6.9.2015

When I Want to Be Mean

I looked at the text message in complete disbelief. Why couldn’t this person see how insensitive and hurtful she was being?

I don’t know who made up the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Either they had nerves of steel, or they lived on a deserted island with no other people. Because not only do words hurt me but they make me want to fight back and be mean, too.

Have you ever had a little situation with someone where you just knew you were right and they were wrong? Or at least you could make a really good case for your side of things?

Oh how I have this burning need to state my case in these kinds of situations. It’s like an inner attorney rises up desperate to defend my rights and get the other person to see things my way. This is pretty normal, right?

Yes. But normal doesn’t always mean good. Especially in light of Colossians 2:6-7, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

I should live rooted in Jesus’ teaching and overflow with thankfulness. The opposite of this is when I’m rooted in self-centered opinions and overflowing with grumbling. I need to let God show me how to see things from this other person’s side and gain a different perspective. In doing so, I will be strengthened and taught.

Colossians 3:12-14 reminds me, “… as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (NIV).

My job isn’t to fix this person or make them see my side of things. My job is to obey God by offering an extension of the forgiveness I’ve been given. But I can also stay healthy in this situation by remembering forgiveness doesn’t mean giving this person access in my life that sets me up for destructive patterns.

Finally, Colossians 3:17 reminds me, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (NIV).

Everything I do and say tells a story of whom I serve. If I act out of anger and spite, I give in to the ways of the enemy, spreading his darkness. If I honor the Lord with my actions, I serve to further the Name of Jesus and spread His light.

At the end of the day, honoring God leads to good things. Anything else leads to confusion, emotional exhaustion and a lack of good things.

I processed the text message mentioned above with my husband. He said something that brought much clarity. “Lysa, you know when you’ve taken the high road, God blesses you. You’ve seen these blessings over and over as you’ve made choices that honor God. So choose a blessing today and save yourself the emotional turmoil of trying to prove you’re right.”

He’s a smart man.

I know this isn’t easy stuff. I’m having to live it in the midst of feeling hurt. But I’m also feeling more at peace being able to see another perspective — a healthier perspective — a Biblical perspective. And I’m really excited about the blessings that are surely coming my way.

Dear Lord, You know the hurtful words and actions that have come my way. Please give me Your strength to not retaliate, but instead to react based on Your Truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

unglued_cover Gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations out of your control without acting out of control with my book Unglued. You can get your copy here.

Today I’m giving away 5 copies of Unglued! Leave a comment below telling me one way you’ll choose to take the high road this week.

1.5.2015

A customer service rep and my justified frustration bad reaction…

I was talking with a customer service agent from an online company I have enjoyed doing business with for years. I was in a hurry to check things off my growing to-do list and called thinking she could help me with a return. But when I explained I needed to return this certain item, our conversation started to head south.

She informed me that my item wasn’t on the returnable list. It was on the final sale list. I had no clue there was a returnable list and a final sale list. It wasn’t posted online or stated in their catalog.

I logically stated my case and felt sure she would see things my way. But she didn’t. No matter what I said or explained, she wouldn’t budge.

I knew the lady on the other end of the phone was just following procedure, but it made no sense. It wasn’t right, and I was frustrated!

And my tone of voice made it clear just how frustrated I was. Honestly, I didn’t have the time or patience to deal with this hiccup in my day.

Later that same day, I was in line at the grocery store behind a man who wanted to use an expired coupon. The check out gal calmly stated she couldn’t honor his coupon. Well, he didn’t like that one bit. And he made sure everyone around them knew how much he didn’t like this situation.

I stood back appalled at his actions.

Until… I started thinking about the fact that I’d acted almost the same way with the customer service agent who refused what I wanted. The conviction wove its way through my heart and made me feel so bad for the way I’d reacted toward that woman…

I’m sharing more on what I learned about having better reactions in dealing with daily frustrations over at (in)courage today. Click here to read the rest of my post.

1.21.2014

3 Questions You Must Ask Before Reacting

My heart raced as I saw the number pop up on my phone. Nothing in me wanted to have this conversation. I was beyond aggravated. Hurt. Angry. And tired of being misunderstood.

I answered the call with two goals in mind – to prove how right I was and how wrong they were.

How do you think that conversation went?

Not well.

This conflict happened over 5 years ago so the rush of emotion has dissipated and I can see more clearly how wrong my approach was.

I learned from that conflict. Hopefully, I learn something from every conflict – especially how to have better reactions. I’m so far from being in a place where I can shine my halo.

But I’m getting better.

While my initial thoughts when a conflict arises are usually those same old “I’ll show you” thoughts, I’ve progressed by not letting those leak into my reactions.

How?

By asking myself three questions:

1. What part of this issue can I own and apologize for?

There are always two sides to every issue. And no side is perfectly right or all the way wrong.

If I make peace with the part I need to own and apologize for ‘before’ the conversation, there’s a greater chance I’ll stay calm ‘in’ the conversation. Proverbs 15:1 is a verse I’ve memorized and recalled often, “A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

2. How can I soften my heart toward this person so I honor them despite how they react?

Gosh, this one is hard. Really hard. But I know hurt people hurt people.

Usually the person with whom I’m having a conflict has some kind of past or current hurt in their life feeding this issue. Chances are that hurt doesn’t have anything to do with me but is adding to their emotional response in this conflict.

It’s easier to soften my heart if I can sympathize with their hurt I can’t see. If I can duck below my pride, honor will be my reward. Proverbs 29:23 reminds us, “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.”

3. If I knew this conversation was being video taped and then shown to people I greatly respect, how would this change my reaction?

What if I showed up to church this week and my pastor directed everyone to watch the screen for an example of a bad reaction? And then my face appeared. Have. Mercy. I. Would. Surely. Faint. #Call911.

While it is highly unlikely that our conversation would be recorded and viewed, it is very likely others are watching our reaction. Our kids. Our co-workers. Our friends. But here’s the one that really grabs my heart – my Jesus is very much present. Philippians 4:5 reminds us, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

I know every conflict has variables that must be considered. Some conflicts have escalated to the point where professionals must be called in to help. Be mindful and prayerful about this.

But for the everyday conflicts we all have, these questions are good to consider. If we control our reactions in the short-term, we don’t have to live with ‘reaction regret’ in the long-term.

3 Questions You Must Ask Before Reacting

If you found these 3 questions helpful, my book Unglued digs deeper into managing conflict in a godly way. Leave a comment telling me which question resonated with you the most and you’ll be entered to win 1 of 5 Unglued books I’m giving away today.