I have never been one to shy away from conflict.. likely due to the fact that while unpleasant, thanks to my parents, I learned that when dealt with, things are always resolved and better afterwards. However, just because I do not shy away from conflict, does not actually mean I like conflict, just that it has to be resolved in order to move forward... and move forward in a healthy way.
Lately, I feel like I have been surrounded by conflict, some of it I am fairly certain I have caused, others it has taken everything in me not to merely just drop everything and run from the person and situation, and still other bits of conflict have evoked an immediate reaction to the situation.
Let me just pause again and say that, conflict resolution is exhausting, especially when there seems to be lots of it from different places in a very short amount of time.
I know that, probably like most, I do a terrible job at resolution when I am tired; and I have spent the better part of the last month exhausted. Honestly, I was completely worn out until last weekend when I was finally able to sleep, and sleep for more than a couple hours at a time... And then, I was able to wake up with no where to immediately be, which is a nice change of pace as well.
Anyway, I digress...
Resolving conflict is tiring, it is unpleasant, it is frustrating, and it often brings out the worst in you before it will bring out the best, but every time on the other side I am thankful for the experience, the situation, and the person who stuck it out with me instead of hiding or running from me. Because, like most everything that is good in this world, it takes two people to make things work, especially if it is the relationship itself. Not everyone I have had conflict with lately has been willing to stand and fight with me to resolve our disagreement, which is frustrating beyond words, but I have come to realize lately that, I have a much larger pool of friends and loved ones than most who will stand and fight with me til resolution. Even if our conflict puts us on opposing sides, they will continue to work it out until we have figured out what is wrong and how to move forward.
Let me be the first to say, I have handled a lot of the situations poorly or at the very least, not as well as I would have liked. But, I think what has made it so exhausting lately is the sheer amount of it I have dealt with in such a short amount of time... Mostly small things that just evoke emotional reactions, things that have been thrown in my face, some that only brought about immediate anger, and other situations that forced me to choose what was more important to me; being right or showing love and respect to the person in front of me...
Can I just say, choosing love and respect is really difficult when you are angry at the person for something they have done and/or said...
But, I would also like to say, the difficulty or frustration felt when restraining the impulse to say or do something in retaliation is always worth it in the end. Otherwise, you are only left you feeling worse, unresolved, and now needing to also apologize on top of the initial hurt and emotion. So, while I have yet to entirely master this restraint-in-the-heat-of-the-moment thing, the few times I was able to keep it together, I always felt better in the end. Not because I felt like I had "done less wrong" and definitely not because I felt more right, but because hurting those you love never makes you feel better in the end... you just end up feeling like a scum of a person.
So, I guess the bottom line that I am feeling is that, despite the struggles relationally lately, I am learning a lot, I am somewhat begrudgingly growing, but I am growing and working for friendships that are totally worth fighting for. Talk about un-fun but entirely needed life lessons to learn. Sheesh.
and Self-Control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Sometimes I hate the fruits of the spirit, and other times I am overwhelmed by receiving them from others.