Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I was reminded by my mother tonight that I come from a long line of "no, get it right," prophetic, Biblically literate, type-A, leadership driven, stubborn people.

And it's a good thing.
Some people get intimidated by that. Others don't know what to do with that kind of confidence. Depending on the person there are a million different responses someone could have to the personality cocktail that God made me to be. Being a change-agent does that. Some people respond well, others not so great. Some options could include:

Full Engagement
"Gotta get them to change"
"Yay! Someone I can rely on!"

I am discovering that an enormous amount of my personal well being flows from the ability to figure out if an issue that someone is having with me, is really about me, or is really about them. I have spent far too much time worrying, wrestling and struggling with the breakdown of interactions and relationship-maybe because of my whole girl thing, exploring ever nuance of a conversation to discover hidden meaning, or my love for people that drives me to such detailed examinations- when really, the issue was NOT with me. Let me expand...

We've all got our stuff. The lens that we interpret the world through is influenced by the way we were raised, the values that were instilled into our hearts as kids, healthy and dysfunctional relationships, circumstances, socioeconomic groups, beliefs... That lens that we read the world through is far from flawless. A hurt, or experience in our past can influence our pattern of thinking and affect our interactions with others, ALL without us even realising it.

Each of the negative responses I listed above could have lots of underlying issues. My aim is not to generate an extensive list, but to awaken you to the possibility that, the person you are having the most conflict with in your life, may not in fact, have an issue with you personally. You may represent something negative that they themselves are unaware of. On the flip side, positive responses flow out of identity being firmly rooted and established in love (Eph 3:17) and a firm grasp on who God made you to be.

Possible underlying causes for the negative responses could be:

  • Avoidance: I'm intimidated by your ______(gift, personality, way you do things), so I stay away.
  • Frustration: I cannot manipulate you, and that irritates me because I need control (or something else.. you get the picture)
  • "Gotta get them to change" --> "If you loved me, you would do it my way"
  • Feeling threatened: You represent change (something I'm uncomfortable with) and my response is to stifle it.

Powerful people (those who understand who they are in Christ) might respond with:

  • Full Engagement: I am a powerful person and you are too, so as powerful people, let's engage in life-giving, mutual respect relationship
  • Communication: I'm feeling __________, and I don't know how to deal with that.
  • "Yay! Someone I can rely on!" --> "I can trust you to care about what matters to me."
  • Collaboration: You and I can sharpen one another, let's team up and get 'er done.

So here's the truth: Powerful people recognize when who they are challenges the "stuff" in other people's lives and choose to not take their reaction as a personal affront, but instead allow the responsibility to lie with it's rightful owner: the person with the problem.

Obviously if you have done something that has damaged someone- fix it. That's a no brainer. But when it comes to taking on battles that are not yours to face, ask the question:

Is this my issue or theirs?

And then pick up and go on living.


  1. Wonderful summary of the "stuff" of relationship AND a reminder to leaders, especially, that we can't expect people to respond equally and enthusiastically to us when we enter a situation in strength and confidence.

  2. Beautifully stated my dear!! Love and hugs, Nurse Robin

  3. Love it! Own your own uniqueness and "stuff" and let others own their stuff. Life is defined by relationships, and as a leader we are presented with so many people, like you stated, both positive and negative. Our responsibility is to cherish and grow what God has given us and live the life God wants us in to influence those that he wants us to influence in one way or another. It takes a very strong person of character and discernment to recognize what to own and what not to. Very wonderfully stated!