5 Ways to Handle Conflict With Grace

Wouldn’t you just love to sit across from Candace Cameron Bure and sip coffee and have an honest talk about life? Well, sister, this is your moment! Pour your coffee because Candace is on the blog!

I am tickled that she is joining us today to talk about conflict. Yep, that. You may think that being a celebrity, she doesn’t run into much conflict, but not so. She is a woman just like you and me, and she has found some practical and biblical ways to deal with conflict, and they’re brilliant! You will really appreciate her perspective.

So … take it away, Candace!

Having been in the entertainment industry a long time, I’ve developed five secret tools that I use regularly to stay cool. You don’t have to be an actress or have a job with intense public pressure to need these tools in your toolbox.

We all face criticism and conflict, and we all need to know how to handle it with grace. Here are five methods I’ve learned along the way.

1. Take Deep Breaths

When conflict comes, I take slow, measured breaths—counting to three as I inhale, then counting to three as I exhale. Do this a few times, and it’s like a mental reset.

It’s easy to want to rush to act, but a few breaths work wonders for the body and soul. Breathing helps me quiet the other voices so I can hear God speaking peace and assurance.

We all face criticism and conflict. Here are 5 ways to handle it with grace. [Click to Tweet]

God’s supernatural peace is promised to all believers.

Philippians 4:7 makes this comforting promise: “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

God’s peace is available to me, and it will guard my heart and mind in a conflict. When my emotions start to surge, I need a breath or two to remind me of this truth. Sometimes a few breaths are all it takes.

2. Take a Beat

I borrowed this from my acting career. Taking a beat means sitting still for a moment to let the previous line or joke sink in.

I often count quietly to myself. This does not always come easily. It’s a discipline I’ve learned over time. But when I put it into practice, I always feel more in control, which makes everything much easier.

If this post resonates with you, you’ll love Candace Cameron Bure’s book, Kind Is the New Classy: The Power of Living Graciously.

I’ve found that when I take a beat, I can smile after a few breaths. I’m not talking about a pasted-on smile. I’m not ignoring the situation in front of me. But taking a breath and then taking a beat helps me tap into a peace that pervades the rocky moments. I’ve experienced that peace more times than I can count.

3. Switch Roles

In conflict, it’s easier to have empathy for others when we remember they are made in the image of God. [Click to Tweet]

After I breathe and take a beat to remember who (or whose!) I am, I mentally switch sides, trying to think about the other person’s perspective.

Most often when I do this, I discover that the other person’s words or behavior reveal fear, pain, sadness, or discomfort. When I see the vulnerable person behind the fuss, compassion comes naturally.

This is one way my belief that all people are made in the image of God plays out practically. We each have God-given value and God-given emotions. When I remember that my opponent in a conflict is an image bearer, empathy always bubbles up in my heart.

4. Go to God First

Sometimes I need to sit with my emotional response for a while. I need to name my feelings (“I’m feeling defensive” or “What they said about me hurt because I worked so hard”). I don’t try to fight how I feel, because emotions aren’t right or wrong; they are value neutral. It’s how we behave that is right or wrong.

When we seek the best for everyone in a conflict, a win-win is possible. [Click to Tweet]

The Bible says, “Be angry, and do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26). In other words, feel what you’re feeling, but don’t hurt others with your words or actions. When we seek the best for everyone, a win-win is possible.

So sometimes I count to ten, say a quick prayer, and then act. Other times I may need to sleep on it before I can act.
But whatever the case, I pray.

God’s Word says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7).

What is the antidote to anxiety?

Thankful prayer. That means I should be grateful for the person and the circumstance. After all, God allowed this moment into my life for a reason, whether for discipline or for blessing, or maybe so I could be a blessing to someone else.

Honestly, I don’t usually know why, but I believe that He is a good Father and that He has control. So I need to thank Him for all those things and trust. Prayer is how I do that best.

5. Ask for What You Want

Here’s the hardest part of conflict for me: asking for what I want.

It’s my job to give voice to my needs and concerns. It’s nobody else’s job but mine. That’s been a hard lesson for me. I could have saved myself a lot of heartache if I had learned it sooner!

Women especially seem to have a hard time with this one. Culturally, many of us have been trained not to speak up for what we want. But frankly, if we don’t, who will? It’s foolish—actually ridiculous—to complain about not having what you want if you don’t speak up for yourself and ask.

I’m not talking about demanding what we want or making requests in ways that are angry and entitled. But it has helped me tremendously to realize that I am the one who must give voice to what I need. Rather than simply venting my emotions or cataloging my complaint, I try to cut to the chase in a conflict and calmly, respectfully ask for what I want.

It’s our job to stand our ground sometimes. The challenge is to do it with elegance and conviction. [Click to Tweet]

Here’s an amazing truth I never thought I’d write. I’ve learned that sometimes I have to create conflict when my impulse is to keep my mouth closed for the sake of peace.

It’s my job to stand my ground sometimes. It’s your job to stand your ground sometimes too. The challenge is to do it with elegance and conviction. To keep it classy by keeping it kind, no matter what conflict comes our way.

So helpful, right? Thanks, Candace, for sharing with the sisters!

I’ll try out these great strategies for sure. And, wasn’t that last one interesting? Something to think and pray about. And, be sure to check out Candace’s new book, Kind Is the New Classy.

Actress, producer, New York Times’ best-selling author and inspirational speaker, Candace Cameron Bure, is both outspoken and passionate about her family and faith. Known to millions worldwide from her role as “D.J. Tanner” on the iconic family sitcom Full House, Candace continues to flourish in the entertainment industry as a role model to women of all ages. Her philanthropic spirit has given support to Compassion International, Skip1.org, and several other charitable organizations. Candace serves as the National Ambassador for National House of Hope and continues to travel the country speaking at women’s conferences and churches sharing her faith. Connect with Candace at candacecameronbure.net.

What practical ways do you handle conflict?

Go deeper into this week's question in my Bible Study Bistro Facebook group. There's a community of 4:13ers waiting for you!