Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Troubleshooting Communication

This is the last day the book looks at the role of communication in our relationships. To conclude the chapter, the author gives us little samplings of Jesus's behavior when he came across people who were just plain difficult to talk to. And boy, have I ever met people that were impossible to work with, talk to, or just plain be around!

Here is how the book says Jesus dealt with them:
-When criticized, Jesus gave a clear, confident response.
-When honestly doubted, Jesus offered proof.
-When ridiculed, Jesus was silent.
-When backed into a corner, Jesus turned on the light. (Meaning he offered people a different way to look at things.)
-When rejected, Jesus went elswhere.

Here is how I admit that I deal with them:
-When criticized, I go straight into attack-mode. But since I am too "friendly" to confront them in person, I usually gripe about them to my husband...or my mom. (Sorry guys!)
-When honestly doubted, I throw the proof in the other person's face and secretly think to myself "neener-neener-neeeener."
-When ridiculed...I don't know that I have ever been ridiculed. But if I ever was, I am sure it would be handled with me yelling out a lot of incoherent sentences and then publicly blubbering like a little baby.
-When backed into a corner, I say whatever I think the other person wants me to in order to avoid confrontation.
-When rejected, I give up...not just on the people who have rejected me, but on dang near everyone.

Looks like I have a lot of work to do to fill in those gaps.

However, the author left the lesson with a happy thought and I want to leave this entry with one too. The chapter concludes with the verse "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21) and then we are challenged to think about times when someone's kind words have left a "life-leveraging impact" on us...challenge accepted :)

-Right after I gave birth to my first child, people seemed to be soliciting all sorts of parenting advice to me. A lot of it ended up overwhelming me, but then my mother-in-law said something that gave me back my confidence: She told me that if I loved my child, then I was giving her everything she needed and that we would figure all the rest out together. As a new mother who was totally self-conscious that I was already ruining my child with every wrong move I didn't even know I was making, these were wonderful, beautiful, encouraging words of truth.

-I hate venting to other people when I am struggling with a certain situation. I always end up feeling so guilty afterward. It might have to do with the fact that I always end up spouting off to someone who has dealt with the same thing I am complaining about but to a much bigger extreme. One time I was in the middle of such a rant to one of my friends when I immediately felt the guilt pile on. I think I was complaining to her about how hard it was to deal with babies when your husband is gone--and then I realized that she had done it with four, for like twelve years longer than I have and with a couple of deployments tacked on. She stopped me in the middle of my apology to say this: Regardless of what anyone else's situation is or was, that does not make your situation any less difficult for you right now. Whenever I start to fall into a guilt trap, I always play those words back in my head. It allows me to acknowledge the difficult time I am going through and to celebrate whenever I am able to work through it...and it is always empowering to recognize strength in the midst of adversity.

-The rest of these are from my husband. I have saved a couple of emails he sent and I keep them in a separate folder in my inbox to use when I am having a crappy day and need some words of encouragement. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing them.
"I love you so much babe. The few minutes I get to talk to you each time are the highlight of my day."
"I love you so much baby, just know that I only do this to keep the world safe for you and the kids. i love you and can't wait to see the three of you again soon. Hopefully only two of the three will be substancially bigger:)" (He makes me laugh!)
"I love and miss you guys so much. Wish we had more time to talk each day. I'm very proud of you and the fact that you are able to take care of the kids, the house, yourself and everything else while I am here. I am so proud that you are my wife."

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