Fight Fair! #1

FightFair2

A Game Without Rules

Conflict is a part of the true game of Life, and refusing to play is simply not an option. Differences in personality and temperament, multiple time demands, limited resources, and the sheer insanity of modern life all conspire to create disagreements between partners. In marriage, conflict simple can’t be avoided; the goal, then, is to learn to play the game as pleasantly and productivity as possible.

In boxing there was finally rules put in place, and referee’s  so that the rules were followed. We are not so lucky to have referees to supervise our personal conflicts, we have to serve as our own referees. We have to set a set of rules, but success in conflict requires more than a set of rules. It depends even more on the attitudes you bring to the game: humility, generosity gentleness, and a genuine desire to work things out.  If you want to be stubborn or punish your mate, you will. and nothing can change that but you.

Where conflicts Come from

Probably not where you think. Most couples tend to put the blame for conflicts on topics of disagreements.

  • Finances
  • parenting decisions
  • in-law relationships
  • sex
  • power and authority
  • work demands
  • scheduling and priorities
  • use of leisure time
  • personal habits
  • household responsibilities

Most couples have found out that the heated disagreement can erupt over the most mundane and unexpected topics.

Much is written today about uninvolved parents, passive husbands, and irresponsible wives. But there’s another problem that challenges marriage today…. the exact opposite. They put their kids first, job first the church first – they put everything first ahead of their own marriage,

When you and your mate take time to be together, when you make a practice of encouraging and supporting each other, there is a confidence in the relationship that forms a buffer  against misunderstanding and miscommunication.

  • I’m confident of your love for me, even if you haven’t told me lately.
  • I know your trying even when it doesn’t show.
  • i know you mean well, even when it comes out wrong.
  • I think the best of you, even when you fail.
  • I trust you, even when I’m not there.

When you firmly believe – when you really feel 0 that your mate loves, values, and respects you, its easier to overlook the minor over sights and annoyances that dot the landscape of married life.

When there isn’t time or energy to discuss your hurts and misunderstandings, a sense of hopelessness begins to grow. It’s easier to simply withdraw. It takes time, energy, and patience to learn what makes your mate feel loved and encouraged.

 

Clouds of confusion

1. The “What happened” Conversation. Who said what, and who did what? Who’s right, who meant what, and who’s to blame?

2. The feelings Conversation: Are my feelings valid? Appropriate? What do I do about the other person’s feelings? What if he is angry or hurt?

3. The Identity Conversation: Am I competent or incompetent? Am I a good person or bad? Am I worthy of love or unloveable.

We argue about the facts, but we oddest seem to get anywhere; thats because the disagreement isn’t really about facts at all but about the hurt feelings underneath.

With a Thankful Attitude.

Chapter 1 Replace a complaining attitude.….

With a Thankful Attitude.

Say it in a sentence: Thankfulness is the attitude that perfectly displaces my sinful tendency to complain and thereby release joy and blessing into my life. 

We are putting off our old attitudes of complaining, and putting on our new one of thankfulness.  Thankfulness is so important to God. We go to Luke 17:12-13 to see the story of ten leprous men who were healed and how many do you think were thankful? Also who was thankful was an important factor of the scripture.

12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[b] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

Men with leprosy were not able to be by anyone since they were considered unclean until told by a priest that they were healed.  So they stood at a distance and called out loudly to Jesus to heal them.  We are always asking for something aren’t we, but healing leprosy may have been something very worthwhile to ask.

4 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

So Jesus says ok go see the priests, He didn’t need to touch them, they were healed as they walked to see the priests.  Before they got to the priests one man saw he was healed and turned around to come praise Jesus. Think of this….. you haven’t seen your family in forever, haven’t held them close, kisses your wife, you have been spat on and treated like dirt….. All you have to do now is go see the priest and you will be lifted of this  ban. Instead of going with the selfish choice; this man turns around and goes to praise Jesus.

15 But one of them, seeing that he was healed, returned and, with a loud voice, gave glory to God. 16 He fell facedown at His feet, thanking Him. And he was a Samaritan. (HCSV)

In the HCSV version the scripture says in a loud voice! He was not shy about this, he did not write Jesus a letter, or bake him some cookies.  He was probably skipping and laughing and telling every single person he saw on the way back to Jesus.  He gave the glory to God, fell on his face in the dust THANKING Jesus. I like that some versions say thanked, but i like thanking… seems like he over and over and again thanked Jesus. I could imagine him kissing his feet and thanking Jesus and crying and laughing and praising. What an emotional filled moment.  To add the cherry to the sundae.  This man was a Samaritan. This is very significant.  The Samaritans were hated by the jews. They were jews that married outside of the blood line and the jews treated them as though they were not as good as they were even though they both worshipped the same God. Of all the men to be thankful to a Jew, The King of Jews, a Samaritan is lowest on the list. All ten of the men had the choice… only 1 chose to be thankful. Just like the 12 scouts .. only 2 decided to be faithful to God.  To have a good attitude.

Christ notices those who are ungrateful.

So i think to myself were those other 9 men ungrateful? Were they selfish to go on their way to be freed from this bondage? OR were they ungrateful because they did not thank who was responsible for this miracle. I know if I was healed and able to see my family again I would be so happy so thankful, but we must also make sure we express, and show this thankfulness. So do you think Christ noticed that no one else thanked Him?

17 Then Jesus said, “Were not 10 cleansed? Where are the nine?

Obviously Jesus knew the answer, this is rhetorical. He was pointing this fact out to everyone else. Showing an example of a thankless attitude.

18 Didn’t any return[j] to give glory to God except this foreigner?”

Jesus makes it a point to state that this man who has been treated wrong by the jews still was the only one to come and be thankful. If he could overcome his social injustices to express sincere gratitude, what excuses do the other men have?

19 And He told him, “Get up and go on your way. Your faith has made you well.”[k]

Jesus is not talking about heal well, since He just healed them all. He is talking about being well in a deeper way than those who refused to be thankful. I would always prefer a deeper well!

Faith grows in the soil of thankfulness.

If we acknowledge that God is our provider. God is the creator. He wakes us each morning. He gave us life. When we do this we begin to express faith in Him.  If someone outside of Christ; a non believer, is willing to acknowledge there is a God they can began receiving sprouts! In romans 1 Pail wrote

  1. God created the universe.
  2. Within the heart of every human being is an awareness of the reality of God.
  3. Apart from thankfulness, our awareness of God will always be suppressed.

How could anyone say there is no God? Look around, this world is too complex, we are too complex to just happened! More people know this than not, but to understand, agree, or admit it is a choice.  At the root of mankind’s rejection of God is a resolute unwillingness to be thankful.

Thankfulness is far more than saying the right words.

Go is not looking for the polite thank you that we give to everyone anytime we get service at a restaurant, a hair cut, someone opens the door for us, or give us a compliment. This is nice, but God is looking for deeper. (Doesn’t He always!?)  Is your thankfulness genuine or obligatory?

Look at these three levels of thankfulness.

  1. Elementary level: Be thankful in the most basic sense. sacrifice to be thankful. You may not feel thankful, but you can say it!  Fine Lord Yes you got me out of that situation, thanks.
  2. High School level:  In every situation, you can find something to be thankful for.
  3. Graduate School: Be thankful for all things. This is the thankfulness that trusts God and is grateful even for the bad things.

We may not know what the Lord is doing, but we do need to trust that He loves us and wants us to have joy.

Thankfulness is a choice.

Thankfulness is a choice that we make. It’s just as real as any other decision.  We are equipped., God made us with the capacity to express gratitude. It’s a choice.

  • Point One: Thankfulness is a decision
  • Point two: Thankfulness is a decision based on reality

If we look around and see all that we could be thankful for and overlook, we would really boost our gratitude.

  • Point three: Thankfulness is a life-changing decision

We can choose to live in that dark wilderness, or we can choose to live in a high-altitude attitude; focusing on the positive.  Focusing on the negative or having a complaining heart, we can miss opportunities and lessons God sends to us.

Let’s talk a Solution

  1. Are you a thankful person? Which school would you be in?
  2. Do you see the blessings of thankfulness in your life? What percentage is positive and what is negative thinking?
  3. Are you choosing thankfulness over complaining moment by moment?

“Remember, attitude are patterns of thinking formed over a long period of time. But those long periods of time are accumulate moment by moment and choice by choice.”

Replace a Complaining Attitude

Numbers 11:1-2

Say it in a Sentence: Complaining is an attitude choice that if left unchecked will wither my capacity to experience joy and genuine thankfulness.

Those who choose complaining as their lifestyle will spend their lifetime in the wilderness. I don’t think this wilderness they are talking about is like a quality time family camping trip with smores and fishing… this wilderness is dry, bitter, and weary.

When we complain it releases negative emotional energy in a way that will at that moment feel better about a circumstance or a person, but it does not solve anything.

We Choose our attitudes.

The 12 scouts who went out to check out the promise land all had a choice. They could choose to trust God who has never let them down or trust their fears that this was just too much to handle. 10 decided to go with the flesh and they paid the price.  Circumstances and other people play a part in our discussions, but ultimately it is our choice and our consequences to that choice. Even in very extreme cases we also must  choose our attitudes. Someone could be in your exact place, but being thankful for whatever they can find and God will bring a deeper blessing to that person.

Another point to the scripture is this was not their first grumbling. they had been complaining since Egypt and this formed a pattern of bad attitudes of complaining.  It became a habit and those are hard to break.  So instead of making excuses; take responsibility for your choices. Admit that you choose your attitude. You can’t change an attitude until you admit you chose it.

Complaining is a sin

The word sin means “missing the mark.”; “failing in regard to God’s Holy standard and just demands.  So we think it’s just complaining, getting it off my chest, working through it. Ether way if you are complaining God Hates it.  You complain and those who have to listen to you are effected. You are effected. God is effected.

  • Complaining is grumbling about things that aren’t wrong.
  • Complaining involves circumstances not people.
  • Criticism involves people. (Chapter 5)
  • Complaining involves expressing dissatisfaction.
  • Complaining is not just outbursts of frustration, but also our thoughts.
  • Complaining separates us from God.
  • God is listening.

So how common do you think complaining is? I bet we can thinking of everyone we know and remember at least once they had complained.   They have newspaper articles for complaining, tv shows on complaining, and websites just to complain.

The Worst Kind of Complaining

We all complain about every day stuff; traffic, money or our spouse. God hears all that. But there is one particular kind of complaining that frustrates God the most.

Numbers 11:1

The Message (MSG)

Camp Taberah

11 1-3 The people fell to grumbling over their hard life. God heard. When he heard his anger flared; then fire blazed up and burned the outer boundaries of the camp. The people cried out for help to Moses; Moses prayed to God and the fire died down. They named the place Taberah (Blaze) because fire from God had blazed up against them.

Complaining about adversity that is the worst to God. God has given everyone adversity, just enough to accomplish the eternal purposes of God in our lives. Your measure of adversity is like no one else’s. Everyone has a measurement of adversity and God Himself is the one who measured it out.  Instead of being thankful for all God has done, we complain about that one adversity, or even more than one, ether way the good far out numbers the bad.  The bad thing is not adversity; it is our response to it.

So we know complaining is a sin and God hates it! Loves us and wants us to fill up with something other than a bad attitude.  The next chapter is what we will replace our bad attitudes with.

Lord, Change My Attitude

Before it’s too late.

This session of life groups I am taking a class on attitudes and changing them. I just finished Unglued which dealt with controlling my emotions and not freaking out. So this is a good follower.  How long will i keep doing what I do before change comes? Probably until I for sure know what I am doing is not working. I am sure this process will come with many negative challenges.  I am done with this consequences of my actions while trying to do life my way.  I am starting with my attitude. I didn’t just say my husbands attitude, or my children, or that rude neighbor who always looks at me and then my tall grass….. MY ATTITUDE.  Now when should I do this? tomorrow, after tax season when I am not so busy, when school is out…. The title of this session is Lord, Change my attitude before it’s too late.  So that tells me i need to start NOW. Who knows if today is our last, do you want to leave this world knowing you just showered the world with your negative attitude?

This study is based in Numbers. Telling the time where God killed off a whole generation of His children because of their bad attitudes. To make this short (you can look it up)  they finally arrived at the edge of the promise land, grumbling all the way through the desert. They send twelve men in to scout the city see if they could take it over. Only two have faith and because they did the rest wanted to stone them for their crazy notions. This really got God’s fire’s roaring. That was the last straw… His people who had been shown over and over that God was in control and would get them through anything, were again not trusting His. He wanted to wipe them all out and start over again! Like an etch-a-sketch… shake… gone… But Moses pleaded for his people. So God did not kill everyone, those two scouts that had faith were spared and the next generation after their parents died were allowed in the promise land. That grumbling and lack of faith told God that the people thought He couldn’t take care of them  They said their kids would die if they went to battle, but God said no you will die and your children will live. They didn’t just get to die right then they and to wait it out in the wilderness, so close to the promise land, but never to enter it.

God absolutely hates that contrary, doubtful, rebellious attitude. He will not tolerate it. He may not thrust us into a fire-ball, or to live our life in a desert; but He does cause our lives to become like a wilderness. These word in the Bible are not just a story, they are examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did.

I need a procedure manual

I need a procedure Manual

Lysa opens the chapter talking about when her mom comes to town to visit she becomes a little controlling. Her corrupted motive can really make her come unglued.

These motives are our desires – the feelings that drive us to act, react, and live the way we do.  By Lysa trying to impress her mother she became unglued on everyone else. Evil desires.

We may think to ourselves we don’t have evil desires, we are killing people, breaking laws, or anything to land us behind bars; but none the less these desires are evil.

  • Selfishness:  I want things my way.
  • Pride: I see things only from my vantage point.
  • Impatience: I rush things without proper consideration.
  • Anger: I let simmering frustrations erupt.
  • Bitterness: I swallow eruptions and let them fester.

It is very likely we all deal with at least one of the above evil desires from time to time. How can we keep these in check?

Positioning My Heart in the Flow of God’s Power.

We all struggle with wanting to be one way but acting another; having divine power but falling ineffective and unproductive in living out that reality.

2 Peter 1:3-8

Confirming One’s Calling and Election

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature,having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If God’s divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life; why do we still come unglued? Yes God has given us everything, but we also have to make every effort to add some things to our faith. Things like goodness, knowledge, and self-control.  We have to make that choice.  Then position our hearts in the flow of God’s power and work with it rather than against it.

I may not be gentle by nature, but I can be gentle by obedience.

How can we calm ourselves in a possible unglued situation.

  • STEP 1: Remember who you are. 

2 Chronicles 20:3-4

3 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.4 The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.

Jehoshaphat starts this story being alarmed. While his feeling was valid and reasonable indicator or what he was feeling, it didn’t force him into an unglued reaction. why? because he had already determined how he’d respond. The King resolved to inquire of the Lord.

ALARMED and RESOLVED.

We want to resolve to remember who we are.  These situations may effect us, but they do not have to rule us.  We are children of God set apart for a mighty plan. There is nothing in this world worth trading all that for.

  • STEP 2: Redirect your focus to Jesus.

2 Chronicles 20:12

12 Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

It can be frustrating to be in these situations where we have no clue what to do, no easy solutions,  and no certain answers.  We may not know what to do, but we know who to turn to. Fix our attention on the Lord.  The human soul is designed to recognize to the calm assurance of Jesus.  We just have to remember one thing – Jesus.

  • STEP 3: Recognize God’s Job isn’t your job. 

2 Chronicles 20:15

15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’

We get so consumed with trying to figure out a situation that the more we focus the more the unglued feelings come.  We are not responsible for winning this battle. Our only job is to be obedient to God in the midst of what we’re facing.

  • STEP 4: Recite thanks and praises to God.

 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his[c]holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever.”

So facing death… send the choir? Seems silly to people who don’t know the power of worship and praise.  It is very hard to have a thankful heart in the midst of the battle. Some can do it others struggle.  So in an unglued moment, how do we shift from having an attitude to walking in gratitude?

“If this is the worst thing that happens to me today, it’s still a pretty good day.” – Lysa

We can’t authentically praise God for anything that is wrong or evil, but we sure can shift our focus to all that is right and praise Him for that.  When we shift our attitude to gratitude and to praise our God in the midst of it all, our circumstances may not instantly change, but the way we look at those circumstance certainly does.

  • STEP 5: Realize reactions determine reach.

29 The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.

How did he find rest on every side!? That sounds amazing! I always have something tugging at me that needs my attention or stress.  He found peace because in the midst of it all, he honored God with his actions and reactions.  We may not be ruling a kingdom, but people are watching. Our reactions testify to the kind of relationship we have with Jesus and the effect that He has on my heart. Our reactions determine our reach. That is why when we feel ourselves coming unglued we want to train our minds to remember each step, each truth, each choice Jehoshaphat made.

  1. Alarmed, I resolve to remember who I am.
  2. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
  3. Stay in the flow–my job is obedience; God’s job is results
  4. Shift from an attitude to gratitude.
  5. My reactions determine my reach.

Instead of avoiding the reality that we come unglued. Let’s give ourselves a procedure that can help.

The Stuffers

Here are some reasons we may stuff.

  •  I don’t feel safe enough to comfort this person.
  • I don’t have the energy or time to get into a conflict right now.
  • I don’t know how to address the issues.
  • I don’t want to see hypersensitive.
  • I don’t want to get rejected.
  • I don’t want to loose control.
  • I don’t want to make things worse, so I convince myself I can just let it go.

We also feel sometimes its a godly thing to do. Be the better person and let it go.

Proverbs 10:19 (NLT)

19 Too much talk leads to sin.
Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.

Proverbs 15:18 (NLT)

18 A hot-tempered person starts fights;     a cool-tempered person stops them.

I want to be the peacekeeper. The one to end the fight before it begins. I CAN do that, but without holding bitterness is the problem. That’s the difference between healthy processing and stuffing.  We need to work throughout these problems and diffuse the hurt. How can we do that?

  • Prayer
  • Studying the Bible
  • Talking to a counselor or mentor
  • Give it time then possibly see it’s not such a big deal.

The Stuffer Who Builds Barriers

Who hasn’t tried to keep the peace by avoiding confrontation and pretending everything is ok!? As we stuff these emotions down its like one more brick on this giant barrier. Barriers shut down communication. When you determine that other people aren’t safe you label them without them every knowing it. So every time you see them, you see the label, and the can be very confusing for the other person unaware of these labels.  They may know something is wrong with you but no clue what.

Barriers or Boundaries?

Boundaries are simply clearly stated parameters that provide a safe structure for communication and the health of a relationship.  The difference between barriers ad boundaries is honest transparency.  Barriers are scared, boundaries are brave!

What do I really want?

When a situation comes about we need to:

  1. stop and ask ourselves what do we want in this situation?
  2. Then determine how realistic or unrealistic that want is

Impossible People

We know all things are possible with God. But all things are not possible with people who refuse to be led by the Holy Spirit.  Some people you just think confronting them will make things worse and have to back away. But we don’t want to stuff those feelings and feel bitter, So how do we back away and not stuff?

We acknowledge that we can only control ourself. We cannot control anyone else. Shift this focus from trying to fix them and the situation to allowing God to reveal some tender truth to us.

My job isn’t to fix the difficult people in my life or enable them to continue disrespectful or abusive behaviors. My job is to be obedient to God in the way I act and respond to those people.

We have to focus on us. We have to get better and take the necessary steps to keep our soul integrity intact. We have to pursue being the person God wants us to be regardless of how other people react.

The stuffer who collects Retaliation Rocks

Lysa talked about 9/11 and that she’d been fighting with her husband. That what if that was their last day and this stuffer conversation had been the last thing she said to him? It was a perspective changing day.

I Love my husband and I love keeping the peace between us. But I feel so safe with my husband that I’ll act out in ways with him I wouldn’t dare act with others.

We collect these rocks for every action they do that annoys us.  One day those rocks will erupt!  True peacekeeping isn’t about stopping the emotion. It’s about properly processing the emotions before they get stuffed and become toxic.

Processing Questions

Perspective helps process these problems. Ask yourself if this fight is even worth it. What about the situations that keep repeating themselves? Every situation is different but start by asking yourself Am I trying to prove or improve?

When we are trying to prove we are right we will often use our retaliation rocks. Giving them examples of why they are wrong and we are right.  On the other hand, when our desire is to improve the relationship, we seek to understand where the other person is coming from and care enough about the relationship to fight for it rather than against it. Tackle the issues, not the person.

Dealing with Unrealistic Expectations

We can come unglued and stuff hurtful thought all day long around this issue of relationship expectations. Retaliation rocks coated with unmet expectations.  Unrealistic Expectations! Try this!! Make a list of those close to you and the expectations you place on them; especially if you have your own storage unit of retaliation rocks for them specifically. Then prayerfully discern whether they are realistic or unrealistic.

Unrealistic Expectations are things the person isn’t able or willing to do for us. Let go of these. God can work on that person or change us by rearranging our desires.

Realistic Expectations are things we can reasonably expect other people to do for us.  We need to figure out how we can communicate these expectations with gentleness and in the right timing.

Feelings

Whether you are dealing with exploding or stuffing, it all comes back to the raw emotions we’re feeling in the moment.  It is good to feel. Feelings are indicators, and its good to honestly access what we’re feeling and why. We need to keep a gauge on our hearts so we can process, clarify. and understand our lives and relationships more deeply.  We also have a mind. A mind made for truth to reign supreme and to keep my heart in check.  We are children of God made to walk in truth with soul integrity.

The Exploder Who Blames Others

The Exploder Who Blames Others.

Along with THE EXPLODER WHO SHAMES HERSELF; blaming others is also a way exploders deal with their raw emotions. A lack in self control will cause someone to snap and lash out at anyone is arms length. It is hard to display self control when someone else does things out of our control.

When someone else’s actions or statements threaten to pull me into a bad place. I have a choice.

Self Control

Say it out loud in the moment see if that reminds you!

 The choice is whether or not to give the other person the power to control my emotions.  The one who holds their tongue holds the power. 

When we are void of power we are void of self control. The power we are talking about is God’s power working in me. When we react according to God’s Words, we feel that power. When we react contrary to God’s Word, we feel powerless.

Isaiah 55:10-11

10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

God’s Word will not return empty. The answer to keeping God’s power in us and working in us to produce self control is letting God’s Word get inside us.  That’s how we access God’s power.

When your kids are driving you nuts say out loud; I realize I have an enemy and that enemy is not you. The devil is prowling and roaring and looking to devour me through my own lack of self control right now, but I am God’s girl. I am going to humbly and quietly let God have His way in me.  Go to the scripture to calm you.

This is not about memorizing scripture, its more about application of that scripture.  Write them down, keep them in your pocket in your phone, on stick notes! Have them handy!  The more we go to them the more likely we will learn them! Most importantly stay connected to God.

Holy Restraint

Quoting God’s Word in the present tense infuses our hearts with holy restraint and diffuses our reaction so we don’t spew.  This is not the same as self control.  Self control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It’s the external expression of our relationship with God. Holy Restraint is the seed of this fruit.  It’s the internal experience of living with Christ and really applying His truths in my life.

Just like an undercooked cake, we will implode from the pressure without God.

Finding the Quiet

The only way we can see what God is doing and attend to what He reveals is to get quiet with Him.  Here are 5 things that Lysa as discovered in the quiet.

  • In the quiet, we feel safe enough to humble ourselves.
1 Peter 5:6-7
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
  • In the quiet, God lifts us up to a more rational place. When we are in the heat of a tangled mess, crazy emotions drag us down into a pit of hopelessness.
  • In the quiet, anxiety gives way to process. His love comes without unfair human judgement, we soften and feel safe enough to humbly admit we need Him to work on us.
  • In the quiet, we acknowledge that our real enemy isn’t the other person. 

1 Peter 5:8-10

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

  • In the quiet, I can rest assured God will use this conflict for good – no matter how it turns out. Focus on the good God is working out in me through this situation and leave the outcome  with Him.

 

 

The Exploder Who Shames Herself.

Those days where you are so close to the edge of being unglued the littlest things can nudge you over. All the trying to stay calm is just adding to the tension. That’s what makes raw emotions so complicated. They come from out of nowhere. In any situation when these raw emotions will ether move outward or inward; but we can do better.

The Exploder Who Shames Herself.

We can all describe those days where everything just goes wrong, you are late, everyone is rude, and you’d rather just go back to bed and re-do. You are worn thin with your time, energy, and patience. When this happens we are often on the verge of becoming unglued if not already.  Before we become unglued on our husband, children, co-workers, or friends we can stop and see the downside of this reaction.

Sip the shame so you won’t have to guzzle the regret. -Lysa

By stopping and “sipping” or seeing what this blow up will cause can save us from having to be filled with regret. We do not want to explode on others, but we also do not want to stuff.  Remember the balance between the two is soul-intergrity where our honesty is godly.

Finding my soul Integrity in God’s Perspective

We have to start by looking back at Ephesians 6:12.

12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

The person you are mad or annoyed at is not the enemy here. In God’s economy people don’t stand on opposing sides of the conflict scale, People stand on one side and Satan stands on the other.

When we dump hurt into one anthers lives we aren’t leveling the conflict scale. We are elevating Satan’s side of the scale. Satan loves when we do his work for hi by dumping on each other. Instead of letting loose on this flesh and blood annoying person, use this opportunity to shame Satan back to hell. Give grace when they do not deserve it using the power of Chris!

After explaining that Satan is our real enemy, reminding us to put on our spiritual armor each day, and reiterating the absolute necessity of prayer. Paul says one more thing.

19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlesslymake known the mystery of the gospel, – Ephesians 6:19

This verse is in the exact place it needed to be. After we remember Satan is the enemy instead of the person in front of us we must carefully consider the words we speak to this person. Some Christians will pull scriptures out to suit their needs but not God’s. We need to find a non-emotional, clearheaded moment to think of what to say.

Crafting My Response Template

Lysa came up with a template to deal with these potential unglued moments.

  1. Begin by honoring the one offended.   We won’t feel the other person deserves it and they don’t! BUT we don’t deserve God’s grace and we get it daily. Honor them as a person…. a person God loves.  Honor their good qualities.
  2. Keep your responses short and full of grace. The wordier we get, the greater risk we will slip into defensiveness.  If something needs to be clarified, keep it concise and wrapped in grace.  A line to acknowledge the expressed hurt. A line to clarify the intentions. A line of gentle honesty about the issue. If an apology is appropriate a line for that. A line asking for grace.
  3. End by extending compassion. Chances are this person is hurting for reasons that have nothing to do with this situation.  If it is possible to end on a sincere way do so. They could use the love, but nothing fake or forced.

Don’t every harsh word needs an email or response. Ask God before you do so.  Even in face to face issues remember this: honor them, keep it short and wrapped with grace, Extend some kind of compassion.

There is a big difference between a reaction and a reply. Reactions are typically harsh words used to prove how wrong the other person is. A gentle reply turns away wrath.

Choosing a gentle reply doesn’t mean you’re weak; it actually means you possess a rare and godly strength. 

 

Soul Integrity

Soul Integrity

Lysa has decided there are four categories of unglued reactions. You can read my last post here

  1. Exploders who shame themselves
  2. Exploders who blame others
  3. Stuffers who build barriers
  4. Stuffers who collect retaliation rocks

no matter how “kind” of a person we are, we will still have these unglued moments.

Soul integrity is  honesty that’s godly. It brings the passion of the exploder and the peacemaking of the stuffer under the authority of Jesus.

A Balance… in everything balance is key and our emotions is no different. When we explode we embrace the honesty by how we are truly feeling, but miss the godly peacemaking. We can be honest with how we feel and still exaggerate or misinterpret what is factually true.  This may just be emotional spewing.  That is why we need godly honesty; honesty reined in by the Holy Spirit.

Just as we shouldn’t always be blatant about our feelings, we should not be fake.When we stuff and pretend everything is ok we are not being honest. We may be keeping the peace but we are missing the honesty factor. We will end up harboring those feelings and building up barriers, and bitterness. Over time the eruption may be extreme!

Truth and godliness always walk hand in hand.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. – James 3:7-8

Self effort alone cannot tame the tongues and our raw emotions that run wild.  Here’s what James says about the exploders.

7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring. (NLT)

Then James also lets us know how to recover when we do fail, because honestly we all do.

3 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.

When we are humble, we realize our honesty can’t be one-sided. We try to see other people’s perspective.  We stop and think about what we say before we just spout it off.  Here is some wisdom for the stuffer.

14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

The harboring James is talking about is rooted in envy and selfish ambition. Bitter and selfish. Protecting ourselves from the conflicts we don’t want to deal with.  That self protection quickly turns into selfishness.

17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.

Sincere! Being a true peacemaking reaps a harvest of great qualities in our lives right things, godly things, healthy things.

18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Go to the Lord and ask Him where in the four you are. You may be in all of them. Ask Him to show you what He wants you to learn.