Whether a student gets in trouble, a parent gives you negative feedback or the pastor is layering on the work load conflict is going to happen. Not sure why I find myself confused by the tension that fills this profession because ministry is filled with conflict. Like it or not Satan is going to attack us, he’s going to kill, steal and destroy our joy. When conflict and tension arise the best thing we can do is lean in and trust God. But then again, there’s serious conflict (like dealing with a death) and then their’s the petty stuff (like immaturity).
It would be unfair and unprofessional of me to write about specific incidences of unnecessary conflict without permission of each party, but I’m not going to deny that there was conflict. This year was filled with situations that could have been avoided and this is why:
- I Stopped Investing: Whether it was because I got busy or wasn’t aware of a need there were times when conflict occurred because the person or project lost my attention. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a control thing, it’s a nurturing thing. Because there was a lack of leadership in certain situations (whether my doing or not), voids were created. What filled that void? Ugliness.
- I Didn’t Lean In: Basically, I prayed, hoped and wished a small thing would go away. Instead it festered and grew into something nasty. What should have been handled weeks or months ago got uglier. If you sense conflict lean in early and discover the source.
- I Did It On My Own: There were times this year where conflict was caused by my pride. I was too proud to ask for help, I was too proud to receive God’s Grace, so I became burned out, jaded and hard to deal with.
I’m not trying to be hard on myself, because I know conflict is going to happen. If you are following Christ, Satan is going to attack you; however, there are times when the tension can be avoided. In order to face conflict with a healthy attitude we should give ourselves time with God, seek out accountability and trust that God will bring us through the dark valleys.
Where have you seen unnecessary conflict?