Do you like to daydream? I do. I developed a very active daydream imagination when I was a child living in chaos. It was my favorite way of ‘going away’ in my head.
Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in an ideal world where there was no conflict of any kind?
Unfortunately we don’t. Yet. But in the mean time we have to navigate the twists and turns and bumps that conflict brings along the way. Sometimes that’s easier than others.
It’s easy when we don’t have to interact with conflict up close and personal. We can pretend conflict doesn’t exist since there is some distance between us. Or maybe we pretend the person we have the conflict with doesn’t exist?
Distance is an insulator. It can give us emotional space and time to process how we think or feel. Of course pretending that conflict doesn’t exist is not a healthy, healing way of dealing with conflict long term. But it can work as a temporary fix. A little Queen of Egypt behavior is in all of us at one time or another. You’ve heard that saying?
She’s like the Queen of Egypt—she lives in D-Nile.
Too much denial will eventual lead to zero relationship. A conflict without resolution becomes a place for bitterness. And when we’re full of bitterness it leaks out of us and we’re no fun to be around. I wish I was telling you all this from my notes in a class I took. Unfortunately not. I know that of which I speak. Changing my way of dealing with conflict has been challenging at best and grueling at worst. So if I can encourage you to keep short accounts and not let a root of bitterness take hold that many might be defiled then I will hold up a road sign that says: DON”T GO THIS WAY!!
Learning new habits can be fun but there is a letting go of another way of behaving that also has to happen; especially in relationship communication.
Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
I know this verse by heart. And like most of the verses I memorized as a younger Christ follower, I committed it to memory because I needed to learn to apply what it said. You see, I had it backwards. Completely. Backwards.
Healthy communication is healthy because there isn’t any name calling, critical tone, sassy attitude, or negativity of any kind. I didn’t know how to do that. In any relationship.
Can you say HOT MESS?
Yeah. That was me. But God…
Learning to deal with communication differently has taken my lifetime. I’m what might be called a slow learner. At least a reluctant, stubborn learner. Thankfully the old habits rarely rear their ugly, hurtful heads now.
Good communication is possible. But you have to be willing to make changes in your own way of doing things to find a comfortable common way of communicating that works for both parties. This takes time, effort and practice. Just like riding a tandem bike.
Learning to communicate peacefully and effectively is a skill that can be acquired but it’s also evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. The word ‘fruit’ is singular in this verse which means you don’t separate out one to focus on; they are altogether a Way God evidences Himself to those we come in contact with. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control are all together being formed in His children by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Isn’t this a cute pillow? I found it one day when I wasn’t looking for a pillow…I’m sure you know how that goes. It sits on our bed, a daily reminder of the fact that we continue to learn to live in tandem.