Have you ever come unglued? Have your emotions ever welled up to the point where you have temporarily lost control of your words or you actions? I know that I certainly have.
What does coming unglued look like for you? Are you a screamer? A throwing-things type of person? Do you cry? Or say hurtful things? Do you bottle everything up inside and let your emotions seep out other ways?
When I come unglued, I tend to cry and be emotional. Or I get super-cranky and snappy. It’s not pleasant to be around me when I come unglued, and it certainly doesn’t honor God.
In our Wednesday night women’s class at church, we are starting a lesson series on the idea of coming “unglued.” It is based, aptly enough, on Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Unglued: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Raw Emotions. It’s funny–before I read the book, I never considered myself the “emotional” type. I have always felt that I’m a pretty rational person, and since my husband has expressed appreciation for that very quality in me, I feel somewhat validated in that belief. At the same time, a lot of what TerKeurst said in her book really resonated with me. And, as fate would have it, I read her book during a time when I was under a lot of emotional stress, and the temptation to come “unglued” was very strong. In that situation, I found her words and strategies to be very helpful, and I hope that you do, as well!
Tonight in class, we talked about what coming “unglued” looked like for us, and we discussed the first step toward what TerKeurst calls, “Imperfect Progress” in this area: Changing our Thought Patterns. She explains that the more we think a particular thought, the more engraved it becomes on our mind, and the easier it is to think that thought in the future. Thus, we need to do what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 and “take every thought captive.” Specifically, we need to engrave on our mind positive thoughts, such as,
“I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control.”
This mantra has helped me so much since I’ve read it. I have always known that I am the type of person who likes to feel in control of my life. Which is kind of hilarious when you think about it, because really, there is so little that we can control about our existence. And yet, I really love having the illusion of control. However, that means that when I feel out of control, I also feel LOADS of stress.
This week in class, we made our “Out of My Control” lists, where we wrote down all the things that are out of our control AND that have the potential to make us come unglued. On my list, I wrote, “other people’s behavior,” and “financial issues (like selling our house).” Some other lists had “other people’s perception of me,” “my children’s behavior,” and–one that I thought was especially poignant, “Tomorrow.” What’s on YOUR “Out of My Control” list?
Our challenge for this week is that when circumstances feel out of our control, and we find ourselves being pushed to the point of coming unglued, to step back and remind ourselves that “I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control.” After all, as Christians, we serve the One who is IN control of all things, and we are told in His Word to us that He works all things to the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). Sometimes we can see that good, and sometimes we have to simply “walk by faith and not by sight,” but either way, in times of stress and strong emotions, it helps to remind ourselves Whose side we are on.
If you could not attend our class this week, I’d love to hear your answers to the questions we asked in class (What does coming unglued look like for you? And what’s on your “out-of-my-control” list?) I’d also love to know what purposeful thoughts or verses you turn to when you are tempted to come unglued. I think we could all use help in changing our thought patterns, so if you have any helpful suggestions, please share in the comments!