Friday, October 3, 2014

DAY 3: Fear of Conflict--Facing Conflicts, Not Ignoring Them

“If your brother sins against you, go and
tell him his fault, between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have gained your brother." 
Matthew 18:15
DAY 3:  Fear of Conflict
Does anyone like conflict?  I don't.  In fact, I fear it.  I have a physical reaction in my body when there is conflict, so the unhealthy areas that I go to in order to avoid conflict are ignoring my own feelings and avoiding the problem altogether.  Healthy, I know!  
For much of my life, I had a fear of conflict, so therefore, I managed to use tactics to avoid it.  But at whose expense?  Everyone's!  There have been so many times where I would hold in my true feelings for fear that I would hurt someone's feelings, for fear that I wouldn't be understood, for fear that I would be too vulnerable, for fear that I would be judged for how I was really feeling. 
I've also had seasons in my life where I avoided that there was a problem altogether.  Again, the fear of conflict caused me to pretend that the problem just wasn't even there. For fear of conflict, I would make excuses for either my behavior or someone else's.  For fear of conflict, I would try to justify my decisions or the decisions of others.  For fear of conflict, I would turn the other way and try to overlook any issues happening right before my eyes.  I just tried to pretend it wasn't even there.  DESTRUCTIVE!
As a result, I became resentful and bitter towards people and situations.  I became a complainer.  I became a victim, which is incredibly unfair to me and to everyone involved.  This was a very destructive pattern, and has created a lot of tension in relationships (even some where the other person didn't even realize there was a problem because I was too afraid to confront them and never gave them the opportunity to resolve it). 
Through the years, I've learned to be less fearful of conflict.  I've seen the benefit of being honest and open about my feelings.  I've seen the benefit of not avoiding problems, but instead, facing them head-on even if it means having a difficult conversation.  And even though, I still have fears over conflict, I find that I am more confident in how I handle them especially when I pray about them beforehand.  I've seen that healthy conflict can actually be a blessing and I've seen growth through conflict in my friendships, in my family and even in my marriage. I want that for you too!
Lord, I give my fear of conflict to you.  In your Word, you want us to seek to resolve our conflicts with others and not just ignore them.  Help me to see any conflicts in my life right now that I am not aware of.  Help bring to light any conflicts that I am avoiding.  Give me wisdom in how to move forward.  Give me words to say in any difficult conversation that I need to have.  Give me peace to know that you will remove my fear when I find myself in the midst of a conflict.  Lord, shine Your light in any area of conflict in my life and help me to be loving, honest, open, and allow me to trust you with the outcome.  Fill me with faith as I walk confidently forward knowing that through conflict you can bring healing and wholeness.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

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