Cliff jumping, sky diving, bungie jumping, being throw in a lions den; all of these situations are equally as terrifying to me as confronting someone! Yeah I know that sounds ridiculous, I hear it every time I allow myself to admit it. However, since when has fear ever made sense? What is ironic is that most people who know me well seem shocked when they hear that I am afraid of confrontation. However that fear has been a major hinderance in me being able to have deep and honest relationships.
I am a big advocate for journaling. I believe that if we can open up and be honest about where we are it's the first step in bringing freedom to that area. Journaling has been freeing for me. It is unfiltered, it is ugly, it is honest, and it is also where I am most myself. Having my journal exposed is not my favorite thing; however I am tired of the "social media world" where everything looks perfect and beautiful and no one seems to have a bad day. I hope that by me opening up and shedding light on my fears (this is the first of more to come) it will do something in you to help you expose and deal with your own fear. "The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it." John 1:5
I have truly been blessed with the most amazing parents. I have a mom who is confident but humble. My mom is unashamed about who she is; but she doesn't take herself too seriously either. She is honest with people, and she does not shy away from tough conversations because she cares for people. My dad is gracious and kind. He too will have tough conversations with people, but usually he does it in a way that they don't even know they've just had a tough conversation. Both of them are great confronters but in completely different ways. One might think that being raised in that environment would make me naturally good at it too; but it didn't. My parents created a lot of safety for me. I defaulted to them for many of my tough decisions. Even when I did make my own decision my parents would tell me that I could make them my scapegoat and put the blame on them. It was kind of them and it did protected me from a lot of bad situations growing up. However, because of my personality it created something in me that never developed a healthy way to stand up for myself or defend my beliefs. I could always pass the blame onto someone else. I could say, "You know, I really want to but MY PARENTS (eye roll) won't let me." Or, "My parent's just really don't think that's a good idea." Or, "My parent's make me go to church every week so I can't do that this weekend." Whatever the situation I didn't really have to defend my own convictions or my own beliefs.
My senior year of high school I did not want to play basketball. I had played every year since 6th grade and I was tired. I may have also had a slight case of senioritis. I had really bad shin splits when I played and didn't want to do it any more. I played the first tournament of the season and decided to quit, I stood in front of my team and told them I was quitting. I owned my decision. My best friend was extremely hurt that I was quitting OUR SENIOR YEAR! The season would take up much of her time and we wouldn't get to spend a lot of our senior year together, traveling and creating memories. We didn't talk for almost a week. It was one of the first times that I stood up for myself and my decision and it did not go so well. When we did finally decide to meet and discuss where I was coming from and where she was coming from we were able to mend things. However as we were hugging and apologizing to each other SHE DIED in my living room! Don't worry she didn't stay dead! Her heart stopped and she stopped breathing. Paramedics had to use the defibrillator on her like 4 times! She arrived at the hospital in a coma and on a ventilator. She had been without oxygen for about 2 minutes and they said that even if she did come out of a coma she would probably be brain dead. Miraculously she came out of the coma the next day and she is alive and well today, and still my best friend! She does have a pace-maker and defibrillator but no permanent problems.
When I process my fear of confrontation or open and honest communication in friendship I think, "So what's the worst that could happen by confronting this person about the way that I feel?!" And then I think, "Oh I don't know, they could DIE!"
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and they say something to the effect of, Do you remember two years ago when I really needed you and you never responded to my text?! Well that really hurt me! And you're like, "Um two years later really?!" That is sort of how I feel about the way I confront, or the reason I don't like to confront. I am a person who processes my feelings, situations, and circumstances. In the moment I don't like to react because I'm not completely sure how I feel. However, later I think about how it made me feel and I can usually get pretty worked up about it. The problem is, to that person the time is over, we've moved on. How do I go back and deal with a situation when the moment has passed? Most of the time when I do bring back up the conversation or the situation the person says to me, "Well why didn't you tell me at the time?" Usually my thought is, "Cause at the time I didn't know how I felt!" This is the struggle for me. Usually once I process a situation it feels too late to rehash it so I don't bring it up. After a few times of processing and stifling my feelings I usually react in the wrong way because it has piled and piled. That is not the kind of friend I want to be. I often think, if I can't confront my friends who I love and trust, how can I possibly confront those who I don't really know or trust. What I keep asking the Lord to show me is: how can I process situations but still have healthy and honest dialogue and confrontation.
Why is it that we have a hard time remembering when situations turn out well and we tend to remember only when things go wrong. I know that I have had great conversations and healthy confrontation but for some reason the ones that stick out to me are the bad ones. Someone said to me one time that great leaders are great confronters. I totally believe that! My husband is such a great confronter and he is a great leader. He is honest and to the point, he doesn't mix his words up, he doesn't get emotional, and he doesn't deviate from the point of the conversation, he makes his points but he also listens to any area where he may be at fault too. His staff and friends trust him because they know he is always going to be honest with them even if it may be uncomfortable. I want to be like him!
I remember when we first starting dating and I met his friends I said to him, "Wow you have really great friends." I have met his friends from junior high, high school, college, and the present and I am constantly blown away by the amazing people that he befriends and maintains friendships with. It's a testament to the type of friend he is. He is an open and honest communicator. I have always said, "I want the friendships that you have!." Even now some one my closest friends are because of him. He just draws in really great people. It has shown me that I want to be better at being honest, vulnerable, and confrontational. I want to have real and authentic friendship and I do not want to give fear a place in my life any more.
"Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Honesty guides good people, dishonesty destroys treacherous people." Proverbs 11:2&3