Just My Thoughts

I CHOOSE CONFLICT 2

“I’ve always been like this.”

“This is my personality. This is me. Take it or leave it.”

“If you’re not used to it by now, then you don’t really know me yet.”

“People keep telling me this over and over again. They misunderstand me.”

Ever heard these things come out of your mouth? Well, they’ve sure come out of mine. People used to complain to me that I’m too frank, offensive, and bossy. Frankly, I didn’t care if I hurt anybody with what I said. To me, I was telling it as it was, how I saw it, and if you can’t handle the truth, then you’re weak. That was my personality before, and I always hid behind it. I used it as an excuse for my awful behavior, as if it were acceptable, and I expected my friends to tolerate how I was. If they couldn’t, then it was they who misunderstood me. I was impatient, prideful and self-righteous.

When I was younger and clueless, when I did not personally know the Lord yet, I chose conflict because I thought I cared enough for my friends, knowing that the truth is what will help them. But I didn’t care enough to change how I said it. I convinced myself that “that is how I am” and perpetuated my own foolishness.

But isn’t character more important than personality?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying having a personality is a bad thing. God made us each different from the other. I still have my personality. I am who I am. I’m still a strong, loud, frank, straight-to-the-point woman, but God is continually molding my character. He’s teaching me, especially through discipleship, that I can and should use my strengths or my personality the right way. Because of my personality, I can be honest when I counsel or give advice, but because of my hopefully growing character, I can relay it in a loving way and keep our conversation confidential. Because of my personality, I can teach, but because of God’s work in my life and character, I can teach a group of people from experience. Because of my strong personality, I can also discipline my kids effectively by giving them the rod and by talking to them, but when I am in a teaching moment with my kids, I tend to lose my patience. I can’t very well tell them to accept my behavior because it’s my personality to be loud and impatient. I have to exercise the character God wants me to work on (humility & patience) — I have to apologize too and do better next time.

In any kind of relationship, conflicts are sure to arise. There are times that we do need to pick our battles, meaning not everything should be argued about and sometimes we need to compromise. In the times that we feel that it is necessary to “fight” for something, we need to learn to fight clean.

That’s why our character must override our personality. We must give more importance to building our character than protecting our personality. If we can choose to engage instead of to ignore, if we can choose to be involved instead of to be indifferent, if we can choose conflict over comfort, then we can and must choose character over personality.

We can’t after all be touched by the Lord, and remain the same.

Just My Thoughts, Marriage, Parenting

I CHOOSE CONFLICT!

Being married and raising kids is a tough, tough job. But the way I see it, we spouses and parents, have two choices when we see our family members having trouble with something or doing something we don’t agree with or when we see that they’re about to make a big mistake. Do we engage or do we ignore? Do we talk about it or do we avoid confrontation?

Even though it’s exhausting, exasperating, dumbfounding and confusing, I’d rather engage my husband and children in conversation than not show them that I care about what they’re going through. Even though it takes more time and energy, my husband and I would rather teach our kids ourselves than let them learn everything on their own. We’d rather they hear it from us and learn from our wisdom and experiences as much as possible, than let them learn the hard way. Even though I am at risk of feeling burdened and heavy, I’d rather carry my husband and children’s burdens with them than risk making them feel alone and abandoned. Even though most of the time it means we will end up in an argument, I’d rather talk to them than pretend that an issue does not exist. Even though it takes harder work, I’d rather be involved in every aspect of my husband and every aspect of my children’s lives than be oblivious & passive. Even though I am prone to make mistakes, I’d rather do something with my God-given responsibility and gift than do nothing at all.

I CHOOSE CONFLICT OVER INDIFFERENCE ANY DAY.