conflict resolution

A few of my kids went to school this morning after a heated conversation.  Both had tears in their eyes & it rips me up as their mom to see this tension and strife.  Which makes me wonder how God “feels” when we are yucky with each other.  The truth is that any relationship worth it’s weight will have to work through conflict.  So here are a few pointers to help with this challenge:

  • benefit of the doubt:  assume the best rather than blame the worst
  • double standard:  be mindful that you don’t just the other person by actions but ourselves by intentions
  • breathing space:  sometimes a “cool down” can bring some clarity and options that aren’t available when we are in the heat of a conflict
  • be generous:  seek to understand before being understood
  • forgive well:  practice makes perfect
  • conclusion:  sometimes the best outcome is to agree to disagree without being disagreeable 🙂
  • pray

Happy Monday to you!

 

insanity

There’s a homeless guy that hangs around my coffee shop & if you just took a quick look at him, you’d think that he’s insane.  He looks kind of gruff, unshaven, sometimes not so clean & generally unkempt.  As I get to know him, he’s less and less scary to me – in fact, I think he’s quite gentle and polite.  Some people probably think that he needs to be committed somewhere.

Perhaps committment is the solution to much of the insanity in which we live.  Think about it:

  • a committed relationship with Jesus infuses our daily living, helping us to forgive, make right choices, think right thoughts, become more mature & effective and Jesus helps us love better & more everyday.
  • being committed to our job or school helps us to get a consistent paycheck or grades that are necessary ingredients for daily living & future success
  • being committed is another way of being planted:  no roots = no fruit 🙂

Hot topic: prostitutes

If a person talks about prostitutes or sex workers, people have some interesting reactions. Some people get really uncomfortable & change the subject quickly. Some people get really condescending & holy. Some people don’t get too jittery & seem relatively calm. In the Bible, prostitutes were often considered lower class, except by Jesus. When I watch how Jesus treated women of ill repute, He didn’t shun nor shame them. In fact, it says that He was considered a friend of sinners.
In my work with Saving Moses, we look after the babies of prostitutes with our nightcare centers. Without our centers, these babies & toddlers have tremendous struggles which are difficult for us to imagine & understand. I’m in Cambodia right now celebrating the Grand Opening of our 2nd nightcare & was recently told about a 3year old little girl who was helping her mom in the evenings by selling birth control to the customers of her mother. I want to be like Jesus & love people more than shame them, including prostitutes.

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ever been mad at God?

In my opinion, a relationship that has any degree of depth needs to be able to work through conflict, tension, disappointment, misunderstandings, challenges, etc.  I sincerely believe that the deeper the relationship, the more we must be willing to work through such struggles & I don’t think that our relationship with God is any different.  I think that our relationship with God is as deep as we are willing to wrestle:  no wrestling, shallow depth; much wrestling, much depth.  My examples for this thinking are in Job & Jacob who strenuously wrestled with God, not without some impairment.

So with this in mind, when (not if) we get mad, disappointed, frustrated, misunderstand God, let’s not sweep these feelings & thoughts under the carpet.  Let’s maintain an open & honest dialogue with God because the depth with God is worth way more than the dialogue, conflict, etc 😀

experiments with love #1

I’ve been thinking about love alot lately, so I’ve tried to take a genuine look at what God says about what love & is not in 1Cor 13:4-8.  Basically, Paul breaks down love into 2 categories:  what love is & does versus what love is not.

Simply put, love is / does not: jealous, arrogant, brag, act unbecomingly, provoked, self-serving, rejoice w unrighteousness or keep track of wrongs.

Furthermore, love is / does:  patient, kind, rejoice w truth, bears all, believes all, hopes all, endures all & never fails.

Maybe this break down is easily scanned, but here’s an experiment for you to try in relation to loving God, others & yourself:

Take the above lists of love is & love is not & slowly think through each description as you relate the word to your relationship between you and God.  So for example, when I think about loving God, I’m not jealous of God, I don’t want to be arrogant with him nor would I be expressing genuine love to Him when I boast to Him.  Additionally, when I love God I don’t behave unbecomingly with Him nor do I want to provoke Him.  Here’s the tricky one for me – as I love God, I don’t want to only relate to Him for what I can get out of Him (self-serving).  On the positive side, when I love God, I’m patient & kind with Him.  I also rejoice when truth is done because I know that He is on the side of truth.  When I love God, I bear all things with Him, believe the best with Him, endure with Him when I don’t understand or agree and always keep my hope in Him.

When I do this exercise slowly, maintaining my attention to loving God with these individual descriptions, I’m extremely amazed with this experience.  Give it a try & let me know what you think 🙂

live beyond average

gmortensonI just finished a very powerful book – Three Cups of Tea  (Jolene loaned it to me).  Gees, what a read.  I’m still reeling from it & I’ve kind of dreamt about it over the last few nights.  This is a true life story about a guy who builds schools in VERY rural areas of Pakistan & Afghanistan, over the last 15 or so years.  His goal is to promote peace through building schools.  Some of the things that keep knocking me sideways are his findings about the importance of educating girls – lowering infant mortality rates, improving clean water usage & overall hygiene improvements, thereby improving quality of life, among many other things. 

The guy who does this, Greg Mortenson, isn’t some high power, sophisticated, ultra shiney & socially connected guy.  From the book, it sounds like he’s more comfy chillin in a rural Pakistani village than snuggling up w American comforts & social imperatives.  He’s made a MASSIVE difference – what a motivator.  Reading this book really pushes my heart into God to follow His lead in this life to make a difference. 

Have you read anything lately that calls you to greatness beyond yourself?  🙂