April 12, 2008

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How To Avoid a Fight So, last blog I talked about how to fight right. The thing that is really at stake in every conflict with a friend or a spouse is our intimacy with that person. It’s not that the conflict itself can destroy the intimacy; it’s the way the conflict is handled can either lead to intimacy or it can hinder it. Of course, not every conflict should have gotten to that stage. Many frustrations could have been stopped before they reached a boil. So, here are three things that might help minimizing the amount of negative, unproductive conflict—or drama—in your relationships. 1. Don’t Assume You Know More Than You Do Often, the thing that triggers our anger or frustration is not often the actual actions of the other person, but our belief about their motive or intent behind the action. A co-worker comes in late, and you assume it’s because they are lazy. A friend has a glum expression; you’re sure it’s because they’re mad at you. A spouse makes a joke about you in public; they must have been trying to embarrass you. A co-worker loses his temper; you conclude he’s just an arrogant bastard. Some friends are going on a vacation and you weren’t invited. It must mean they don’t like you. And they’re probably going to be talking about you the whole trip. Here’s the trick: even if you may be right about your assumptions, it is pure torment to live on assumed knowledge. Plus, giving in to your assumptions means you’re trusting yourself—and all your paranoid, insecure fears—more than you’re trusting the relationship. And once trust erodes, a relationship crumbles. In a moment of frustration, stop to ask yourself what you actually, factually know about the situation. What exactly did they say? What did they do? Remind yourself...
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The Myth of More, Pt. 1 of 3 Holly and I just got home from a wonderful vacation. We spent much of our week away laying by a pool or by the beach, getting up only to indulge my appetite at the all-you-can eat buffet. We read a ton and engaged in conversations both meaningful and wasteful. But a funny thing happened to me when I got home. Actually, it started while our plane was crawling toward our gate in the snow. I pushed the sync button on my smart phone, downloading all the emails that had gone unread while I was working on my tan. And here’s the strange part: in spite of the overwhelming rush of work and obligation flooding my rested mind, I liked it. I even announced how many emails I had. Sure, it was veiled in a sort of, “Oh brother, look at all the work waiting for me” groan, but my real intent was closer to, “Man, I am so busy and important.” Once home, I jumped headfirst into two marathon days of work. Even now, I’m tempted to tell you just how manic it was. My mother-in-law, who was in town to watch our kids while we were on vacation remarked that she hoped I would have time to slow down. I liked that she noticed how busy I was. It made me feel like it was obvious how much I was contributing to the church, how valuable I was. All this confirmed a thought that had been rolling in my mind for the last month or so. It’s what I will call the Myth of More. The Myth of More is the belief that the secret to a meaningful life is more. More activity, more friendships, more stuff—more. We believe that the way to add meaning to our lives is...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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