This is the 3rd Blog in the series, “Bringing Joy to the World,” highlighting how Life Model Works has positively impacted individuals, couples, families, churches, communities and the world in 2016!
This stuff really works!
Initially I assumed that all this “brain science” stuff was just another form of Christian self-help that would likely fail, so I was skeptical. My wife, Laura, was very interested and committed to it, however, so I agreed to listen and find out more. We did a weekend Rekindle with Chris Coursey and the Rare Leadership Conference with Jim Wilder, and Laura went on to do the first module of Thrive this year.
But it wasn’t until my wife began teaching Restarting that I really decided to take it seriously with the intent of putting it into practice. As always, God is faithful, so as I intentionally studied and learned he provided an opportunity to prove the truth of how this works.
The opportunity was afforded one morning by a relative who has a unique ability to manipulate and irritate the lives of those around her. We had been discussing a family problem by email (her default media for communicating when she is upset or thinks the information she has will be upsetting), and that morning I opened her response to an email I had sent the day before. I always try to treat her with gentle kindness and had emphasized the positive results of a recent difficulty family event. Her response was angry, implying that I had no concept of what she had been through and that she was the most wounded party involved. She even went as far as hoping that God would “reveal the evil” that she had been subjected to so that everyone else could judge appropriately. Not once did she consider the feelings of the other party involved, or even consider the things that she had done to cause and exacerbate the event. She was attacking me for “looking on the bright side,” and trying to see God’s purpose in the result.
As I read the email, I, of course, became angry. I felt flushed and I’m sure an observer would have seen me red-faced. I had been trying to do the right thing—to make peace and soothe hurt feelings—and I was being attacked. As I continued to read it seemed like this was what always happened, that I always got caught in the middle of the fight and pulled in both directions. I felt my shoulders droop as despair began to take over from anger, and I thought, “things will never change in this family.” To make matters worse, I had spent too much time on the email, and I needed to hurry off. I briefly explained to Laura the email message and rushed out the door. My day was off to a bad start.
Fortunately, I was not very busy that day and did not have to see any clients. I worked with my business partner most of the day with little success. It was hot, and it seemed like driving around in the heat sapped away any energy we had. We quit a little early with the excuse of other things to do, more than a little dejected, I headed home.
As usual, the traffic was bad, but I didn’t turn on the radio—I wanted time to think, and I wanted God to guide me. As I considered the email I remembered that this was about relationships: the relationship between the two family members, and my relationship with them. I needed to get out of my negative emotions so I could remain available to each one of them to help them get out of their negative emotions. But how was I going do that?
Arriving home, normally I would have indulged in a snack, but because I recognized what my emotional state was I busied myself instead and waited for Laura to get home—I felt I needed to be relational with her so I could get out of the negative emotion. When she arrived, we began to talk about the email giving each other a lot of “face time” (eye contact), and that emotional hug that only a spouse can give (and a physical hug as well). Within a few minutes, I was out of the dejected mood and experiencing some quality joy with my wife.
I cannot say that my return to joy has resolved the feud between the two family members. I was able to respond to the female relative without anger, continuing to reassure her that the result of the event would turn out for the best. I was able to keep myself from being dragged down into the feud as well as avoiding drawing others into it. More importantly, I allowed the Spirit to guide me rather than turning to my own means of relief.
I am counting this as a win; this stuff really works!
Special thanks to the Falconers’ for sharing this testimony.
Life Model Works brings joy to the world through a model for life that works! This is made possible only possible by generous people support this work financially. Please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry with a year-end gift so more people can experience joy in the year ahead.
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