Conflict

My Story, Chapter 1: The Conflict

I love a good story.  There’s something about watching someone experience, struggle through and grow from a challenge that does something unique for my heart.  I don’t know exactly when I realized it, but I’ve known for quite some time now that I’ve been living out a story, with the days of my life providing a narrative pointing to the glory and purpose of God.  I’ve believed this for awhile, but it was about a year ago when I was reminded that the story being told is always greater than the sum of the characters in the cast.

About this time last year, I experienced a key element of any compelling story: the conflict, or as I blogged about and alluded to before, an “inciting event.”  The conflict is a struggle between two people or things in a story.  Conflict is a vital literary device that takes a story from run-of-the-mill to rousing.  The main character is usually on one side of the main conflict.  On the other side, the main character may struggle against another important character, against the forces of nature, against society, or even against something inside himself or herself (feelings, emotions, illness).  Conflict is the opposition of forces which ties one incident to another and makes the plot move.

There are 2 types of conflict: external and internal.  External conflict is a struggle with a force outside one’s self while internal conflict is a struggle within one’s self.  In my case, I experienced an external conflict that served as a catalyst for internal conflict.

Honestly, I’m still trying to find the balance of exactly how much of this story I want to share and when, especially since I’m still very much walking it out.  In the interest of keeping focused on the main theme I want to communicate, I will just say that I experienced an external professional conflict.  Besides, the “what” is not nearly as important as the “why” that it brought to the surface.

I found myself in a situation that appeared to be a threat to what I deemed to be “success” in my career.  All other various elements and specifics aside, I went into a bit of a tailspin.  Actually, that’s an understatement.  My heart freaked out.

One night I found myself walking around in my back yard for about two hours, on the phone with one of my best friends, Tyson, talking through the particulars of the situation. Actually, I wasn’t talking as much as I was venting, searching for answers, grasping for any semblance of purpose in the midst of what otherwise appeared to be utter chaos and disorder descending on my life.

As I rambled on in my confused and fearful state, I will never forget what happened next.  Being the great friend that he is, Tyson heard me out and then asked me the following question: “what are you afraid of losing?”

It sounds simple enough, but that was the crack in the dam for me and the question that would ultimately change how I would see everything.

To be continued…

Have you identified a major “conflict” moment in your life that you can point to as the moment everything changed for you?


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Grant JenkinsMy Story, Chapter 1: The Conflict
17 comments
Allison
Allison

Amazing. I came across your blog a few days ago and read your "Pastor Barbie" post. Just read this post this morning. I am so grateful for the perspective that God has given me through your words. As I wite this I am preparing to be sitting in a court room in a couple of hours for an unwanted divorce. I love your reply to Lindsey, "It is amazing how we can hit those kind of moments and completely unravel, only to have God put us back together again in such a way that we sometimes don't even look like what we've been through. That is redemption" I read that and my heart was so incredibly blessed. Thank you for putting into words what I could not express. I want a story that points to His glory and at the end of my life I don't want to look like what I've been through. I will be praying for you.

Tonya Ingram
Tonya Ingram

Yep... having to report to federal prison for something I had nothing to do with, BUT turned out to be a divine appointment to save my life!

Lindsey_Nobles
Lindsey_Nobles

I was thinking about this post and your question last night on my drive home. At first I thought, "No, I haven't really had that kind of life-changing conflict." But that is not true. A couple of years ago I had a devastating breakup. Devastating for me anyway. For literally a year, I felt like that was my story to share. You know, if people wanted to know the real me, they needed to understand what I had been through? How poorly I'd been treated? How much I had loved and lost? I thought I would live the rest of my life in this pathetic-messy-heartbroken state.

But over time, the pain has faded and the story doesn't even seem important. I am realizing more and more each day that the reason why it was such a brutal process was because my hopes in dreams were wrapped up in a person and not in a redemptive Savior.

I am sure there are many more conflicts to come...I just hope that I have built my house on a stronger foundation this time around.

JuliaKate
JuliaKate

i'd say that i've had 3 inciting incidents or "conflict moments" in my adult years... 2 were centered around relationships and the other was in having to return from the mission field earlier than i had hoped. i believe that each one assisted in a major shift of who i was becoming into who i was created to become... still shifting of course, but the road is more defined and i have learned to LET GO without GIVING UP. I guess that's what it all came down to... letting go of the invested idea. and learning that investments don't equal entitlement. investments have become more about obedience, responsibility, and hope.

Michael Schutz Natrin
Michael Schutz Natrin

As silly as it sounds, failing a college course has been one of the biggest conflicts in my short life. It made me consider whether I should stay in my major or even be in college, or whether I should switch to full-time ministry work. Prayer and support from parents and friends got me through everything. I passed the course when I retook it and now I'm continuing in the same major, which I see as a sign that this is where God wants me to be.

Kyle Reed
Kyle Reed

I have had those 2 hour conversations that seem to be all one sided with venting. I think those are needed so that you can move on with your story. Exciting to hear this and looking forward to reading the rest of the stuff that is to be continued.

danielcwhite
danielcwhite

I think by starting to right this "epic" blog, you just added another crack in the dam. Now this is a good thing, as you know. Can't wait to see you process all of the struggles yet victories that come along with the dam completely opening up. You're a good man and thanks for starting your story. I know it's not only healing for us to share our story, but can be searchlights for many others who haven't quite landed where you are.

Lesli Stump
Lesli Stump

Can't wait to read more Grant! I just remember the goofy, runny, crazy Grant I went to school with at CHCS! Lost touch with you once you left there. I love to read and hear peoples' stories that reflect the transformative work of the Holy Spirit in their lives! Look forward to the next chapter. Let me know when you post next. I am not checking facebook often right now so you can email me if you want: leslistump@gmail.com.

Lesli (Johnson) Stump
St. Cloud, MN

JasonWert
JasonWert

Well, my major conflict moment was when my addiction came to light and I was run from ministry. All the dominos that fell over the next 5-6 years started from that moment. I can safely say everything changed that very cold September 2000 morning.

Looking forward to more of your story.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

wow! That sounds like a story you should really share more about. Thanks, Tonya.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

wow! my blog made the drive home, huh? :) Thanks for sharing this, Lindsey. It is amazing how we can hit those kind of moments and completely unravel, only to have God put us back together again in such a way that we sometimes don't even look like what we've been through. That is redemption. I love it.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

learning to "get go" without "giving up" is key. For some people, the "letting go" means "giving up" and they move to a place of complacency and no longer have any sense of expectation about their life. A huge part to moving forward is letting go of "this" so you can pursue and embrace "that".

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

sounds like a great redemptive twist to what could have otherwise been a pretty significant life shift. Glad that worked out the way it did. I'm sure you learned quite a bit about God and about yourself in the process.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

Thanks bro. I agree. Sometimes we need to be able to completely pour out what is in our heart in order for someone to be able to pour truth back into it, and have it stick.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

Thanks so much, brother. That means a lot to me. And I think you are right, by deciding to start opening up about a lot of this stuff, another crack in the dam is opening up. It is certainly my hope that through me communicating this journey, someone else might be encouraged and perspective on what they may be walking through in their own life. Thanks for your words, buddy.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

Hey Lesli! Don't worry, I'm still funny and crazy, but may have dropped the goofy at some point in the past 22 years or so. :) Thanks for checking out my blog and commenting. It's been quite an adventure and I'm really glad that my story is connecting with people here.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

Wow, thanks for sharing that Jason. It's amazing how God gives us the grace to be on the other side of something and be able to look back and see the moment when our heart shifted.

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  1. Full Circle says:

    […] chances are you know my story to some degree. For the sake of those who don’t, I experienced a defining moment a little over 2 years ago when God, in His great grace and mercy, allowed me to see the condition […]