No, not my own conflict, I’ve just been reading Danny Silk’s book, “Keep Your Love On,” and have arrived at his chapter called “communicating in conflict.”
I’m going to Dad-brag for a moment, as in Oh my goodness, the Lord does some good work! I see some of the strengths I have developed in life and I cannot even believe it myself. Truly, it is nothing short of a miracle that I am even alive, let alone able to communicate so well.
I spent perhaps the first 25 years of my life surrounded by some very toxic people with no communications skills at all, constantly blaming myself for their lack. The root of the problem was always, “I must just be terribly dysfunctional and a really bad communicator. If I were just more skilled at communicating, all this dysfunction would not be happening.” Never once did it occur to me that I may not be the problem.
That’s what happens to people when there is too much abuse and neglect going on. They tend to blame themselves, and to try to hang onto some sense of control. What is your fault you can fix, what is not you are powerless against. If you are powerless you are vulnerable to the whims of well, the foolish and totally depraved. That’s a scary truth to confront, sometimes too scary.
But, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” I was really driven and motivated to get better, to do better, to become an effective communicator. To know thyself well and to recognize thy needs.
I have been really blessed to have had a great deal of conflict with the Lord Himself, healthy conflict, joyful conflict, productive conflict. Conflict with God scares people sometimes, but I actually had nothing left to loose when I began. I was actually extremely skeptical about talking to God, about being honest, but nothing else seemed to be working in my life, so wutever. Like literally roll your eyes, talk to the hand, wutever, but sure, I’ll try it….
Today I have a powerful relationship with the Lord, built on the experience of having communicated my way through so many conflicts with Him. I also have a pretty good marriage developed in much the same way, pretty much just relentless preservation of connection in the midst of multiple conflicts.
In the past year or so I’ve been in a couple of situations that were triggering, that sent me right back into that state of, “It must be me. I’ll just have to try harder, communicate better.” Love the Holy Spirit, I’ve felt His nudge, that Still Soft Voice saying exactly what Danny Silk wrote, “No one listening means there is no more conversation.” When people can’t, won’t, or refuse to listen, you have to just walk away, you have to disconnect. There is no respect, no trust on their end, and so there can be no communication.
I’m kind of more like a pit bull, a powerhouse of all persistence, a communicator extraordinaire, who will try and try again and try some more, even when all reason and common sense says, “just let them go.”
One reason why it is so important to “know thyself well and to recognize thy needs,” is because the more you know yourself the easier it is for you to recognize and identify His voice in your life. “My sheep hear my voice.” I can sense the difference between His voice and mine, His will and mine, His wisdom and mine.
Navigating conflict well, it’s the secret to good relationships.