerry Washington, David Alan Grier and Craig Robinson are a few of the stars in this movie.

Spoiler alert…

The family in this movie has its fair share of secrets. It didn’t destroy the family but it could have. The family was pretty much held hostage by the pride of the father.

Pride…another friend of vulnerability…this chick is popular! But definitely not the friend you want…it can lead the further disconnection in relationships.

And had the father not decided to “unfriend” his pride the story could have ended differently. Something to think of in our own lives. How many times have we allowed pride to further bury a secret and once it was finally revealed or dug up it blew up in our face?  To leave everyone exposed, hurt and possibly even betrayed.

~

So the major theme of the movie was surrounding secrets.  There was actually a cute little song that went along with this theme…”Speak it, don’t leak it”. You wanna hear it? Here it go!

Speak it, don’t leak it
Don’t keep your feelings secret
Say it, don’t spray it
That’s how the big kids play it
Don’t repress it, express it
They ain’t no crime in confessing
When you’re dealing with your feelings, you would rather be concealing…
So if you thinking about that #1
There ain’t no curing in that urine
Speak it, don’t leak it!

Cute, huh? Aside from the “explicit lyric”.  Haha…

But I say all that to say, true freedom is found in vulnerability. Nothing good can come from the inability to be vulnerable due to secrets, shame, fear or pride. I’ve seen this play out in my life, relationships and even career.  My own insecurities set me back and I am now trying to make up for lost time.  But thankfully, God is a redeemer of time.  God can do in seconds what would typically take years. Let Him!

Lay it at His feet today and watch Him allow you to prosper just as your soul prospers.

Be Bold, Be You, Be Blessed!

~Forever Trina