This week in our Unglued book study, we’re talking about Chapters Five and Six – The Exploders and The Stuffers. Let’s start with Chapter Five – The Exploders.
There are two kinds of exploders: those who shame themselves and those who blame others. And if you’re extra-special like me, you get the honor of claiming both.
As far as the Exploders That Shame, I don’t think there’s a mother alive who can’t say they’ve never lost their stuff with their kids then later, likely as she’s about to lay her over-tired head on the pillow, felt guilt and regret for the temper tantrum. I know I can say a loud and clear “Amen!” to this one.
On page 63, Lysa shares a quote chock-full of wisdom: “Sip the shame so you won’t have to guzzle the regret.”
I’ve lost my stuff enough to know what it feels like to guzzle the regret.
But what about those “grace growers” in our lives? You know the ones – the people who send zingers via email or text that ignites a flame of anger?
Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
The struggles we experience with the grace growers in our lives are not really between us and them. It’s between us and the enemy. The enemy does his best work through the relationships in our lives and there’s nothing that gives him more satisfaction than to see God’s people in strife.
In other words, we’re on the same side as our grace growers – even if it doesn’t feel like it.
We can’t control how others will treat us but we can control how we react. And to be straight-up honest, being kind and loving after I’ve been attacked by someone isn’t one of my strengths.
But I will say, the more I just slow down and really hear what the other person is saying without trying to craft my defense, the better the discussion goes.
Lysa offers some advice when responding to a confrontational text or email – craft a standard response to so when you get the zinger emails and texts, you don’t add fuel to the fire. I love Lysa’s quote on page 65: “A Jesus girl who rises up and unexpectedly gives grace when she surely could have done otherwise reveals the power and the mystery of Christ at work – in her life and in the world.”
Our actions do indeed speak louder than words – especially the actions we choose when we’re under fire. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Women are like teabags. You never know what they’re made of until you put them in hot water.”
Let’s be made of the finest Earl Gray, sister.
After you have had some time to think and pray about your response, Lysa recommends following this format:
1. Start with honoring the offended. “I can tell you really care about your friendships.”
2. Keep your response short and filled with grace. “I understand how hard it can be to feel left-out. Can I share my heart with you? It was a very last minute get-together because our kids all go to the same school and we met for coffee right after drop-off. It wasn’t intentional but I can see how you would feel left-out. I’m so sorry because that wasn’t our intent at all.”
3. End with extending compassion. “With compassion, Natalie” or “With Much Love, Natalie”
H.G.C: Honor, Grace, Compassion
As Lysa states on page 69, “Choosing a gentle response doesn’t mean you’re weak; it actually means you possess a rare and godly strength.”
As for the Exploders Who Blame, they claim others are responsible for their outburst – not them. But when we do this, we admit that we give others the power to dictate the state of our heart. If someone else’s choices or words make us a little crazy, we have a choice on how we react, don’t we? When we blame others, we tell them they have the power to make our day good or bad – depending on what they feel like on that particular day.
In either case, when we start to feel ourselves about to explode, it’s self-control that will help us to react how God want’s us to react. It’s no accident that self-control is one of the fruits of the spirit!
When we are faced with a tough situation, it’s the scripture we remember and the promises God makes that will help us to remember the part about self-control. It’s also critical to have time to think and pray before responding.
I know we only talked about the Exploders but this post was running a bit long. We’ll discuss the Stuffers on Wednesday night during our discussion on Facebook. Click here to join us!