Can we talk?
I don’t know. Can we? Hold on to the question.
As the self-appointed communication evangelist, my prayer is that God uses me to help people talk to each other. As I travel all over the country as a communication trainer, serve on a church staff, and live and breathe my own life, I find this task is not so simple. I’ll admit, dealing with conflict is no picnic. But the damage caused by refusing to talk to each other is wreaking havoc and I can’t stay silent.
There are lots of reasons people stop talking to each other during a disagreement. I find there are deeply rooted myths, communication styles, gender differences, and many other factors that encourage people to take cover instead of engage in a difficult conversation. Take a look at this list of myths; do any of these look familiar?
- Conflict damages a relationship.
- Conflict is unacceptable in a church family.
- Respect equals compliance.
- If I’m a peacemaker I won’t engage in conflict.
- God doesn’t want us to disagree.
- Resolution is 50/50.
- If I can’t win, I won’t engage.
- If you can’t something nice, don’t say anything at all.
- Conflict will damage the unity God requires.
By definition, myths are false, so if you have been sucked into any of the myths above, I’d love to be some tiny part of releasing you from the lies. Believing these myths only creates the very problems we fear, which brings up the real root of the conflict avoidance: fear.
Is there a situation or person you are avoiding? For now, I want you to just fill in the blank. I’m afraid if I talk to _____ about this conflict _____.
Name it. Name your fear. Understand you are so completely normal and God understands.
That’s all I’m asking you to do right now. I’ll be back with more next article. For now, name your fear and know I’m praying this prayer for all of us:
Thank you for giving us community. Give us your courage, your wisdom, your eyes, your ears, your words, your heart to work through problems and show the world a better way, your way.
After serving as Children’s Minister since 2010, Amanda Box is now the Connections Minister for Meadowbrook Church of Christ in Jackson, Mississippi. As Connections Minister, she works with ministry leaders, small groups, and new members. Previous career adventures include all things communication. Amanda has consulted with business and industry for over 20 years to equip people with improved communication skills so they are able to do their best work every day. Additionally, Amanda was a full-time college professor for 10 years and also spent four years as the public relations professional for a non-profit. Amanda earned her undergraduate degree in communication from Freed-Hardeman University in 1991 and a master’s degree in communication from Mississippi College in 1993. Amanda and her husband Chuck of 25 years live in Jackson with their three children: Trey, Isabelle, and Hazel.