How To Cultivate This Relational Virtue

Few things pour fuel on the fire of my anxiety like relational conflict.

Man with cardboard box on his head and terrified look skethed

I remember cutting the lawn some time ago just how much this fault grips me. My calendar the next day included an “exit interview” with someone who left my church.

Would you understand if I admitted that I hate those deals? They are just about the least favorite part of my job description. Give me a root canal instead, please.

Honestly, the more I mowed, the more obsessed I grew with worry over how that conversation would go. Pitiful–to say the least.

Finally, the Lord gave me an Agent Gibbs head slap on the back of the neck. It dawned on me just how far down the carnal slope I had slipped.

Why don’t you pray instead, knucklehead? Before I knew it, the Lord put 2 Tim. 2:24-25 into my thick head and hard heart. I started praying through those strategic pastoral verses while doing lawn wars Florida style.

When the apostle Paul exhorts the church at Philippi to a sweet reasonableness within the community, he details what it takes to make that virtue a reality. My last post dealt with the first of those ingredients–pursuing our joy in God.

This post zeroes in on the next component–making our requests to God (Phil. 4:6-7).

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Remember, the context here deals with conflict between two godly women in the church. We must put off worry when it comes to relational tension. How? Pray. Once again, Ken Sande helps unpack the meaning:

Paul knew that we cannot just stop being anxious. Worried thoughts have a way of creeping back into our minds, no matter how hard we try to ignore them. Therefore, he instructs us to replace worrying with “prayer and petition, with thanksgiving.” When you are in a dispute, it is natural to dwell on your difficult circumstances or the wrong things that the other person has done or may do to you. The best way to overcome this negative thinking is to replace it with more constructive thoughts, such as praising God for his grace through the gospel, thanking him for the many things he has already done for you in this and other situations, and praying for assistance in dealing with your current challenges (cf. Matt. 6:25-34), (The Peacemaker, 86-87).

That exit interview sailed by faster than I imagined it would. The grass got cut too. And I learned for the upteenth time to just say no to worry by just saying yes to prayer.

Part four coming your way soon!

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