Conflict is Good

“You need more conflict.”

This is a note I get every time I turn in a manuscript. I tend to make life too easy for my protagonists. I need a push to add in difficult situations, to create tension. It reflects who I am in real life – a hater of conflict, a “wisher” that life could be problem-free.

But my editor knows what makes a good story is the conflict the characters have to overcome in order to achieve their goal. Think of Cinderella. Would we love that story as much if she was born into a loving home, treated like a princess as a child and became a princess as an adult?

No!

It is only after Cinderella has overcome the conflicts presented by her father’s death, her stepmother’s mistreatment, her stepsisters’ ridicule, even her fairy godmother’s deadline, that makes us truly happy for her. She has battled to become a princess, her character has been revealed through all that mess. Cinderella goes through a lot to end up in the palace, and we love her for that.

This is true in fiction, but it is also true in our lives. Like so much else, stories reflect life and reveal God – the Author of our stories. He knows that we need conflict in order to develop our characters. James tells us to be joyful in the face of trials because they mature us as believers (James 1:2-4).

I think back on difficult times, and I see how God has used them to teach me lessons that I would not have learned otherwise. And they equipped me to help others going through similar situations. Trials draw me closer to God and bring the truly important aspects of life to light. Conflict is not pleasant, but it is necessary. It is good.

So choose to see conflict as a gift. Face them with eyes on Jesus and not your circumstances, asking what you can learn from them, how you can grow from them. God allows difficult times to make us better, stronger, more like Him. So face your trials like a Princess, daughters of the King. Our Happily Ever After is guaranteed!

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