Growing Pains

Lately I have been facing down one of the weak injured areas in my life. My inability to enter into conflict, even when not saying anything means that I or someone else is being harmed. I believe in living peacefully with everyone, but in order for relationships to be healthy or situations to be healthy, you have to be willing to communicate that something is not Ok and be willing to have awkward, hard conversations so that the relationship or the situation can be healthier. This is not easy for me. And that is an understatement. I found myself in a situation this past week where I had to address several people about a situation and we had a group message going on. Every time my phone notified me of a new message I had a physical response. My adrenaline was going full blast, I felt like I needed to go for a run to shake off how shaky I felt. I was agitated, I couldn’t think straight and I just wanted to run and hide. And I was kind of asking God why on earth I was having to go through this. I could have just kept my mouth shut, let the whole messy thing slide by. But I really felt like this was something God wanted me to do. For my own sake. 

This week, for my Bible reading, I have been reading through the book of Numbers. Not my favorite book. I’ve kind of just been plowing through. Lots of questions. Lots of things I don’t understand. Not really feeling like this was a book that was going to personally touch my life. So, I was sitting at my table, early in the morning, still feeling bowed down from the ongoing conflict. And I started reading about how God had spies from the Israelite camp go into Canaan and come back and give a report. And they came back saying the new land was amazing, wonderful…but full of giants and we can never take the land and we are all going to die.. And I suddenly felt overwhelmed with remorse. I am being just like them. God is trying to lead me into a new land, a place of health and wholeness, and all I can do is complain. I don’t like this. This is too hard. I don’t want to do this. 

The Israelites were facing a big enemy and they had a big battle ahead of them. But they also had a big God who had already proved he could slay any enemy, part the red sea, provide water from the rock, bread from heaven. God had alread proved himself capable and faithful to help them with any challenge. And on the other side of the battle was their new home. The promised land. And the thing that was keeping them from moving forward was lack of faith. 

And I found myself praying for forgiveness for my lack of faith. Increase my faith Lord! I believe you have goodness waiting for me on the other side and that you will help me as I grow in this area. I am not alone in my battles. 

Now, several days later, the angsty part of the conflict is over. Everyone’s voices were heard. Grievances were aired. I don’t feel like we came to any amazing conclusion, but we are once again moving peacefully forward and some stronger boundaries have been set. And we now have a precedent to look back at when new troubles arrive and more hard conversations need to happen. Shaky steps of growth happening. And my faith feels a little bit stronger. 

Just a Thought

My eight year old daughter was sitting next to me on the couch today. I noticed that she was wearing an old watch on her arm. It was silver and obviously too big for her. 

 

Me: Where did you get that? 

Nomi: What? 

Me: The watch, where did you get that watch? 

Nomi: (continues to play with a toy, doesn’t look up) Miss Linda.

Me: Miss Linda? 

Nomi: Yeah.

Me: (wracking my mind, trying to place this name…a teacher at school? Someone at church? A neighbor?) Who’s Miss Linda? 

Nomi: Miss Linda! 

Me: Who’s Miss Linda! 

Nomi: IT’S MISS LINDA!!!

 

You would think that at this point in time I would realize that this method of interrogation was not working and I should try a different approach. But, no.

 

Me: WHO’S MISS LINDA?!?!?!?!?!

Nomi: Mom, it’s Miss Linda. 

 

I stared at her in frustration. Then it clicked. My husband had taken two of his little daughters with him when he did a quick Saturday side job to put up a ceiling fan for Miss Linda, a retired woman he has done work for in the past. It was a chance for him to have some daddy-daughter time and a chance for Miss Linda to spoil some little girls. 

 

Ok. Mystery solved. 

 

Then one of my sons walked in the room, spotted the watch with his laser eyes, and quickly went into attack mode..

 

Judah: Where did you get that???

Nomi: Miss Linda.

Judah: Who’s Miss Linda? 

Nomi: It’s Miss Linda! 

 

I inwardly groaned as I knew I was now going to hear this whole conversation again. But as I watched my daughter I noticed a certain spark in her eye, a smug set to her mouth. She was having fun with this. 

 

What is it about kids loving to create conflict? 

 

MOM! SHE TOUCHED ME!

DID NOT!

DID TOO!

DID NOT!

DID TOO!

 

And on and on and on. 

 

I remember being exactly the same. It wasn’t until I was an older teenager that I started realizing that I didn’t have to react every time my brother pushed my buttons. And I didn’t have to push his buttons every time the opportunity presented itself. I presumed that it’s just part of growing up; learning how to live at peace with people, no longer delighting in sparking conflict. 

 

Enter FaceBook Stage Right. 

 

Don’t get me wrong. I love getting on FaceBook. I love seeing who just got engaged. Adorable baby photos. Who just got a new job. I love reading interesting articles that people post. Beautiful photos of far-off places. FaceBook can be a lot of fun. 

 

Then you have those posts that say, “If you don’t agree with my position, then you are STUPID!” And then someone comments: OH YEAH! WELL, YOU’RE STUPID!

AM NOT!
ARE TOO!
AM NOT!
ARE TOO!

 

Apparently the need to stir up arguments and be difficult Doesn’t go away when you grow up. 

 

I am not saying there isn’t a place for expressing ideas that differ from others. And I think there is definitely a time to say, I disagree with you, and this is why…I guess what always baffles me is why we can’t have differing opinions or even heated discussions without remaining respectful of each other. It is possible to believe strongly in something, have a desire to share that belief with others, and still not be rude or disrespectful to the people who believe differently than you. In fact, if you remain respectful, you will probably have a much better chance at sharing your beliefs with others. 

 

Just a thought.