on being stubborn and not arguing

Posted: May 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

I don’t argue, almost ever, about almost anything.  Between the ages of about 15 and 25, I enjoyed a good philosophical argument, and I was also all about arguing for what I wanted, for what I preferred, for “my rights.”  But along the way, I’ve lost my taste for arguing, and now I’d just rather not.

Much of that is good.  Most of it comes from me growing up enough to understand that what I want isn’t always what’s best, that what I prefer often won’t work for others in my world, and that as a Christ follower, I am absolutely not called to put first priority on my own “rights.”

A great deal of it comes from the fact that I’ve learned boundaries, so I don’t need to go trying to force others to be what I think they should be – I can let them be who they are and love them just like that and not get all offended.

Some of it is simple acceptance of the fact that the large majority of argumentation is pointless and fruitless – that if I’m gonna have a philosophical debate, I’d better save that energy for something of great importance and not fritter it away on stuff that is either small or the other party will just never budge on.

An increasing part of it is that at 50, I see more value in “story” than in debate for changing hearts and minds.  It’s a less direct route, but it opens doors that would be slammed shut by a more direct approach.

A down side to my aversion to arguing is that it makes it easier for me to refuse to consider other perspectives.  It means when someone is trying to advise me about how I’m doing something, and my mind is already made up about that, I just nod and make non-argumentative “listening” noises, or I say, “I’ll think about that,” or “That’s interesting,” with absolutely no intention of letting it touch my perspective.

Yesterday amidst a conversation with my prayer partner, I realized I was doing that.  She was offering me counsel, and I was pushing it away with all my might, without trying to seem like that was what I was doing.  My mind was made up and I didn’t want input.  So she was talking, and I was slamming down a door inside my mind and waiting for us to move on to the next subject.

The happy thing is that the whisper of God was there and active as we spoke, and suddenly I realized:  this thing she’s saying to me…it’s something my parents said to me recently.  It’s something my boss said to me not long ago.  Prayer partner, parents, boss…that’s 3 of the elite, top-of-the-list places I go for good counsel.  And I’ve shut them all 3 down on this point like they were strangers with no right of access to my thought process.

Oops.

I’m blessed that she’s so persistent. We’ve been praying together for well over a decade now, and she knows my stubborn nature.  She knows how and when to press in a way that pushes past my resistance.  She does it with great patience and diplomacy.  She doesn’t get offended that I’m really not listening almost at all, in my polite way.  God knew what He was doing when He lined her up as my prayer partner, and that’s why we’ve made it work even when we lived hours apart and could only do it by Skype, even when schedules made it hard, even when most would have said maybe the season for our partnership had ended.

Do you have someone like that in your life?  ARE you someone like that in another life?  It’s such a precious thing – worth cultivating.  If you don’t have it, I’d invite you to ask God to open that door.  It’s my opinion that He likes to honor and answer prayers like that.

Meanwhile, try not to be a stubborn ass like me.  It really should not take so many pushes to knock down my resistance.  You can do better than that, right?

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