Is it Time for a Mediator?

Conflict in life is unavoidable.

And conflict can be unnerving, but it is not impossible to navigate.

Actually, it can be worked through quite well, with just a few choice tips at your disposal.

Whether its working through a disagreement with your teen, talking to your spouse, or talking through a situation with someone you know, please read on if you want to know how to do conflict BETTER.

Most of us care about us resolving an issue – very acutely.  And yet, there are circumstances that can make this action more challenging.  For example, what if you’re healing from a physical illness at the same time you are having to deal with conflict resolution?  You may not feel good enough to know how to proceed in a timely manner.

Let’s take that very scenario – physical illness – and use it as an example here.  When you’re unwell, untangling an emotional or situational “mess” can be harder than usual.  You don’t feel your best, and, in fact, you can actually feel a lot more vulnerable.  You need to know that there are steps you can take before trying to work out the conflict in person.

The first step is always to pray and ask Holy Spirit for wisdom, clarity, and guidance.  Ask Him to show you areas where you need to clear your heart.  Forgiveness and a blameless heart are key to proceeding well.

Next, you may need to write a letter, which is the first step in being able to “mediate” a conflict situation.  It may be that you need another person to stand in as you talk out your heart with the other individual or group, but, for now, consider beginning here.

Here is an example of a note that you can write to the person in question that you wish to resolve the issue with, and it can either be delivered or you can paraphrase as you talk on the phone.  It can also just be used as a springboard for when you discuss in person:

“Dear ____________,

How are you?  I wanted to take a moment to reach out to you to see where you are at after we talked last, and to share a bit about what I’m feeling.  You’re really important to me, so this was at the top of my list to do so that the situation can get better as soon as possible.  I am not asking for answers here at this time – again, just sharing.

I am concerned that ___________________

I want to also apologize in advance for those things I said or did that hurt you.  Please forgive me – I know we can work this out.  I haven’t been in touch as soon as or as perfectly as I should have been because I’ve not been feeling my best lately.  Sorry about this! 😦

I’d love to set up a time at your favorite coffee shop to talk to you face-to-face (or wherever else you like).  [set a time that will allow you to recover some health/strength/energy if needed].  Do you have any ideas?

Again, you mean so much to me and I’m looking forward to getting to the other side of this with you as my friend.

With love,

____________________”

If you would feel like the in-person meeting needs the help of a mediator (someone to be a calming, fair, impartial presence), then you can add this in the letter

 

Right now, I foresee us being able to go forward in one of two ways:

The first option: schedule to meet with a third person we both trust (how about _____________ (date/time)?

The second option:  get together just you and me and focus on hearing each other out, first, and then talking more.

Thanks  in advance for understanding!

You can text, email, or call me with when works best for us to meet.

I look forward to seeing you,

________________”

Now, obviously you’ll need to modify it a bit based on who you’re talking with; some things may not be best worded for your teen/spouse/friend.  You’ll know as you revise it.

When you actually meet with the person, it’s best to keep in mind how you’re going to proceed with the conversation, and set some loving guidelines down ahead of time.  It’s got to be fair for both people.  It’s important that both sides feel safe, respected, and have a chance to be heard, without being interrupted.

A mediator is not always required to solve a conflict, but they can be a very beneficial part of successful conflict mediation when the going gets tangled.


Note, if you are struggling with an illness during a difficult season of life, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.  It’s good to seek health wisdom from those who are trained and certified to best assist you, but it’s equally important to consider natural health solutions and help from those who also affirm your faith.  Health is so integrally connected to our God-given spirit, soul, and body.  For more information, visit revivehealthinstitute.org, or contact your holistic specialist or physician.

Improve Your Communication

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Do you want to be a person skilled at communication?

Do you want to be able to bring peace into discussions instead of inflaming others around you?

The good news is, communication is a learned skill.  Some people are blessed with personalities and dispositions that lend themselves to peacemaking.  However, for the majority of us, learning to communicate well comes with time, experience, and connection with the Great Communicator Himself.

Schramm’s Model of Communication

Schramm's Model of Communication

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see from Schramm’s Model of Communication, it’s not as simple as “You tell me a message, and I understand it immediately, perfectly, exactly as you intended to share it.”

If only!

When I share a message with you, those words go on a trip through various filters and then are received in a particular way by you.

There’s skill in relating a concept, and there’s skill involved in receiving and interpreting it.

The point that so many miss is to hear the message as the speaker intended it,  not as we’d want to hear it.

Good communication is worth pursuing, as it sets the tone for unity, helps those we love feel cherished and appreciated, and brings glory to God.

9 steps you can take NOW toward gaining GREAT Communication:

  1.  Refuse to interrupt.  Let the person finish.  If the speaker is someone who tends to overtake conversations, you will need to step in at some point and gently ask if you could share some thoughts.  Feel free to set the tone at the beginning of a discussion that helps everyone remember that interruption is not welcome.
  2. Repeat words (to encourage explanation) and rephrase what the speaker says.  This way, they feel that you are really listening.
  3. Use phrases like, “It sounds like…” or “I think I hear you saying…” or “It seems like…”.  Again, it will build satisfaction and trust in the speaker.  They will sense that you are there to get the gist of their point, rather than just working on your next soliloquy.
  4. Affirm them and build them up verbally.  This need not be fake – give genuine praise, and watch your listener bloom with newfound joy.
  5. Seek to understand, not be understood.  You can’t control whether or not you are understood – never give that power to someone else.  No one should have the power to make you happy.  Happiness is a choice you alone have to make.  Ironically, when you seek to understand someone else, you receive the joy of walking in love.
  6. Take a breather if conflict intensifies.  Before getting into an unproductive argument, kindly excuse yourself for a brief getaway to the next room to collect your thoughts.  Never continue out of an explosive, passionate anger.  If you start to feel triggered (shutting down, angry, defensive, etc.), ask if the other person would pray for you.  Also, pray for them.  If you’re at a point where you struggle to pray for them, you need to have a brief separation so that you can be in control of your own emotions and words.  Proverbs 16:32 says this: He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules (has control over) his spirit than he that takes a city. Did you catch that?  Wow.  God is saying that, if you are a person who does not fly off at the mouth whenever you’re angry, you’re better than someone who takes a whole city by force!  It’s easier to affect destruction by sheer emotional determination than it is to bridle your tongue.
  7. Have an attitude of belief toward children.  Give “the benefit of the doubt” when talking with a child.  This one may seem out of place.  But, as adults, we have a tendency not to understand the communication of children and want to pass it off for convenience’ sake, or because it may seem silly.  But kids are trying to communicate subjects that may be hard for them to articulate.  They also are in a developmental place of life where they need much encouragement, not shut down.  Their spirits and hearts are tender.
  8. Apologize and forgive.  Do this as often as necessary, as is appropriate.  Keep your dignity, but be humble.  Apology clears your heart from harboring offense.  We make mistakes along the journey to maturity in Christ.  Instead of expecting ourselves and others to be perfect, we walk in holy grace.
  9. 9.  Pray to be a better communicator.  Pray God’s Word.  Actively claim it and decree it.

 

Sowing LIFE with Words & Actions

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2 Corinthians 9:6, 10:  He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully…He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.

What we choose to do with anger, fear, frustration, and upset will determine our health and our relational health.

It is true that you can eat all the right foods in the world and miss many of their helpful benefits because your emotional and spiritual health are not good.  How can we be healed if we harbor anxiety, anger, fear inside?  Here is where we can make the connection – diseased minds equal diseased bodies.

Jesus bought our peace on the cross.  He paid for us to enter into Hebrews 4 rest.  While the world tells us to STRIVE to gain peace and happiness, Jesus says, “I have already accomplished it legally.  You can never earn a place of rest.  Rest comes by being in right standing with Me.  Come to Me, for my yoke is easy, and My burden is light.  I do the ‘heavy lifting’ so that you don’t have to!”  These promises from the Lord give us the ability to kick out destructive emotions and oppressions.

Anger and unforgiveness actually produce poison in the body that not even superfoods can totally eradicate.  Anger signals a personal goal that has been blocked.  Additionally, anger causes great inner tension and turmoil, which leads to pain.  Our bodies can manifest this issue as stomach ulcers, reflux, heart disease, and more.  Fear is also devastating, and has been shown in the research of Be in Health ministries and other Spirit-filled ministries to be a major contributor in the lives of those battling cancer.  We are 3-fold beings, and we can’t separate our physical self from our emotional and spiritual selves.  It’s part of God’s design.  If you think about it, the design is ingenious.  It allows us to know when we’re not living in total freedom, so that we CAN receive what God has in the way of His perfect release.

Worry also robs us of our wellbeing, in ways both subtle and obvious.  Worry and fear aim to lower the immune system’s function.  Spending time worrying is like biting into a sugary donut – it feels desirable at first, but ends up putting us at risk for sickness.  Resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness are not our friends, either.  There’s a saying that goes, “Bitterness is the poison we drink hoping that someone else will be harmed”.  It’s so true!

Jesus is really the example we look to when assessing how to conduct ourselves while on this planet.  Being human in form, He experienced weariness as a result of the normal day-to-day activities and travels.  At the end of the day, He certainly felt that He had spent Himself and given of His physical energy.  Yet He never suffered with the bad health brought on by anxiety, fear, worry, and the like.

Did you know that even less than 15 minutes of ungodly anger can sap you of a large quantity of strength that you could have applied toward productive living?  It’s true.  God has blessed us with the ability to help grow His Kingdom, and if we spend our vigor on unworthy, ungodly things, we are actually holding His grace in contempt.

But, not to invite condemnation, for there is NO condemnation for those in Christ, who cling to a life surrendered to Him.

If we sow to self-pity and selfishness, we will reap a harvest of them.  If we say “YES” to God and the life He has given us, we will reap the fruit of the Spirit.  Sometimes we find ourselves in a place of frustration over our situation in life, and we are tempted to be ungrateful, angry, frustrated, and unloving.  It’s understandable.  However, we cannot give the darkness free reign.  We must “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”.  We have been given divine authority, and we must choose to use it.  Using it requires a choice to exercise our will and our discipline, which we cannot freely do without the supernatural empowerment of Holy Spirit.

Be blessed as you begin to agree with God and line up with His heart for you.

Are you Angry for this Reason?

Angry catWhat is anger at the heart of it all?

We know that it results from desires that wage war in our flesh (James 4:1-2).  It is also described in many places in the Word as foolishness (Proverbs 14:17, Ecclesiastes 7:9, etc.).  Anger is a flag that injustice has occurred.  It is also an indicator that a person’s personal preferences have been challenged.

If you want to know what anger is, and why it happens, you’ll discover many angles from which to study it.

Recently a good friend announced a definition of anger that struck the dead center of what the experience has been for so many of us.

He said, “Anger equals blocked goals.”

Wow.

He nailed it, in one succinct sentence.

Anger is usually paired with frustration.  We experience a blocked goal, and we get frustrated.  The frustration triggers anger, and anger (if not rightfully dealt with), leads to rage and violence.  Look at the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4.  A root of bitterness defiled Cain and he allowed anger to fester.  Eventually, it lead to the demise of his younger brother.

It’s not to say that all (selfish) anger will lead to this level of destruction.  But we can see that anger, at least in Cain’s case, loomed large because his goal of impressing God with his offering was dashed.  He doubtless had other goals, as well: receive belonging from God, gain a sense of acceptance spiritually and/or within his family, and more.

Blocked goals.  What happens to you when a goal of yours is blocked?  What runs through your mind?  How do you start feeling?

Take a moment…think about what has frustrated you lately.

Grab a hot cup of something wonderful, and get out a pen and paper.  Reach out to Jesus and ask Him to show you what blocked goals have been causing you to feel angry.  Let Him reveal where the issues have been.  He will share life-giving truths and speak right to your heart.  Whatever He needs to correct, He does in love and without an ounce of condemnation (if you hear condemnation, it’s the enemy!).

As God reveals the inner workings of your heart, you will be in a better position to do two things:

  1. See where you’ve gotten off track and where sin has taken a foothold.  Armed with this revelation, you can begin to repent (turn from) and renounce the snares.   Forgive whoever has been a part of tempting you to be angry, including yourself.
  2. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what goals (expectations) are good ones and can stay.  The ones which are not good or helpful or leading you to become more godly–either adjust them to reflect truth, or get rid of them altogether. For example, if one of your frustrations is with your kids because you feel they don’t listen to you, be aware that the lie underlying the situation is that your kids, at some level, are the problem.  If they are the problem, there’s no good solution.  However, if you replace the lie with the truth, that there is a problem BETWEEN you and your kids – now you have something constructive to work with that will keep anger from gushing like Old Faithful.

Anger can often feel so volatile.  When a person gets caught up into the whirlwind of anger, it’s easy to see what normally results – loss of control, and loss of understanding of our identity as the beautiful one whom the Lord passionately loves.  When you can begin to understand what is causing the anger, you can make a few powerful adjustments that will keep you riding high on His peace.