Monday, November 4, 2013

Conflict and Failure: Friends or Foes?

Larry Crabb asks the question, "We see conflict and failure as our enemies. How might these instead be the context for discerning the real enemy from which God seeks to free us?"

I have avoided conflict my whole life. Sorry, Duck Dynasty, I coined the phrase, "Happy, happy, happy" long before anyone knew you! I just want everyone to be happy and get along. I can't stand tension. Left to myself, I will flee any conflict long before I'll seek to resolve it. The tension makes me crazy, tongue-tied and illogical. I get sucked into rabbit trails and argue insignificant details as i lose sight of the real issue at hand.

I also avoid failure. I often give up on projects for fear of failure. I want to quit my job at almost every new sermon series for fear of failure. I have started many more things than I have completed, i.e. college degree programs. I can count at least seven that I started and zero that I have completed.

How can I sue all that, plus my feelings of failing at the most important job in the world (parenting) to discern the real enemy from which God wants to free me? Fear, Selfishness, Pride, Envy, Jealousy, Laziness, Food Addiction, Religiosity, In-authenticity: These things in me must die! God will stop at nothing in His quest to make me holy. He stopped at nothing on His part in leaving Heaven and allow humanity to brutalize Him. And He will stop at nothing on my part. Even to the point of seeming distant and uncaring. God loves me too much to coddle me. He is preparing me for eternity with Him.

Lord, forgive me for seeking the lesser blessings rather than seeking holiness. Forgive me for being angry with You for not being my "Giant Santa in the Sky" by giving me everything I think I need. I submit myself to Your loving discipline as You use conflict and failure in my life to free me from the things in my life that would separate me from You. Thank You that You desire to allow me into Your presence more than You desire to bestow temporary relief from conflict and failure.

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I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you think and how I can pray for you. Most of us are carrying some pretty heavy baggage and the good news is, you don't have to carry it alone! You can lay it at the feet of Jesus, and sometimes we need help just letting go of our baggage and not picking it up again. We're in this together!