Peace Wise: Lessons I’ve learned from Taylor Swift

I hate conflict. I absolutely hate it. If you put me on the slippery slope, I would slide right on off the avoidance side and run into the sunset. Happily. Thinking about why I hate conflict so much, I think when it comes down to it, I just want everyone to be happy and to get along. Life is hard enough without manufacturing offence, chasing drama, celebrating conflict, holding onto unforgiveness, and seeking revenge. When I see conflict around me, I just find myself humming High School Musical’s ‘We’re all in this together’ and go on my merry way. 

Well, on the surface that’s what I tell myself. I just want everyone to get along. And that is true. But if I’m completely honest about why I hate conflict so much, I think it’s that I’m scared. Scared of what others will think of me if I’m completing honest with them. Scared of being vulnerable with someone and being shut down or invalidated. Scared that I’ll be judged for having a problem in the first place. Scared of making a mistake and being in the wrong. Scared of the situation escalating and going out of my control. Scared I’ll be seen as being weak, or less than perfect, even though I know more than anyone exactly how imperfect I am. 

So how does Taylor Swift fit into all this? Well, whether you’ve been a Swiftie since the start, or like me came in on the tail end of her success with the Eras Tour movie, I’m fascinated with how Taylor Swift has transformed over the years. From that naive country girl who wouldn’t say a bad word about anyone, to a burned artist who disappeared because she thought that’s what everyone wanted, to now this successful, empowered woman speaking out against the injustice, inequality and double standards she sees in the arts industry. 

Taylor Swift takes hate and transforms it into her victory song. She takes gossip and turns it into Grammys. She takes breakups and turns them into ballads. She takes what people point out as her weaknesses and turns them into her strength. And I think it takes an incredible amount of resilience and courage to transform your way of thinking like that. To take something as universally seen as negative such as conflict and hate and transform it into something that propels you forward to new and better things. Perhaps if I started focusing less on how much I hate conflict and more on the opportunities that can come from addressing the conflict, maybe I wouldn’t hate it quite so much.  

Matthew 18:15 says;

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” 

How brutal is the first half of that message!? If you’ve got a problem with someone, to go and seek them out!? Go and point out their fault!? Or point out your fault?! Nu-uh. No thank you. But then look at the second part of the command and what might happen after you do seek them out. After you lovingly, humbly, and honestly seek them out with a genuine motive. If they listen to you, you have won them over. You have won them back to yourself. And more importantly, won them back to Christ. 

Proverbs 27:17 echoes this sentiment; 

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”. 

We were put on earth to help, encourage and love one another. And sometimes that means having tough conversations. 

I still hate conflict. I wrote this devotion and I’m still not going to seek it out. I don’t think I’ll ever be running towards it, even with TS songs playing in my ear like a battle cry. But maybe, the next time conflict does find me, I’ll remember to take my own advice and think about how dealing with it in a loving, biblical way might just be the key to restoring a relationship. And more importantly, how restoring that relationship can restore our relationship with the greatest Peace Maker of all.

This devotional was written by Lisa Duggan. After 15 years as a primary school teacher, Lisa is now living her best life as a specialist visual art teacher while also studying her Bachelor of Fine Arts. She strongly recommends using a midlife crisis as motivation to embrace your lifelong dreams. She loves working with youth and young adults, teaching PeaceWise strategies that encourage healthy relationships with others and honours Jesus as the ultimate peacemaker.

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