The Secure Connector
Trait: “I have experienced the connection and closeness that results when a conflict is resolved.”
When Kay and I poll our audiences and ask the question, “How many of you as a child witnessed your parents / caretakers successfully navigate an argument and then appear resolved, happy and content?” There is always a pause in the audience response at this point as the internal wheels turn and the memory banks are scanned. Gradually only a few hands go up, and some are even retracted when they realize that what they had hoped would be true, suddenly was not a retrievable memory.
When we ask the audience to look around and survey the results, the shock and startled looks are clearly visible. It is distressing to realize that something that sounds so simple is so uncommon. As many parenting books say, “more is caught than taught” and if we are honest, most of us would have to admit that we didn’t catch this important relational skill from our family of origin.
What our Heavenly Parent models to us throughout the Bible and ultimately within the Gospel is the resolution of a conflict that results in connection and closeness. What are the steps God employs in repairing the rupture within our relationship with Him?
- He tells us that His ultimate goal is reconciliation which is driven by a deep love for us (John 3:16).
- He then tells us what went wrong and the extent of the problem and its consequences (Romans 3:23, 6:23).
- He asks us to agree with Him and confess that we have fallen short (1 John 1:9).
- He grants forgiveness to us (1 John 1:9).
- He elevates us to a privileged position and co-seats us at His right hand in Christ where there is connection and closeness (Ephesians 2:6).
What do we commonly do? We blow up, or get silent and everybody in the room freezes, rages or takes cover to wait out the storm. Eventually within a few hours or days, the tension eases, emotions thaw and everybody falls back into their normal roles and the matter is never discussed. All of the injured love styles will struggle to successfully model God’s pattern of rupture and repair.
Avoiders will fail to reassure others of their deep love. They will focus on tasks not done well and will not care about the emotional state of others.
Pleasers will panic at the idea of confronting others and will have difficulty clearly expressing themselves. They’re often apologetic as they attempt to speak truth and they let people off the hook too quickly so they can alleviate their own stress. Consequently, they don’t allow uncomfortable periods of silence and internal struggle which can be constructive.
Vacillators will be impatient with the fact that a problem occurred and that the behavior, experience or car ride wasn’t ideal. They will then become angry and cause fear in others. At those moments, family members can’t imagine being reinstated to close proximity and warmth.
Controllers will not care about warmth and security of others. They will only care about compliance.
Victims will be happy that the storm has passed so they can come out of hiding. They will never bring it up again.
This week, take some time to journal and think about how ruptures and repairs were modeled in your family of origin. Ask God to help you better imitate Him so that if asked the above question in future seminars, more hands will be raised. Come to think about it, they might not even feel a need to come to one of our seminars.