Full Circle Relationships~

Full Circle Relationships~

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I hate conflict. I’ve always hated conflict. In fact, I believe I spent many of my “young adult” years avoiding conflict as much as possible, especially in my college years, and early in my role as a Pastor’s wife. Yet conflict is often inevitable. For me, the problem with being IN a conflict was that I felt I needed to fix the relationship as quickly as possible. My nature is to want to be friends and friendly with others to the best of my ability; conflict simply makes me anxious and sad.

Making peace, however, is not always resolving the conflict. Sweeping challenges under a rug is not helpful in sustaining long-term quality relationships. Nevertheless, I have been learning over the past 10 years that if I do what I can to bring resolve, even letting the relationship go for a season, it often comes around “full circle” where resolve and understanding are uniquely applied anew. I have been surprised by this many, many times. Watching this take place in my life both takes me by surprise and, frankly, makes me very happy.

I’ve gained a few insights as I’ve pondered all of this and I want to share just a few with you.

  1. In a conflict, especially in the heat of it, don’t say everything you are thinking. Emotions are interesting and can cause us to respond so defensively or angrily that what we say, in the moment, can cause greater harm than the conflict itself. The example of opening a feather pillow, letting the feathers fly out, and then trying to put them all back inside the pillow is a good picture of how the things we say can be impossible to retract. In a conflict it is better to cautious of what we say if we desire the relationship to have resolve one day.
  2. Be willing to let things go. In many of the full circle relationships I have experienced I have not been “justified” nor have the other parties necessarily apologized. When I look over all the goodness that has surrounded my life, all the blessings…it just doesn’t seem right for me to hang on to disagreements, necessary endings, or misunderstandings. I want to move on, beyond the conflict and be ready to forgive. Life is too short to harbor anger and resentment. Anger changes me; it doesn’t make me the best version of myself!
  3. Learn from the conflict. What was my part? What could I have done better? What should I have avoided? How can I grow from this challenge? My dad used to use the statement about finding a “pony in the poop”! J There is always something to gain from our challenges if we are willing to really dig for it! And, there are always two sides to a relational challenge.
  4. Use the conflict to grow in grace.   Conflicts are real, and sometimes, relational challenges can cause really deep hurts; real scars. And yet as I look at the grace I have been given over and over and over again; unmerited favor, I am challenged to practice grace with those around me. Some situations require more time on my knees but at the end of the day bitterness never wins.
  5. It’s okay to have boundaries in a challenging relationship. There are times when a relationship comes full circle and there is peace where there has been conflict. But~ the relationship may require more caution, even good boundaries in the days forward. Boundaries can be wise if they are applied with kindness and understanding. I have relationships that I know can be toxic; in those instances I will limit the amount of time I spend in connection with them.
  6. Last of all~ never slam the door shut on a relationship.   Honestly, life can be surprising. People Change. Time changes people. Challenges bring fresh understanding. We NEVER know what can and will happen in a relationship; keep the possibilities in front of you.

Reconciliation is at the very heart of God; starting with our reconciliation with Him. His heart is that His people would walk together in peace and understanding. However, this can prove to be a real challenge as we do life with others. In families, in the workplace, in the church, even in the community; conflict can happen. Hopefully you will see relational challenges in your life come full circle in the days ahead as you practice caution with your words, grace and forgiveness, and are willing to own your part! Dr. Phil always says “This situation needs a hero; will it be you?”

Some Relationships are Worth Extra Effort~

 

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Do you hate conflict? I sure do!! I used to run from it for many years; never expressing myself, wanting to please and appease! But I have learned two things:

1.  It’s so important to address challenges/disagreements in relationships.

2.  It’s so important to be willing to be humble to “not be right” in order to maintain relationships that DO matter.

In my life I am clearly aware that I have friendships/relationships that I want to, well, last forever.  There are times, even in those key relationships, that there may be disagreements.  How do we navigate some of those challenges without losing the friendship? Well, I am still learning.

There are times when it’s important to set boundaries on toxic or untrustworthy relationships…but there are also times when we might want to walk away from a relationship where there has been a challenge and yet, we know in our hearts we want them in our life!

Questions we can ask ourselves in these instances are these:

1. Though there may be a conflict right now, would I be saddened to lose my relationship because of our present challenge?

2.  Could there be a bridge built in our relationship if I humble myself and try to understand the heart and season of my friend?

3. Can I extend grace and am I willing to move forward?

Relationships are so important, take care, wisdom, and a humble heart to navigate~~ but they are worth it!!!

Proverbs 17:17A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.

John 15:13“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

Conflict–it happens…

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Conflict happens……….ugh!  even amongst the most amazing, professional, creative, and caring people!!

In thinking about conflict there are 6 points to consider!!

Be careful not to interfere in haste.  It’s important not to take sides in conflict any more than is necessary!  If the conflict isn’t a vision issue, and it seems to be resolving on its own, it is best to allow the process to take its course. When the leader gets involved in conflict, it takes on a new life, it can heighten the conflict. I may make it worse!

Listen carefully. There is always two sides o fa conflict. And each side may have valid points. It’s important that I hear not only what is said, but also what is unspoken. That takes asking questions, getting to know the members of a team, and not assuming I know what people are thinking simply by what they say!! Not all behaviour styles express themselves openly, may have to dig a little deeper. Understanding the basis of conflict and the opposing viewpoints is critical to understanding the conflict.

Communicate. During times of conflict, it’s even more important that communication be clear and consistent. Many times, conflict happens due to a lack of clarity or miscommunication. Information often makes conflict easier to resolve. As a leader, part of my responsibility is making sure the team communicates effectively.

Discern the real issue. Conflict develops for a number of reasons; not all of them good. Conflict develops over power struggles, weak leadership or even personality differences. Discerning the nature of the conflict, and if there is a root issue (often unspoken or undefined), can help avoid trying to solve the perceived conflict, when the real issue is something completely different. Having the DISC of these leaders in front of you does help in navigating how they are filtering the conflict!

Monitor impact. As I said, conflict in and of itself is not bad, it can create good growth, but it is important to be mindful that conflict doesn’t begin to harm the unity of the team!! When individuals begin to attack each other personally, act in anger, or distract from team progress, it’s time for the leader to interfere. You just have to step up and help bring a resolve,the clients we are serving deserve this!!

Vision. Ultimately, my job as a coach, is to maintain the integrity of the vision.  To help leaders finish well!! Conflict can enhance or interfere with attaining the vision. My job is to continually help the team to keep the big picture in mind!!

Don’t be afraid of conflict on a team. Good leaders learn to manage it for the overall good of the team.

Leader, how do you manage conflict on your team?

Be willing to address and engage when team members disagree..it could be a great opportunity to stretch and grow!! It could be……………