I began this chapter 20 days ago and still haven’t finished. So I decided to use a strategy that works well when I get stuck…just start writing. So here it goes…
Lysa starts this chapter talking about someone resigning from a committee she leads; she thought they were on the same page when it came to some last minute budget decisions for an event. The woman wanted the end user to eat the costs and Lysa wanted to rework the budget so that the cost remained the same. Needless to say, there lied a difference of opinion, enough of a difference for the woman to jump ship and resign. It threw Lysa for a loop and her day as well.
It’s funny how a small occurrence like a delivered email could cause a normal day to become quite irregular. Now, I’m not saying that this woman’s contribution should be overlooked, but looking on the surface without emotion, it was an email and people resign all the time. Why would it derail Lysa whole day?
Now, taking the more human approach…it derailed her day because she volunteered to be the head of this committee. Often times, anything we tend to give…our time, money and/or any cause we work hard for our emotions tend to get involved. We create relationships with people we work with and any good leader should evaluate and reevaluate their leadership skills from time to time anyway but especially when they lose a valuable team member. Unfortunately, she reacted as most of us would, instead of taking an objective look at the situation, she went off the deep end. She began to question her abilities as a leader, if others felt the same and what steps would take place if they all left; going from 0 to 60.
Relationships don’t come in packages of perfection; relationships come in packages of potential. They have the potential to be great. But they also have the potential to be hard at times. No matter what, it takes work to make it work. And wrapped in between the wonderful and the work are inevitable times of imperfection and rejection. (TerKeurst, pg. 90)
What I love about this chapter so far is that she was so honest. I mean she could’ve just negated to reveal that she went into all of those different scenarios but she didn’t. After she came out on the other side of those thoughts she came to a better conclusion, ” But I’m determined to examine how I can have better conversations in the future when differing opinions are involved.” So she realized that she should approached the situation from a “me too” standpoint opposed to a “you should’ve or could’ve” standpoint.
- The “You should” standpoint-feels like you’re bossy or preaching to the person and can instantly make someone feel defensive. This can come off as you are more concerned about making a point then you are about making progress.
- The “You could” standpoint-feels like you know better than them and that you are attempting to teach them a lesson. It can also come off as you know more than them. The person might react by withdrawing, shutting down or even resigning
Even as I analyze this information, it’s imperative that even when we use the “Me too” standpoint, that we don’t use it as a ploy to manipulate the situation in our favor. It’s easy to see that the “You” statements tend to divide and the “Me too” statements are inclusive and validates the person’s feelings. As I read a little further, Lysa notes what the “Me too” statements are not meant to do.
- It’s not a tactic to steal the spotlight
- It’s not something we should use to compete with the person
- It’s not a validation from the actions that spring from their feelings
It does acknowledge their feelings and let’s them know that we understand where they are coming from. She then goes further and states “You belong” statement which communicates acceptance.
Acceptance is like an antibiotic that prevents past rejections from turning into present day infections. (TerKurst, pg. 95)
What I’m realizing about this is only a mature person can operate in this. At the time of possible conflict, we often want to be understood which we mistake by wanting to be heard and the wanting to be heard says “What I have to say is more important than anything else.” So to operate in this, requires discipline because this says, “I want to be understood but the relationship is more important. Let me make sure I deal with this delicately.”
I’ve been here before, I think it was one of the first times that I could tell I was growing. So the incident in question happened this past Christmas. A friend of mine went dumpster diving and found a wreath, a huge wreath (think large, think extra large..this was slightly larger than that). She wanted to use this as decoration. Initially, I thought she wasn’t serious about this but turns out she was. We laughed about it a couple of times because to me the wreath looked more like a zero. So when a mutual friend called we were telling her about it and everyone was making jokes and it was funny and I didn’t see where I crossed any boundaries because we were all laughing. So I went to take a picture of it. On my way home, she called me and told me how much it hurt her feelings that I took the picture. At first, I thought it was just a wreath and we were all just laughing, no big deal but in an instant before I could even discredit her feelings, I heard the tone in her voice. I mean, I really listened. In that instant it was more important to repair my friendship than it was to have a laugh at her expense. When I really thought about it, it was fun when we were all laughing together, it was no longer funny when it felt like I was laughing at her. I immediately apologized because I never intentionally wanted to make anyone feel that they are the target of any joke I tell. Me apologizing, not making light of the situation and taking responsibility for being irresponsible with her feelings said “I understand, you do belong. Your feelings matter,” versus “You could’ve…left that in the dump” or “You should’ve… known better.”
Going back to the book, Lysa finishes the chapter referencing a character from the Bible who doesn’t get as much shine as she should, Abigail. Abigail was Nabal’s wife; his name literally means fool, and in this popular story referencing David’s life, Nabal lived up to his namesake. You probably already know the story, but just in case you don’t, David and his men spent some time guarding Nabal’s property. There came a time when David and his men grew tired and hungry. So, the men were sent to ask Nabal for food and shelter and they came back with a nasty response from Nabal. At this point, David had already been through a lot, when I say a lot I mean A LOT, and that remark was the straw that broke the camel’s back. When Abigail heard about this, she met David and graciously appealed to his authority.
One of the servants told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “David sent messengers from the wilderness to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them. Yet these men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing. Night and day they were a wall around us the whole time we were herding our sheep near them. Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.” Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David and his men descending toward her, and she met them. David had just said, “It’s been useless—all my watching over this fellow’s property in the wilderness so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good. May God deal with David, be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him!” When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. She fell at his feet and said: Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrong doing will be found in you as long as you shall live. Even though someone is pursing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies He will hurl away as the pocket of a sling. -1 Samuel 25:14-29
Through no fault of her own, Abigail humbled herself by tending to his wounds. Her words were life, they said “you matter”, they say “me too”, they say “you are important, valuable to God and your future is secure.” What I love about this book is Lysa’s insight; where she connects David’s rejections. I never saw that David wasn’t only laboring under Saul’s rejection but also his father’s.
Once God rejected Saul, Samuel, the prophet, was sent to Jesse’s home to find the next king. Jesse was asked to bring out all of his sons, he brought them all before Samuel except for David. Jesse was asked for all of his sons and he legit forgot or even worse, neglected to consider him worthy to come before Samuel. I never considered how David must of felt when entering that room and seeing all of his brothers. I’ve felt that to an extent but not like that. Of course, most people would probably say he was with the sheep, maybe they couldn’t get to him. The fact remains, they were able to get to him once Samuel asked for him. So when Nabal, treated him like that, he opened very old and deep wounds. Never mind the fact that he had been anointed and running for his life because his jealous best friend’s father was attempting to kill him and all he wanted to do was bring him peace. Jesse, Saul and Nabal all conveyed messages of “You don’t matter”, “You don’t belong,” “You are unimportant,” “You aren’t valuable” and “You aren’t secure.”
I’m grateful that this was explained because even in the midst of lies, the truth still heals.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. -Proverbs 18:21
So what fruit are you eating on “Me too” or “You should” and “You could?”