5 ladies. 2 bathrooms. I’m not sure who thought this would be a flawless plan, but I’m feeling a few pointed looks when I bring it up in our housie meetings. Yes, you read that right: 5 girls in one relatively small house. But isn’t ANY living space “relatively small” when there are 5 sources of estrogen floating around?
We’re all grownups. So this means that healthy conflict resolution has become a part of our required, daily living. If you’re like me, you HATE conflict…like, “run-from-it-screaming, look-to-the-ground-as-you-pass-awkwardly-in-the-hallway” HATE conflict. I hate the feeling that someone is mad at me…or is hurt by me…or isn’t pleased by me. Whoops. My people-pleaser just showed it’s gloriously shiny head. That’s right, in the fashion of Anonymous groups everywhere I confess:
“My name is Annetta. I am a people pleaser.”
Problem is, I want to please God more. Sometimes. There’s this funny little war that tug’s in me…like Paul, “What I want to do, I do not do. But what I do, I do not want to do” (Romans 7:15). One day I want to please God…and the next, I’m ashamed to say, I want to please people. The older I got, the more poignant the war.
Can you see what’s coming here? Put a people-pleasing, conflict-avoiding, God-lover in a house with 4 other personalities and there is a deep need for conversation. God talks a bit about conversation in Scripture…you’ve probably heard “do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Proverbs 29:11) or “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:19) or my very favorite is James:
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4:1-4)
I love these verses…James just tells it like it is: You want one thing + I want another = CONFLICT. My “passions at war within me” are the very thing that makes un-rest prevelant in my house. With 5 girls with different upbringings and schedules and emotional roller-coasters, well, there are a lot of “passions at war.”
We were prime for World War III in our living room a few days back. But then, one of the roomies started talking…She didn’t say to “be flexible with each other!” She didn’t say, “Ok, these are the things that annoy me.” She didn’t even say, “Let’s just be kind.” She started talking about us preferring each other in our daily lives. She started to talk about being sanctified by submitting to each other. And as she talked we all were able to see this beautiful picture of WHY God had us all in the house together: I’m thorny. I’ve got edges and all sorts of things that are desperate to be rid from my daily-being-sanctified heart. And when I stomp my manicured foot and demand my own way or force the hand of someone with spiffy logic, I remain thorny and edgy. I remain in my sin.
But when I submit to someone else’s preferences, asking God the best way I can love that person today, I am changed. I am CHANGED. And today, if I make that choice to submit or even just have a conversation from love, I look a little bit more like Jesus than I did yesterday.
Now I’m not saying we should be passive and let everyone have their own way. But I AM saying that when it’s a matter of MY way versus HER way, well, it’s time to go HIS way: ask Him to step in, love her well by saying “Yes! Let’s do it your way”
So. What are YOUR thoughts? This is a tough one for me…it means I don’t get to demand my own way….ha!
Praying for you even now…