relationships


Throughout my sixty years on the planet, I have met very few people who have a healthy attitude toward conflict. Rather, I have come across individuals who are either conflict creators or conflict avoiders. Conflict creators thrive on conflict and crave it. They therefore go out of their way to create it. Conflict avoiders are uncomfortable with conflict and run from it as if running for their life.

Needless to say, neither of these approaches grows out of a healthy attitude toward conflict. As far as I’m concerned, a healthy attitude toward conflict means you don’t create conflict for the sake of creating conflict, nor do you shy away from conflict when someone else initiates it.

As a former approval seeker and people pleaser par excellence, I fell into the category of conflict avoider. I gradually came to see though, that conflict is not inherently good or bad. It can be either productive or destructive depending on how it’s handled. It also seems to be an inevitable and unavoidable ingredient for change, whether on a relational level or on a social and/or political level. It’s too bad it has to be this way, as I’m sure civil rights workers and women suffragists would attest to. However, it is what it is.

As I developed a healthy attitude toward conflict I gradually came to see that there are actually some positive aspects of conflict. Some of these are: 1.They make us aware of problems in relationships that need to be resolved; 2.They facilitate change and personal growth; 3. They help you understand what you are like as a person; 4. They can deepen and enrich a relationship; and 5. They can stimulate creative thinking and problem-solving through exposure to different ways of viewing problems and situations.

In church circles, I have met many people who believe that conflict and controversy in the church is not okay, and that it is not okay to question or challenge church leaders. If you believe this, I encourage you to read the four gospels and the book of Acts. They are full of accounts of Jesus and his apostles and disciples confronting and challenging the religious leaders of their time. If they hadn’t, Christianity would never have been established and taken root.

Finally, if you are not sure how to go about resolving conflict in a relationship, here are some tips for constructive conflict resolution:

First – convince yourself that conflict is natural and is resolved through open and honest communication.

Second – Understand and accept the reality that this communication will not be tension-free.

Next – before discussing the conflict take whatever time you need to cool down and try to see the other person’s point of view as well as your own.

When discussing the conflict use “I” statements (I feel, I’m hurt, I’m angry NOT you are…); stick to one issue, do not bring other issues or problems into this discussion; focus on the issue, not the person: and listen for the feelings under the other person’s words.

Finally – know that it is okay to agree to disagree. Resolving the conflict does not mean you have to agree, it means you understand each other’s thoughts and feelings and have devised a solution that works for both of you.

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My daughter returns to work this week after her maternity leave (refer to my March 18th post, Reflections on Becoming a Grandma) and I will become my granddaughter’s nanny.

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). turn turn turn the byrds lyrics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKP4cfU28vM

Parenting is difficult. (That’s an understatement, wouldn’t you say?!)

I am sending this out to all parents who may be feeling frustrated, discouraged, worried, etc. I have found that when I’m upset, stressed, etc the best medicine for me is a good laugh. I therefore hope this will bring some laughter to any parents whose spirits need to be lightened.

I stumbled across this years ago. The title and the author are both unknown to me.

After creating heaven and earth God created Adam and Eve and the first thing He said was “Don’t!”
“Don’t what?” Adam replied.
“Don’t eat the forbidden fruit” God said.
“Forbidden fruit? We have forbidden fruit? Hey Eve, we have forbidden fruit!”
“No way!”
“Yes way.”
“DO NOT eat the fruit!” God said.
“Why?!”
“Because I’m your Father and I said so!” God replied, wondering why He hadn’t stopped creation after making the elephants.
A few minutes later God saw His children taking an apple break and was He ticked!
“Didn’t I tell you not to eat the fruit?” God, our first parent, asked.
“Uh huh,” Adam replied.
“Then why did you?” asked God.
“I don’t know,” said Eve.
“She started it!” said Adam.
“Did not!”
“Did too!”
“DID NOT!”

Having had it with the two of them God’s punishment was that Adam and Eve have children of their own. Thus, the pattern was set and it has never changed.

Whenever your children are out of control take comfort from the thought that even God’s omnipotence did not extend to His own children. If you have persistently and lovingly tried to give children wisdom and they haven’t taken it, don’t be hard on yourself. If God had trouble raising children what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for You?

Cheryl Robinson’s first two books,  And, Not Only That and In A Year’s Time, are novels about believable people facing challenges similar to the challenges many of us face as we walk through life. It is also about how their very real and tangible faith in God helped them face and overcome these challenges rather than getting mired down in them and letting the challenges and/or struggles define them.

And, Not Only That begins the story of three friends (Janole, Lynn and Tam) who meet in college and establish lifelong friendships. In A Year’s Time picks up their stories right where And, Not Only That ended. The characters are full-bodied and multi-dimensional. The dialogue is natural and believable. As I was reading the books I could see and hear the characters in my mind. Each book grabbed my attention on the first page and held it to the very last page. I was actually disappointed when I reached the end of each book.

Favorite quotes from And, Not Only That:

  • “Years later, Janole would look back on the memory of this young couple with tender compassion. Though they loved each other deeply, they simply weren’t equipped to handle issues that challenged the core of their beliefs and principles…The older and wiser Janole would ask, ‘did either of you seek God’s will and direction for your life?’ But she knows the answer. They had not.”
  • “She had been so busy finding her way that perhaps, ironically, she had lost her way.”
  • “…life, at times, can be mocking and unmerciful especially when the warning signs are ignored. No do-overs allowed.”

Favorite quotes from In A Year’s Time:

  • “God didn’t just speak to her, however. Miraculously, He infused Himself into her spirit such that peace replaced the desperation, a sense of calm replaced the anxiousness, and courage replaced fear.”
  • “Her arduous journey to recovery began when she left Paul to find herself. And, though it was a necessary journey, her greatest fear throughout was that Paul would not wait for her…that he would give up on her and their marriage. But, he hadn’t and neither had God. It was as if God was waiting on her to take the first step of faith. And after that initial step, He revealed himself to her–and Paul–in ways completely unexpected.”
  • “It was clear what she needed to do. She would be the prayer warrior for her son, her brother, her sister-in-law, and her dear friend. She would fight for them each day…in prayer. She already felt victorious and in the privacy of her home she continued to praise God. And, the more she praised Him the more she received. She gained new insight, joy, increased fortitude and a divine revelation. It could only be explained as a mountaintop experience. She was no longer worried, but encouraged and inspired.”

If you are interested in purchasing one or both books you can do so at amazon or kindle OR you can get it directly from the author at cherylmrob@yahoo.com.

My baby had a baby. My daughter had a daughter.

For the last few weeks, as I’ve been awaiting the birth of my first grandchild, I’ve been packing up many of our belongings, donating other belongings to Good Will, and finding new homes for much of our furniture. My husband and I are moving out of the house in which we raised our children, and moving into one in which we hope to live out our golden years.

The irony, or significance, of these two events occurring simultaneously has not escaped me. What continues to rumble around in my mind is the Circle of Life song from The Lion King, one of my favorite Disney movies when my children were young, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GibiNy4d4gc) as well as the first two verses of the third chapter of the biblical book of Ecclesiastes (“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.”)

As I was walking across the hospital parking lot the day I was going to meet my granddaughter, it struck me that the last few times I was in hospitals it was because I was saying goodbye to someone whose life was ending. This time I was about to say hello to someone whose life was beginning. As I held and rocked my granddaughter for the first time I felt an incredible sense of peace. I could have sat in that rocking chair with her indefinitely.

The circle of life. It keeps rolling on with a momentum of its own in spite of who is president, what the stock market is doing, where there is civil unrest or war, or who won the Super Bowl or an Academy Award. The circle of life. People are born, they grow up, they live, they die. It’s beautiful and it has a life and a momentum all its own.

Louis Armstrong – What A Wonderful World [HQ]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21LGv8Cf0us

 

 

My name is Mary. I’m a recovering people pleaser and approval seeker.

Growing up I learned that other people’s opinions were very important, that their opinions were the source of my self-worth and of love. I, of course, didn’t realize at the time that I was learning these things, however, I grew into an approval seeker and people pleaser PAR EXCELLANCE!

I lived this way for my first forty years on the planet. I then became a follower of Jesus Christ and my idea of where my self-worth and where love came from slowly began to change. As I walked with Christ he taught me that my source of self-esteem and self-worth does not come from the approval of people. It comes from my relationship with him. I am a child of God and therefore I have worth. He loves me, period. Jesus taught me that I cannot and do not need to earn his love. I cannot make him love me and I cannot make him not love me. He loves me no matter what, and he knew me and loved me before he placed me in my mother’s womb.

Fairly early in my faith walk (mid to late 1990s), I started experiencing a nagging sense that I was supposed to do something for God. It kept gnawing at me inside and wouldn’t go away. Though I had this sense, I didn’t have the faintest idea what God wanted me to do. In an effort to try to understand what it was I was supposed to do, I served in a number of different ministries. Though each of these were good and enjoyable and somewhat fulfilling, not one of them felt like the right fit. Each one felt like putting on a jacket with shoulders that were too tight or sleeves that were too short. I didn’t give up though, and eventually I found the right fit.

In 2003 God let me know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he wanted me to be a Celebrate Recovery leader. As I served in that capacity I knew I had finally found the right fit. I knew I was walking in the will of God for my life. This knowing was accompanied by a profound inner peace and joy that was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Soon after this I developed my personal definition of success, i.e. to faithfully fulfill my God-given purpose. That definition has not changed. I am now living my life for an audience of One. I am living to please God, not to please human beings. This extends to all areas of my life, not just the ministry I serve in. My ultimate measure of success, which flows naturally from my definition of success, will be to hear, when I stand before God, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

Since I put God in the driver’s seat of my life, I have not always been successful in leaving him there. There have been times when I put myself back in the driver’s seat, doing life my way. When I allowed God to be in the driver’s seat of my life, I experienced an internal peace and joy that surpasses all human understanding. The reason for this is that kind of peace and joy can only come from God. When I put myself back in the driver’s seat of my life, I was looking for that peace and joy to come from human achievements and human relationships. What I received was the peace and joy that the world gives. Having experienced both of these scenarios, I can tell you that the peace and joy that the world gives is hollow compared to the peace and joy that God gives. Nothing can compare to that deep certainty you feel when you know you are right where you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you were created to do.

I watched Charles Stanley on TV this morning while I was having my coffee. He preached on the prodigal son. Reminded me of this song. It’s one of my favorites.

When God Ran, Phillips, Craig & Dean http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5TATkbJSBk

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