Several years ago, I was living in the midst of a lot of conflict including the one I described in today’s devotion. I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on, and I didn’t like it. Not one bit.
It came to a head one night at a conference I was attending. After listening raptly to Lysa TerKeurst give one of the most impactful messages I had ever heard, I headed with the crowd out into the hallway. There, I ran into a dear friend…a dear friend with whom I was in conflict.
Now let me explain. I’m too southern to do conflict in a loud way. (Except at home, and we all know that’s a whole other can of worms. And another post for another day. Sigh.) My friend and I hadn’t digressed to yelling and screaming, but nevertheless, we simply could not see each other’s point of view. We talked for a while with no resolution.
In frustration, I went back to my room, threw myself on the bed, and threw a tantrum in front of my roommate, Aimy.
“Aimy,” I said. “I just don’t understand what’s going on. I’ve had more conflict in my life in the last six months than I’ve had in the whole rest of my life combined.”
“I don’t know what God is trying to teach me,” I huffed, “but I DON’T WANT TO LEARN IT!!!”
(Read last phrase as an all out hissy fit.)
Because Aimy had never seen that side of me, she initially doubled over with laughter, but in a few minutes her laugh subsided.
And she looked me straight in the eyes.
And she said, “Let God chisel.”
You see in Lysa’s message just minutes before, she had given that exact powerful truth. Here’s what she explained: God is the master sculptor of our lives. He uses hard places in our lives to chisel us into the masterpiece He’s shaping us to be, but we have a choice. We can choose to let Him use those hard things and become His beautiful piece of art, or we can resist and stay stuck in our original rough, unshaped form. (Read Lysa’s excellent book Unglued for the whole story.)
Although I sat in a dark room less than an hour before transfixed by Lysa’ powerful words, I hadn’t applied them in my hard situation.
God was obviously trying to get my attention. And He was doing it with conflict.
“Let God chisel.”
Once I stopped resisting His shaping tool and let Him chisel me even in conflict, two beautiful lessons emerged.
Humility– I truly began to work to live out Phil. 2:3-4. I said, “I’m sorry” more quickly. I listened more carefully to hear the other point of view. I relinquished my right to be right more consistently.
Growth–God will use anything necessary to make us more like Jesus. In my case, He used something I hated, conflict, to mold me. As soon as I paid attention and submitted to His teaching, the conflict subsided. How about that?!
Have you got any growth agents in the form of hard places at work in your life right now? What lessons are your learning? Has today’s devotion and blog post helped you to see conflict in a new light?