Are ya ready for the understatement of the millennium? I don’t do conflict well.
Unfortunately, in that arena, the fact that I am a highly empathic person does not help me out much. You might think that it would, but yah – not so much. And it really doesn’t help that I have a health issue in which stress takes a HUGE toll. At least, not when conflicts get just plain ugly.
“Productive conflict” as I like to call it, well….. I’m pretty good with that stuff. It’s great when people are sitting down and calmly discussing their feelings, angst, hurts, desire to understand one another. It’s not-so-great when the teeth are showing and “understanding” one another is not in the center of the equation on everyone’s part.
Desire to strive for understanding one another and harmony ~ yah, that’s my thing.
Sometimes it’s my own sharp little teeth that are grinding and showing and making the conflict become “unproductive”. I can be like an alien trapped inside of a candy store, make no mistake about it!
Other times, I am the one seeing what’s really going on around us and feel quite helpless and alone ~ and that’s when the conflict starts to really take a toll on me. I then risk turning into that alien with fangs because fight or flight starts to take over. The monster in Annie comes out to play, and that’s a bad thing, my friends.
Does that happen with you?
I wrote a little while back about not being easily offended and what the Lord has to say about that. As Christians, we must know who we are IN CHRIST and try not to allow those little darts and arrows (that are constantly coming our way) to penetrate our hearts.
But we still get hurt sometimes. (And I am the Queen of that junk. Hence, why I wrote about it – it’s something I have to work on with the Lord because I STINK at it!)
So people like me? We forget to remember and get hurt and in turn, we hurt others right back.
We all do.
Most of the time it’s because of our sin nature – I say that matter of fact because well, it IS. It’s a matter of fact.
And sometimes it’s because we don’t have our full armor on. The Lord cautions us about that. He even lays out for us, piece by piece, what we need to wear today – EVERY day.
But we get cocky – sometimes we just feel like running light and free. When I do that, I almost ALWAYS get into trouble.
The armor is not meant to be an option. Sad, but true.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10-12
The schemes of the devil ~ let’s just say that it ain’t no joke, friends. I think sometimes that as Christians, we know that he is there, operating and up to no good, but we often overlook just how pervasive his trickery, planning and divisive little tactics really are.
I sense these forces all around us. Do you? Sometimes people think that I read into things too much or whatever you want to call it. Sometimes they may be right. But most of the time, I know what I know to be true. And when you sense something like this around you or others you love, it is unmistakable that ~ IT. IS. REAL.
By the way: The Lord says it’s real too – it’s all throughout the Word.
Check for yourself.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
So those of us who sense these things and do so more regularly or easily than others; well, we aren’t “crazy.” We are actually obeying the Lord to be ever-so-watchful of such things.
But we also have to be careful.
We have to be careful to put that full armor on and remember Who is MORE powerful, Who is MORE present, Who is KING.
Why? Because so often, fear can overtake us. And then we go into full combat gear mode. We try to add to the Lord’s armor something of our own. Some secret weapon that we think might enhance it and make it work even better.
NOT the case, friends. Not the case!
For me in particular, this happens when I allow what I sense or see around me that is “not good” to be magnified and begin to overwhelm me. Sometimes, I feel this need to have the whole “strength in numbers” thing going on. Not as a ganging up on others type of thing, but this NEED to understand what’s really happening – together.
Finding someone else to be there with me in the moment, to name it, talk about it for what it really is (what we are sensing and seeing creeping in) seems like a smart and intelligent way to fight against it.
You know? To know we have a common enemy and fight IT together, instead of fighting one another?
“We’re on to you, evil.”
But that almost never happens in the moment. And that’s another one of the horrible one’s little schemes. (I can’t stand that devil, by the way)
The truth is, that only God can help us to combat that fear. Only God can help us in times of unproductive conflict. Only God can comfort us that He believes us when we sense the REAL evil around us and feel threatened and even cave into allowing it to permeate our own hearts and try to take over.
So we have to KNOW Him. We have to spend time with the Lord in daily prayer, in His Word. We have to seek Him constantly – especially in times of turmoil.
Because it’s too easy to get swept up in emotions, hurts, offenses, and let the REALLY dangerous stuff take over – bitterness, anger, fear, self-pity, hatred, division, apathy – the list goes on.
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14
The armor will do us no good if our hearts are filled with ugly. It will only trap that darkness inside and make us feel stronger and thicker skinned.
Our hearts need to be soft and open to the One True God.
There is a time and a place for vulnerability in love with one another. And yes ~there is a time and a place to proceed with caution. But ALL the time, we must rely upon the LORD for our strength ~ for His wisdom to know what to do ~ and for His peace.
Evil will try to harm us and make us think it is going to get us. Most of the time, it will start right inside of our own hearts and work from the inside out. And yes, sometimes, we are under assault from the outside and it’s banging up our armor pretty darned good.
But if we are truly followers of Christ, we will wise up to what’s going on because the Holy Spirit will make it clear.
And then we’ll remember…………
The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. Psalm 121:7
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
We are not alone. It’s just a matter of who we choose to keep company with ~ Jesus, or the aliens.
Let’s seek HIM ~ shall we?