Let’s face it—as long as we live in a world where people exist, there will always be conflict at some level. Whether it’s within our family, among our group of friends, on the job or if we’ve found ourselves in a toxic relationship, we’ve all encountered some form of drama. It’s unsettling. It’s mentally and emotionally exhausting. Unfortunately, some find it entertaining. However, we know that as followers of Christ, we’re called to harmony as best we can make of it.
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19)
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. (1 Peter 3:8)
But here’s the other truth about recurring drama: It doesn’t just show up out of nowhere. You either create it, invite it or allow it. So you have to stop and ask yourself what role you might be playing when drama continues to come your way. For starters, here are four ways to begin detoxing your life of unnecessary drama with those around you and start living more peacefully.
1. Become more discerning about your group of friends.
The character of our close friends plays a big role in our lives, not only because they can influence our own behavior, but they’re also an indicator of where we’re going. Think about it. In order for two or more people to click, chances are it’s because they’re like-minded and journeying through life together of one accord. If you’re in a circle of friends who consistently gossip behind each other’s backs or are self-centered and lack the qualities of kindness and integrity, then you’re at risk to reap what they sow by association.
It’s important to choose friends who reflect the type of woman you want to be and have honorable character you can depend on no matter the conflict. She has conviction for her behaviors and a genuine heart for the women around her. Never underestimate how picking the right friends can either bless or injure your life.
2. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries.
At some point, we have to put on our “big girl pants,” set some standards and decide what is and isn’t going to be allowed entrance into our lives. No one is ever going to be responsible for your boundaries except you. So it’s up to you to define those lines. Remember, boundaries aren’t about being selfish or self-preserving, but letting others know where your values stand and where your responsibility ends and theirs begins in order to have a healthy relationship. A woman without boundaries will soon find herself a woman without a sense of self, which is necessary for us to stand in the calling God has on our lives. So don’t be afraid to set them.
This goes back to my point about drama not being incidental. It exists because you allow it to exist. By not stepping up and addressing the boundary that’s being crossed such as gossiping, verbal abuse or hurtful behaviors, we enable the person to continue to bring this drama to us without consequence. There’s no reason for it to stop because it’s allowed.
3. Respond instead of reacting.
Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. (Proverbs 10:19)
Some of us create our own drama simply because we don’t know when to shut our mouths or have the discernment to respond with regard.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)
The Bible makes multiple points about the power of our words and how they affect the world around us. We’re called to use wisdom when we speak.
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. (Ephesians 4:29)
I’m truly convinced that much of our problem (or drama) is how we communicate about our problems. It’s all too easy to react instead of using the self-discipline of taking a humble step back, committing to a holistic perspective and giving a considerate response. I think it’s important to understand the difference between reacting and responding because it’s a character issue. It says a lot about the type of person you are, and we ought to be a sound representation of our faith if we claim it’s what we live by. Here’s more on the pivotal difference between reacting and responding.
4. Don’t allow it to continue.
Another major reason drama continues to invite itself into our lives is because we don’t handle conflict wisely. Either you don’t have the integrity and courage to approach the person you’re having conflict with and gossip to a third person, or you let yourself be that third person. There are many reasons we don’t think twice about the harm of being the third factor. Many times we genuinely want to be there for our friend. Sometimes we enjoy the “inclusive” favor of being “in” with that person. No matter the reason, it’s time to be women of reconciliation.
If someone comes to you with a problem with someone else, direct them back to that person. If it can’t be resolved, bring in a mutual, trusted and sound third or fourth party to help find a solution. And if someone isn’t willing to work it out or continues to be negative about it, forgive them and let them go (Matthew 18:15-17). I’ve witnessed my fair share of unnecessary drama in ministry and life because two people weren’t mature enough to talk out their own problems. This is something we all have to adapt if we want to be effective in love and unity as a body.
How do you typically react in the face of drama or where would you like to be better about responsibly removing it from your life? Let’s chat in the comments below!