I feel as though a dream has come true! Since 1985, I’ve secretly envied Michael J. Fox, his skateboard and ability to turn back the hands of time, and returning to the past. I’ve wondered how life was, how situations and circumstances shaped people, and how the past shaped who we are in the present. Yet, there are some things that are best left in the past.
If only I had a dollar (or diamond) for each time I hear a grown up (and I use that term lightly), “It’s just too much” or “I can’t, I just can’t” I would be writing this blog from my permanent home somewhere below Miami. I know, I know, it’s representative of a reaction to someone else’s behavior; but let’s consider for a moment that it’s inappropriate, childish and actually affirming an inability or unwillingness to deal effectively, and emotionally with conflict. While growing up, my mother, my teachers, my Sunday School teachers, and community discouraged the use of “I can’t.” After all, I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, a walking distance from a Masque, a short ride to Operation Push and in the 1970s under the guise of “Black Power.” Our communal mantra was that as people, specifically, Black people, we could do anything! We knew life was overwhelming, yet there were powerful living epistles to share that things were better than before, and as long as we weren’t subject to the thoughts of others, we could do and be anything we desired. When did we loose our vision?
I don’t hear children, who truly are growing, developing and learning to complete elementary tasks state, “I can’t or it’s too much,” to the extent that grown women walking around in stilettos do. What we are really saying in the moment is, “I am unwilling to work through conflict.” This is critical. Please allow me to expound. Engaging in conflict does not mean relinquishing your needs or placing your needs under subjection of someone else. It does however require emotional wisdom to hear, see, feel and consider the needs of someone else. Could it be that our behavior and thoughts while logical to self may be interpreted as illogical to the other party/parties?
Jesus didn’t run from conflict. Can you imagine sitting at the table hosting the Last Supper with the person who would betray you in plain sight? Even then, Jesus didn’t engage in the philosophy of “Team Too Much.” He instructed Judas to go handle his business. While we are attempting to be more like him, let’s consider emulating this practice. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:25 to agree with our adversary quickly. He didn’t provide a companion verse to address past emotional pain to assist one in following this command; however in order to live out the abundance that Christ intended, we’ve got to get this tendency for avoiding conflict under the altar. Since we ought to always pray, let us strongly consider adding this to our daily (sometimes hourly, sometimes momentary) communication with the Father.
Jesus confronted conflict. He did so with Judas, with the Pharisees and Sadducees, the woman at the well, the demons who took possession of people, the man at the pool and the list goes on. He didn’t practice conflict avoidance. He went where there was a need, just as we should. When there is a concern, we have the opportunity to address things head on. We don’t have to go alone, as the Holy Spirit is always packed and ready to travel. First we may try to speak to the person individually, in a private meeting whereby social media is not invited. If that doesn’t work, we can engage a third party to assist in the facilitation. Too much? Not with God’s help. Think, “I can’t?” Sip on Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” While we are moving in this new realm, let us remember that the Lord will perfect that which concerneth us (Psalm 138:8) and that we can cast our cares upon the Lord and he will sustain us (Psalm 55:22).
These verses represent God’s divine knowledge that we too would engage in conflict. Yet, there is a desire for as much as possible to live peaceably (Romans 12:18), and what is included in this verse is “It depends on you.” Are you in fact “Team Too Much?” If so, consider returning Back to the Future. God has need of you!