Conflict & Opportunities
This past month I went scuba diving in the Gulf of Thailand, kayaked through caves in Vietnam, and surfed in the Indian Ocean. For a while I thought these grand experiences were exactly what I needed to live a good story, but I learned otherwise. According to author Donald Miller, "a character overcoming conflict" is what makes a great story. That means I’m gonna need some conflict.
If you’ve ever traveled with me, you’ll know that conflict isn’t hard to come by. I’ve been known to miss a few flights... and a few buses… and a few trains... and really anything that’s scheduled. Some might call this “unorganized” and “irresponsible.” I like to say I’m just too busy being present to remember that there’s somewhere I need to be. Mostly because that explanation just makes me sound better. I was sitting in a cafe in Bali enjoying a smoothie bowl after surfing one morning when I realized that my flight back to Thailand had actually left the day before. I decided in my moment of panic that I had two options.
I could become an unwilling victim or a grateful participant.
Being an unwilling victim just didn’t sound as fun. Instead of stressing over money I didn’t have, and wasting my day being upset about the current situation I had gotten myself into, I decided to go to the beach. At the beach I met this local Indonesian boy around my age. He grew up on the streets of Java and moved to Bali to try to get sponsored for surfing. Everything he owned was gifted to him by an Australian couple he had met a few weeks ago. We sat at the beach for almost an hour talking about Jesus and our dreams and things that scare us. And as I sat there, I realized that this was what living a great story means. That someday I’ll look back and be thankful that I spent my time buying Mohammad his first meal in a real restaurant instead of boarding my flight on time like I probably “should have.”
Ladies, if we want to do hard things; if we want to become grateful participants in our own lives, we’re going to have to change the way we approach conflict.
Rather than approaching conflict as a “set back” or a “road block,” would you consider looking at it as an opportunity?
An opportunity to add zest to a story that makes it worth telling. So today when it gets really hard to stick to your goals; when you have a list of excuses for why you should become an unwilling victim, may you remember this: The bigger the conflict, the better the story.
Right now, I’m in a foreign country. My phone is broken and I’m currently locked out of my bank account. I don’t really have a way of fixing either of those problems. I think that means I’m in the midst of a better story. Stay tuned.
Written by: Jordan Chappell