Back in 2015, Matt and I took a trip to visit Lakewood Church in Houston, TX. After hearing many opinions about said church and pastor (both negative and positive), we decided to hop off the gossip train and check out all the hearsay for ourselves.
Visiting that church was such a life-changing, healthy experience for us that I decided to blog about it afterward. 100,000+ views and multiple shares later, I found myself asking my husband to shut down the comment section on the website.
In a matter of hours, we were called everything from false prophets to undercover church attendees who were paid to ghost write an article. I had no idea who these people were. They knew nothing about me outside of content in the blog.
Still, I was sick to my stomach for days thinking about the fact that there were people in this world who disliked or even hated me, and I couldn’t do anything to change their opinion.
After asking Matt to disable the comments, I remember lying in bed with the covers over my head. I was disappointed in myself for the lack of courage and resiliency present in my life.
While most would take pity, my reaction more sense in the grand scheme of this not being a one-time event, for the sick feeling deep in my core wasn’t new or adverse. Rather, this sinking sensation had become like an unwanted friend; it was the same familiar companion that came around anytime I had a conversation with someone that involved opposing views.
While my psyche could blame it on the blog, I knew this is who I was on the inside all the time – someone who was afraid of any type of conflict. My initial instinct to conflict was always to first run and hide, similarly to what I was doing at the time under a heavy comforter in a dark room.
Last week, Matt described three categories of people that we all fall into when it comes to conflict. If you’re like me and can raise your hand after description No. 1 (people who try to run from conflict), then welcome to the club.
It’s a non-confrontational party where problems find no solutions and leaders don’t grow in their capacity, yet we all remain unoffended and passive. Sounds great, right? (Some of you are probably screaming, “Yes!”)
In my mind, conflict was always associated with anger. Conflict meant broken relationships. Conflict was connected to a power struggle. These connotations had stemmed from a plethora of examples in my past.
While all true examples, they were not healthy examples. Though unaware of it at the time, staring at the ceiling that evening was the start of my journey toward health in conflict.
Unwilling to allow things to continue the way they were, here are the practical steps I took to gain courage, confidence and competence toward resolving peace with others.