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Ok, so I've been reading 'Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions' by Lisa TerKeurst. This is published by Zondervan and was released on August 7, 2012.
And I've been participating in Melissa Talyor's online Bible study of the book. Her website is here:
Ok, so this week for the blog hop we get to comment on Chapters 3 of the book, "The Prisoners".
Let me re-cap the book thus far: Ok, so this is a book about keeping your emotions under control when you're angry, or frustrated, or mad, or whenever you seem to lose control of what you say and how you act. Chapter Three talks about the labels we tend to put on ourselves and each other (i.e. So-and-so is always late, I am a horrible cook, I always lose control of my emotions, etc.) These labels are unhealthy and discourage people.
But more about that in the book itself. I'm here to tell you my thoughts on Chapter 3.
I've been labeled several things throughout my thirteen-about-to-be-fourteen year life span. One of the main ones that brings me down is when my grandmother says that I speak out of turn or am being 'a sarcastic, unfeeling teenage girl that is much worse than I was at that age', when all I was doing was trying to innocently repair our relationship and get on with life. Now, I considered myself to be polite and just saying what I meant out of the Bible. PERSPECTIVE is the key here. We, my grandmother and I, have since been able to forgive each other and move on from the past. Now, when we get mad at each other, one of us-normally me- will walk away from the scene of conflict and take a DEEP breath. The problem ends up being that one of us took what the other said and understood it completely differently from how the person meant it. We then apologize, and try to lovingly suggest a way to say something differently so that this does not happen in the future. The hardest part of this for me is remembering that I just forgave her, and I need to forget, and not assume that her loving correction is a secret insult. I have to do a chin-up to look over the bar of conflict and see the other side. That's where this takes perspective-saying to yourself "This conflict is here for a reason. Whether it is of my own doing, or I chose to participate in it, the conflict is here, and I need God's strength to fix it. I need to 'set my eyes on what is unseen' and look at the bright side- what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Spiritually, emotionally, physically. Something good is going to come out of this conflict, and I need to look for it and figure out how to see it."
I have to do this a lot myself; when someone says something hurtful to me, I have to take a step back and look at the root of the insult. Yes, the root. This means climbing down the tree, having the leaves slap you in the face, and often falling to the ground. And digging. (mentally) What is the root of this insult? Why did the person say what they did?
Often, in my cases, it was because the other person was bitter or insecure. In one instance, someone told someone else that they were worried over my lack of work in the kitchen. Were they really worried? No. They just wanted to bring me down. This took me an hour or two to stew over, and as my anger subsided, I announced to myself and God that I had a new battle plan. I was going to follow Romans 12:20, which says, "On the contrary: if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." (NIV) This means that you need to do the complete opposite of human nature, and serve your enemies-it does not mean to literally go get a bag of coals. You need to be nice to them. This is extremely hard, I know, because I agreed with God that I would do it. Mentally, though, I've rather enjoyed the thought of heaping burning coals, even if I would not physically do so. It's pretty funny, when you think about it, that I could cool off my anger by heaping burning coals onto the offender's head. Make the person's bed, scoop, and drop the coals. Server dinner to them, scoop, drop the coals. In fact, I even went down and spent an hour of my Friday night cleaning the kitchen -with the offender in it, of course-to disprove the theory (uh, "concern"). Of course, they commented on how much work it was for them to have cleaned it all day before I made it down to the kitchen, and while all my excuses about how I was doing a very important homework assignment and couldn't make it down just that moment to do my chores were running through my mind, I simply said, "Oh, thank you for doing my chores today. I couldn't make it down in time and was worried about them. I really appreciate you taking the time to do so." I said it as sincerely as I could, and, come to find out, the offender did not have anything to say back. They just mumbled a "Well, you know, it had to be done" and walked out of the room. I was so busy rejoicing over my recent outpouring of coals I didn't even mind the rest of the chores.
And now, if anyone tries to stick me with a label or drag me down with an insult, I know that labels won't stick and insults will not drag unless I let them. And why would anyone want a bunch of labels stuck to them anyway?