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!

 

do you need help to forgive?

When I think about forgiveness, you don’t have to convince me that I need to forgive – I’m already on board with that.  The tricky part for me is the actual forgiving.  Here are some tips that might help you:

  • forgiveness isn’t a feeling.  Consider the Corrie Ten Boom quote, “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”
  • forgiveness in the greek means “to let go or release”:  when we forgive, we release the hurt, bitterness, judgment & pain
  • proficient forgiveness requires practice
  • forgiveness must be kept fresh – stale forgiveness can grow putrid in our emotions and thoughts
  • Here’s a cool & short video that could be helpful:  forgiveness

help with rejection

“Eveybody likes you, Sarah!”  That’s what my dad would always say when I’d come home from school, complaining that no one liked me.  Now that I think about it, the truth is somewhere between the 2 extremes:  everyone & no one.  Rejection is tricky, but all of us have to manage it at various times & in varying degrees.  Here are some thoughts that I hope you’ll find helpful:

reject-2

  • rejection is universal:  everyone gets rejected at some point (some of those points are linear, connecting the dots & some are hops & skips)
  • being rejected isn’t as important as what you do with it
  • is there a reason for you being rejected?  Do you need to make some adjustments?
  • forgiveness redeems rejection & transforms it to something of great value (consider Joseph & his brothers who sold him into slavery in Genesis)
  • God never rejects you – you are accepted among the beloved – Eph 1:6
  • In Jesus’ life, His crucifixion (the ultimate rejection) came immediately on the heels of Palm Sunday

honesty

I had an interesting conversation with a friend this morning who expressed some observations about me that could be kind of scratchy.  If you’re like me, sometimes when I hear things about me that I don’t like, I want to blow it off & pretend that these things aren’t true.  But just because we may not like certain things that we hear or see about ourselves doesn’t mean that they’re not true – in fact, sometimes the truth hurts, even if a person is trying to be gentle, kind & gracious.

So just because something hurts, does that give us the permission to ignore or lash back?  Nope.

When I step back & pause, what I really want in my life is for The Helper, aka Spirit of Truth, to be comfortable to speak with me and to engage in my daily living – even when it costs me some rough spots and scabs 🙂

So here’s to listening, growing & learning, with band-aids, neosporin & Help 😀

Dealing with criticism

I haven’t met many people who enjoy being criticized. It’s not fun & can often be hurtful. But here’s some thoughts that might be helpful:
*listen & process – often times there is at least a grain of truth in some of the critical content
*forgive – criticism is usually hurtful & the most constructive way to deal with hurt is by forgiving
*grow – chose to grow & learn. Get better & not bitter
*intentions – when a person is critical of us they may have mean intentions or maybe helpful. What a person intends is not as important as what we do with the criticism 🙂

the problem with pain

There are all different kinds of pain: a broken arm, a sunburn, rejection, aggressive words, neglectful behavior, perceived exclusion, disappointment, grief, . . . . . When we are in pain or have pain in our lives we don’t like it, not one bit. But in my mind, a significant challenge with pain is not that we have pain, but rather what we do with it & even how we manage it (rather than letting it manage us). Here are a few bullet thoughts that might merit some consideration:
*forgiveness can interrupt the continual cycle of pain in our relationships
*when we have pain, it’s important that we don’t perpetuate our pain by hurting others
*Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, He is our ultimate Healer
*we must be vigilent to ensure that pain doesn’t become our identity – a painful person
*focus is an important component with pain – it seems to me that the more we focus on the hurt, the worse it gets
*on the flip side, I’ve discovered that when I keep my focus on Jesus, The Healer, the pain decreases in the light of His majesty

May we experience Jesus as our ultimate Healer for every pain in our lives 🙂

hurtful words

At various times in our lives, we are all the targets & recipient of hurtful words.  In elementary school, kids can often say things without thinking of how their words can be received.  Then in Jr & Sr high school, it seems like we get more sophisticated with our ability to use piercing & hurtful words.  By the time we’re adults, many of us have become very proficient at integrating sarcasm with our cleverly cloaked words so that we can slice & filet someone with very crafted and deadly words.

So what do we do with hurtful words?  Here are a couple of helpful thoughts:  

  1. forgive – whether the words were intentionally hurtful or not, forgiving must be your first & continual action
  2. dial down the emotions & see what could be truthful with the hurtful words
  3. make a constructive decision to get better & not bitter – let the hurtful words give you motivation to make some healthy changes rather than letting them fester in your emotional memory being nursed & rehearsed
  4. repay mean words with a smile rather than trying to craft a come back or pay back
  5. take the hurt to Jesus & let Him bring His healing into that pain

Pain isn’t always the main issue.  But what you do with pain will determine it’s results 🙂

OUCH! rest, ice & elevation

I recently slipped in our big snow storm and hurt my ankle and no, I’m not any good at injuries of any sort.  My norm is just to ignore them & keep going – no time to be gimpy!  Unfortunately, this little ankle thing isn’t responding well to being ignored.

I think the same can be true with us spiritually.  Sometimes there are injuries in our hearts that require some attention.  Here a few ideas that could help:

  • ice:  it cuts back on the swelling and the agitation;  when our hearts are hurt, it’s helpful to cool down before making any decisions or having some conversations (cooling down doesn’t mean simmering to re-load ammunition or nit picking to fester the injury more)
  • elevation:  lifting up our hearts to the Holy Spirit gives space and opportunity for divine involvement, where there is always healing, repair and rejuvenation
  • rest:  sometimes we need to give our hearts a chance to recover and “breath”;  heart trauma or injury often requires some time and processing to get to a place where there can be constructive progress (just be careful that rest doesn’t turn into withdrawal)

Just some helpful ideas for a hurting heart

ever been mad or disappointed w God???

Now that’s a loaded question with all kinds of implications.  I think that some people won’t allow themselves to be mad or disappointed with God for fear of being disrespectful.  Other folk go so far as to totally alienate any contribution or participation from God in their lives because of their anger, hurt or disappointment with God.  Is there a healthy middle point?  Can a person be angry, frustrated, hurt, disappointed with God but still keep their relationship withHim?

If you’re in this difficult spot, it can be helpful to read Job to see how he dealt with his anger, hurt & disappointment with God.  Here are a few things I’ve learned from Job when it relates to being angry or disappointed with God:

  • being honest with God is a necessary ingredient for intimacy with God
  • stay engaged – withdrawing or pulling away from God hurts you and is a dead end
  • give God plenty of space & time to respond to you
  • be willing to adjust, repent & change
  • arrogance undercuts any constructive dialogue with God

Were you ever nervous about a meeting?

 I had coffee with a friend the other day & this friend can be a little cranky from time to time & I was concerned that our coffee gathering was going to be “one of those times.”  I didn’t feel like I could cancel the coffee date but I was kind of jittery about what path the conversation would take.  So I thought about some different strategies I could use for this potentially volatile coffee time & here were some of my thoughts:

  • I could endeavor to keep the conversation shallow & discuss the weather, sports & all things surfacy.  I decided against this option because she would know that I was being disengenuous.
  • I could arrive late & have to leave early before anything dicey could come up – again, that would be disengenuous
  • I could just brace myself for whatever might be said & keep a tough shell so that nothing she could say would zing me.  With this option, I would guard myself from being totally present in the conversation
  • I could pre-forgive her – making the decision ahead of time to forgive her no matter what she might say, regardless of if she was trying to be intentionally hurtful or not.  I decided for this option 🙂

So here was the outcome – our coffee time went well, we had a great conversation & there was nothing too zing-y that I had to work through & forgive.  I liked the pre-forgiveness strategy so much that I decided to share it with you & use it again in other situations that have any hurtful potetial 🙂