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?