Dear 20-year-old confrontation-avoiding Jeannie,
Newly married in August after finishing in June the wonderful art college that God had provided for you, and suddenly teaching high school fine arts in September gives you a huge responsibility. You need to appropriately instruct and deal with kids just 2 and 3 years younger than you, as well as interact with faculty and administration as if they are your peers! It’s an emotional stretch. You can see that confrontation is unavoidable.
You know to talk to God about your situations and concerns, but prayer for you has been random, rather than constant in your life. You need to talk to your Father on a consistent basis, and not only when you are worried or want to give him a list of needs. Dealing with confrontation, and with life itself needs an amazing amount of wisdom. That is your main issue – seeking godly wisdom in all things, at all times. You know that Jesus’ own brother James shared the knowledge with us that if we lack wisdom, we must ask God for it because He gives it generously (James 1:5).
You have always struggled with the issue of confrontation.
When you are entering into a possible confrontation, your whole body responds negatively. You feel a hot flush in your cheeks, your eyes feel as if your vision has narrowed, your entire spine feels as if it has been mysteriously weakened, and your feet want desperately to run away. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in confrontation with family or friends – those whom you know well and trust, or with someone whom you don’t know at all. The feeling is still the same for you. It is a very powerful response. It is fear. It is as if God doesn’t know about this nasty situation you’re entering into, and you are handling it all alone.
You know that confrontation can serve positive purposes, that threatening situations can be dealt with and explained, corrected and forgiven, and you have had plenty of that kind of experience.
But it never fails that your physiological response is one of stress and tremendous discomfort. It is so unpleasant for you that you try to avoid confrontation by being a “people-pleaser” and by taking every possible precaution to handle everything you do as well as possible. But personal control still produces a fearful experience, because inevitably it involves “people-pleasing.“ And people cannot always be pleased.
To begin to handle the confrontation fear-factor, you need to talk consistently to your waiting Father. It is obvious that your attempting to control and to please others is not a sustainable approach. Things and people’s opinions change too quickly, and then you are back at square one. The only thing that does not ever change is the great compassionate love of your Father God and His eternal supply of unending wisdom for every moment of your life.
You are not alone, even in the midst of confrontation.
You realize so much later in your life that it is only by giving Him each day your day, heart, words and thoughts that you can be sure that you have nothing to fear. He waits for you to open your heart and share with Him your regrettably familiar deep fears, and allow His Spirit to speak into your mind and overcome your stress-filled responses.
When your brother, or husband, or friend, or a student’s angry parent, or your questioning principal confront you, your changed heart can respond with knowing your dear Father’s warm, loving hand holds yours securely and together you will take care of speaking the truth with wisdom and without fear.
Jeannie, there is no fear in God’s kind of love, there is no reason to be afraid of anything or anyone in confrontation. Confrontation is normal and natural. It is the emotion of fear that you bring carelessly into it that makes it difficult.
Take out the emotion of fear by means of putting your trust in God’s strong hand. It is a chance to communicate with someone out of the strength and wisdom the Lord freely gives you. The Scripture tells you that God has purposed difficulties like this confrontation for your good to gain wisdom and to accept counsel.
In trusting that this is from a Loving Father, you can be certain that you will gain from the negative or positive counsel – and the correction you may receive, but you don’t need to be afraid to receive help.
Jeannie, walk into your classroom and into your life with the wisdom of knowing that the Lord compassionately walks with you and helps you benefit from all confrontations. Your confrontations are His confrontations. He helps you come through them as a wiser person. It would be so good for you to absorb this now, rather than lingering in fear and people-pleasing until much later in life.
Thank you for listening, Jeannie. Here’s good counsel from God Himself for you:
Take good counsel and accept correction— that’s the way to live wisely and well. We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God ’s purpose prevails.
Proverbs 19:20-21 (MSG)
Your Future Self
Jeannie Larson Seck is an artist, mom, mom-in-law, and grandmom of three remarkable little people. She has been happily married to Ron, her amazing “portable pastor”, for nearly 50 years. Presently, they live part of the year in Phoenix and the other part in Central Europe doing wholistic ministry among the marginalized Gypsies. Visit their ministry at Just a Seck.