Take a Walk

pathTo take a walk in times of conflict can transform the outcome. I was taught at a young age to argue my point and stand in defense of that point to the end. I will defend the fact that I am right by any means necessary including verbal attacks. I won’t back down. Some would say it’s the stubborn German in me. Some would say that this is what I was taught as a proper response in conflict. Some would say I’m doomed by my genetics to repeat this pattern. It is the way I was wired.

Recently, I was watching a TED talk about conflict resolution. William Ury talks about the power of taking a walk to alter breakdowns in communication. He wasn’t talking about taking a walk to cool down when you are angry although that can be very helpful. He talked about the beauty of hospitality and how person’s perception is changed when they get to know a person on a more personal level. He went on to describe the difference that is perceived when you are walking shoulder to shoulder with someone verses standing face to face. I loved this illustration. The idea of walking alongside someone who I’m in conflict with versus standing toe to toe brings an instant sense of calmness. It makes a difficult situation approachable. It changes my focus from the “thing” I’m upset about to about the person and relationship. It opens the door for me to give grace. It is the exact opposite of my instinctive response.

Scripture gives lots of examples of walking and the gift of walking with Christ. Christ is the greatest example of hospitality. He shows us that walking with someone is the way to reconciliation.

When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. (Proverbs 4:12 NIV.)
I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, (Proverbs 8:20 NIV).
Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight. (Proverbs 9:6 NIV).

Through Christ I can change. I can put aside my stubborn nature, what I was taught and my genetics. The truth is I can change my behavior. I can change my habits. I can make a choice to embrace scripture and set aside my instinctual response. It won’t be easy. It will take practice. Learning to walk in step with Him will allow me to walk shoulder to shoulder with others to build and restore relationships. It’s not magic. It is a diligent effort to bring hospitality, kindness and grace to all situations especially the difficult ones.

Are their conversations you are avoiding? Do they feel to difficult? Does anger get in the way of a resolution? Are you willing to try taking a walk? Are you willing to walk alongside someone and join their journey? Are you willing to try a different approach to resolving the difficult conversations you are avoiding? What are we waiting for? I’ll try it if you will.

Tell me about the walks you are taking. It would be great for us to encourage each other.


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