Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fight or Flight?

There are two basic human reactions to confrontation. Fight or flight.

Fight: backed into the corner and come out scratching, stand your ground without backing down, scream, my reaction to confrontation with H.

Flight: avoid the confrontation at all costs, pretend it didn't happen, don't let it bother you, suppress, my reaction to confrontation with just about everyone else in my life. This is my preferred way to handle conflict. The best example I have to share for this is the miscarriage. My dear friend, Rachel, lost a baby just one week before I did. How did she handle it? She wrote about it on her blog, she cried with her husband and church family, she memorialized that sweet angel. Now that we are days away from our due dates, she's again talking about it, feeling it, REMEMBERING IT. What am I doing? Purposefully avoiding the calendar. Not thinking about it. Ignoring the fact that we would be welcoming our new baby into our lives in just a few days. Why? It's easier for me. Healthy? NO WAY!

Poor H.

This weekend I attended a conference by a well-known speaker, Tara Barthel. She was magnificent! I learned so much about the law and the grace of God. She taught about peacefully and Biblically resolving conflict, how to confess a sin to your brother or sister, what it means to sin against another person.

Without meaning to, she spoke directly to me over and over again. She and I were the only people in the room. She whispered truths into my heart. She forced me to look at my own idols and how they are preventing me from developing deep and meaningful relationship with God, my family, and my friends.

I'm here to confess my biggest idol. I had to think and pray over this to truly identify my idol. Who do I love more than Christ? Who do I turn to before I go to the Cross? MYSELF! Everything I do is motivated to gain glory for myself. Take a great picture? Wow, I'm so good. Send someone a handmade card? Pat on the back. All the idols I could think of pointed the finger directly back at me. Everything I do, often without the conscious thought, is so that I gain glory. And I'm not sure how to change this. I'm praying about it. I'm becoming more and more aware of it. I don't want to worship myself.

What are your earthly idols?


Andi said...

You have the most thought provoking posts oftentimes, and I always want to answer right away, but this time...I am going to think about what you have said here...ponder it and respond again later.

Christina said...

Andi's right - your posts often are quite thought provoking. I would have to say my "idol" is the same as yours - ME. Everything really is directed towards my own gain. Even the selfless things I do, are with an eye towards making myself look better to others.

As for flight vs fight - I am the same way. I tend to avoid confrontation at all costs, pretend it away, bury my head in the sand...until I can't do it any longer and I explode. I am working on it...I have been working on it for years, but with God's grace I will get there - we will BOTH get there.

And, you're not running from it right now. You're writing about it and acknowledging those thoughts and feelings. And that takes strength. Also, you have a new life growing within you now to focus on!


Maggie said...

What a great post!

That said, I think that people deal with grief in different ways and with different time frames. Just because your method of coping doesn't match hers doesn't make it wrong. Only different.

Considering yourself your idol is such an interesting concept. When I think about it, I think that I (and most people I am willing to bet) fall into that category. I might not specifically set out to make myself look 'better' but I am very aware of how I appear to other people (and the thought of not appearing 'perfect' is somewhat distressting). I think that the line is taking pride to do a good job and be proud of yourself and being overly prideful is a fine one. And just because you are proud of yourself for the things that you do, the value of these actions to others isn't decreased.

Kyla said...

I think that all idols really lead back to us. When it comes down to it, when we choose to put anything before Him, it is for a self-serving reason. We're all works in progress.

Both your conflict management solutions are MY conflict management solutions. Poor Josh. LOL.

Arizaphale said...

I call it 'pride'. My main sin. But it means the same thing. I think most of us can relate to what you're saying. Interesting about your way of coping with the impending 'due date' of lost baby. I, like you, was already pregnant with the Baby Angel by the time my due date came around so I don't know if I even remember thinking about it at the time. Those babies were simply not meant to be. Conflict? I 'fire up' quickly with my family but try to be reasoned and rational at work. Don't know how successful I am !!!! :-)
Thanks for this thoughtful and challenging post. And the handmade cards.....well you KNOW how much they meant to me. <3 (that's supposed to be a heart)

Tara Barthel said...

Thank you for your kind and encouraging words! I am so blessed to hear of how the Lord ministered to you.

And I thought of you during a recent sermon when the pastor preached on the Hope of the Resurrection and gave us the gift of taking us to Hebrews 11:35.

I encourage you to check it out! I am meditating on it this morning and even blogged on it.

Grace to you and thanks again--

Your sister in Christ,
Tara B.