Does your demand for self-gratification ignite conflict between others?
Before you answer that question, ponder the times when you’ve been involved in conflict due primarily to the need for someone (you or the other person) to feel superior, smarter, more experienced, or simply in control.
We’ve all been there before – shutdown, shutout, or silenced by someone unable to appreciate our value in the moment.
As a parent, I have had instances where I tried to explain to my daughter more efficient or easier ways of doing things, only to be met with a wall of resistance.
As a professional, I have worked hard on plans and projects, only to have people shut me down before ever giving me a chance to go in detail on my ideas.
I have even had people go out of their way to stress that since I had never worked directly in their field, despite having nearly two decades of experience successfully managing the role I was hired to do across multiple industries, my ideas weren’t something they would even entertain.
Proverbs 18:2 reminds us, “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.”
When we are insistent on having everything our own way, we often go into conversations closed to the possibility of change. Not only does this make us look semi-foolish, but it also deprives others from the opportunity of using their spirtial gifts.
I once heard Christian Author Karen Ehman say, “We cannot fulfill our divine purpose if we’re too busy living everyone else’s.” As I pondered the lesson she was speaking on, I realized that the need to be seen like you know it all, or the need to micromanage projects, means you often do things outside of the purpose God has for your life.
If you struggle with this, a good way to help work on letting go is to ask, “Does this project help me live my purpose for God, or would my time be better spent elsewhere? If I’m not living my full purpose doing the project, who could I hand the project off to, so they can live out their purpose?”
Another question to ask is, “Am I being insistent on doing things my way out of pride, or am I truly being insistent because in all of my actions I am giving glory to God?”
Proverbs 18:1 (NIV) reminds us, “An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.”
When we shutout other people from being part of a team, from sharing ideas, from contributing to a conversation, or from feeling like we appreciate the role God designed for their life, our sinful attitudes become a barrier to the love, affection, and blessings God designed for us by placing them into our lives.
As you ponder these thoughts, read the words of Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV): “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”