14 May 2014

The Stuffers: Do you build barriers or collect retaliation rocks?

Book Club Wednesday

Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst

Chapter 6: Stuffers

I have been reading this book by Lysa T. for a few months now and this current chapter I do not like one bit.  I don't like it because, well, it is me.

I have realized that if I want to make wise choices (in the midst of raw emotions) then I at least have to admit that I am a stuffer and that I need God to help me change the way I deal with my hurt.

I am just like Lysa in that, I am an encourager by nature.  I love to write cards, text my friends sweet things, leave cute notes for my hubby, anything to make the people that I care for and love smile.  I think this is why when someone gives me a negative comment, or vibe, or some form of discouragement, it cuts me to the core.  I go out of my way to be sensitive and say the right thing to others and when someone is flip with a comment or sarcastic deliberately, I just can't really deal to well.

Lysa says: "There are two types of stuffer reactions: stuffers who build barriers (definitely me) and those that who collect retaliation rocks" (definitely not me, at least I don't think so).

Lysa also gives a list for reasons why we stuff:

* I don't feel safe enough to confront this person.
* I don't have the energy or the time to get into a conflict right now.
* I don't know how to address the issue.
* I don't want to seem hypersensitive.
* I don't want to get rejected.
* I don't want to lose control.
* I don't want to make things worse, so I convince myself I can just let it go.

Guess which three reasons I use the most? I don't know how to address the issue, I don't want to get rejected, and I don't want to make things worse.

If you are a stuffer like me, which reasons do you favor?

Many times I honestly just don't want to make things worse, I think to myself, "Just forgive and forget and let it go, act like whatever happened or whatever was said, didn't really bother you."

But the thing is, I can't forget, I am like an elephant.  I remember everything and every detail.  Ask John, I can remember what I was wearing during the offense, how the person sounded, what they were wearing, their tone, their words, everything stays vivid in my mind.  I pray and ask God to help me forgive and forget but then I start thinking about it again and again and I replay and rehash the conversation in my mind.

ALL of this only makes me angrier...and more bitter.

You might think you are being the better Christian or the one taking the higher road by not saying anything, but honestly if you are just stuffing and building a barrier, the barrier will destroy the relationship and you will only be worse off and bitter.  I totally can relate to this.

Lysa says that the problem with stuffing is that it totally isn't fair to the other person because they know something is wrong but have no idea what it is because there is no healthy open communication.  So every interaction confuses them.  They know something is wrong but have no clue what it is.  Eventually, this relationship will shrivel up and die because it's been deprived of open communication, the life giving oxygen that fuels good relationships.


The sad thing is...sometimes I think the energy it takes to have good communication with our friends and family is so BIG and so MUCH effort that we just sweep issues under the rug hoping they will resolve themselves on their own.  But they never do, do they?

Lysa then goes on to talk about how in a healthy relationship instead of building barriers you set up boundaries.  You say things like, "If you continue to .... (hurt me in this way) ...I will be forced to ... (set up this boundary).

Setting up a boundary is honest transparency.  Setting up a barrier is just going to lead to isolation in the relationship.

Relationships are so tricky.  But I love the reminder that God gives us more than just a heart to use in processing life...He gives us a mind as well.  Therefore, as we really seek to do what God wants in our life, when we put Him first, when we are reading the Bible and asking Him to RENEW our mind, He can graciously help us to change the way we think, and help us to heal hurts and to set boundaries and not barriers.

It's a lot easier to shut people out and not deal with what we are feeling.  It takes a lot of bravery and courage to face our feelings, be transparent, and talk to the people we care about and work on our relationships.  And to me, it's worth the work and effort, even if it's hard.


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