When I enthusiastically took the job of Director of Programs and Engagement at House of Hope, I knew I wanted to bring classes that would equip women to be stronger communicators. Why? Two reasons, the first because Jesus was a master at communicating His truth, that He was THE TRUTH, in a productive, timely, effective and loving way and second, in the book of James, it says “you do not have, because you do not ask.”
As a woman, I know there have been countless times I did not ask. I did not ask for more explanation or for a second conversation, but instead held and nursed an offense. I did not ask for my opinion to be considered, or to be heard, for fear of rocking the boat. I did not ask for my preference to be considered, but instead grew bitter and resentful. I did not stand up for myself, and avoided tough conversations, even if it meant I would continue to be emotionally wounded. I did not ask. I just stayed quiet. Largely because I didn’t know how to ask.
I don’t remember the exact reason I picked up Crucial Conversations. Maybe I was tired of being mis-understood. I like to think I was subconsciously preparing myself for my new role at House of Hope. Whatever the reason, I remember thinking that though the book was written for corporate/business relationships, the principles and best practices could radically change the way I talked to my husband, and the climate of our marriage.
It did just that. It worked.
Being a strong communicator does not mean being a master manipulator. It is not about getting your way, being right, or even being fully understood. It is, however, a practiced skill set of creating a safe place for someone to have a conversation with you, of hearing and respecting their points of view without coercion, of coming to an agreed upon expectation and mutual understanding of the issue at hand, of each person getting an opportunity to share, and of speaking timely, kindly and with love.
This takes work, practice and a determination to love and see the best in people.
It is probably why Jesus excelled in delivering a message of hope that no one wanted to believe, but really couldn’t resist.
We can too ladies. We can be hope bringers and truth tellers in our lives. We can have hard conversations that don’t ripple through generations to follow. We can hear people. We can respect people. We can change the way things have always been. We can ask questions. One conversation at a time. One tough issue at a time.
I know we can, because I am still married.
Join me in the upcoming Crucial Conversations class starting Monday, March 20th! Let’s encourage each other as we learn to say what we need to say in the most productive and loving way!