Categories
anger Christian Living

Let the Boo-Boo Breathe

“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” — (Proverbs 14:29)

As a teacher at an elementary school, I’ve heard young children say some pretty profound things. I was out on the playground one day with the kids, when a little guy came up to me to show me his fancy band-aid. It was a big purple one that covered half his little forehead. He pointed to it and said, “My mommy says this is a magic band-aid. It let’s the boo-boo breathe.”

Let the boo-boo breathe

Not long after my conversation with the enlightened kindergartener, I was called to my principal’s office for a meeting with an upset parent. Before the mother arrived, I asked my boss how I should respond.

I’ll always be grateful for her advice. She told me that the less I said the better. “Most caregivers just want to be heard,” my principal said. “They need to know that you care about their child.”

So I listened. It was hard when the mother made unfounded accusations–based on false information from her child–but I held my peace until it was my turn to speak. Calmly, I said, “Maam, we each want the same thing; we both want what is best for your child.”

Instantly, the icy wall between us melted. The mother began, with tears in her eyes, to tell of her struggles as a single parent. Like my principal said, an overwhelmed caregiver just wanted to be heard. She needed to know that someone understood.

I wish I could say this is how I’ve always approached interpersonal conflict. The reality is, many times in my life I’ve lost perspective and overreacted in frustration or anger. This has usually only made things worse.

Here are a few ways I let the “boo-boo breathe,” to give myself a buffer zone before acting:

  • Do No More for 24 – When you’re super angry, whatever you say or do is unlikely to help the situation. Give yourself 24 hours (or more) to cool off, and then calmly state your grievances (if necessary) with the other party.
  • Just Don’t It – When you aren’t sure how to react to a situation, do this: NOTHING. Like the old song by the Beatles says, 🎶”There will be an answer. Let it be.”🎶 Okay, this one is almost the same as Do No More for 24, but not quite. Maybe it’s not necessary for you to DO anything.
  • Talk With a Trustworthy Friend – Sometimes it can be helpful to take the decision out of your own hands. Share your dilemma with a trusted friend–someone who is not so close to the situation–and let them help you decide.

Finally, here are a few of my favorite “Magic Band-aid” scriptures to let the boo-boo breathe. I’d love to hear some of yours. Or maybe you have a story about how a relational time-out saved the day. Please share!


“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” — (Ecclesiastes 7:9)

“The wise fear the Lord and shun evil, but a fool is hot headed and yet feels secure.” — (Proverbs 14:16)

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil.” — (Psalm 37:8)

A parting thought:

The power of a particular emotion doesn’t necessarily determine it’s value.

Regular David (me)

Photo by Luca Severin on Unsplash

Categories
Christian Living grace

The Power of Weakness

I was a bit puzzled with a recent post on the The Clean, Good Life called How To: Pick Something to Improve On. The author, Matcha, challenged me to list my strengths and weaknesses–in order of magnitude–and then get to work on my biggest weakness.

Wait a second! Most self-improvement experts say to focus on improving your strengths, not weaknesses, I said to myself–only half convinced.

Ok, I’ll give it a shot.

Strengths (high to low): kind, genuine, congenial, empathetic, open and gregarious.

Weaknesses (high to low): approval addict, overly sensitive, insecure, impetuous and conceited.

I understand, reading about me gazing at my own navel is not particularly engaging, but please read on.

Conducting this exercise wasn’t easy–especially the part about admitting my weaknesses. But I think I see what Matcha is getting at.

Considering my shortcomings not only made me aware of my frailties, it invited me to confront them.

The apostle Paul had such an aha moment when he prayed for Jesus to take away his greatest weakness–something he called his “thorn in the flesh.”

As you no doubt recall, this is how Christ responded:

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. – (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Paul responds by saying, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – (2 Corinthians 12:10) He then comments that, for Christ’s sake, he actually DELIGHTS in weaknesses.

For when I am weak, then I am strong. – (2 Corinthians 12:11)

I’ve read these verses of scripture many times, but after Matcha’s improvement exercise, they took on new meaning.

Because God’s power is made perfect in weakness, His grace is always sufficient!

You and I don’t have to fear our weaknesses or avoid them. On the contrary, we should delight in them–knowing that His strength is perfect.

His strength is perfect when our strength is gone.
He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.

Steven Curtis Chapman

Maybe you’d like to try Matcha’s exercise? What are YOUR strengths and weaknesses? And how will you get to work on your biggest weakness (besides taking Paul’s advice)?😇

Photo by Daniel Mingook Kim on Unsplash

Categories
Christian Blog honesty

Talking Face to Face Versus Facebook

Photo by Jopwell on Pexels.com

Confession: I used to spend an inordinate amount of time on Facebook. But I didn’t even realize when too much was enough–until my wife said, “David, you’re on your phone ALL the time!” So I checked my usage. Sure enough, I spent an average of 2 hours 20 minutes every day–on Facebook alone!

I ended up deactivating, and then deleting my account.

Yes, there were withdrawal symptoms, but after about a week I stopped constantly checking my phone for those little red numbers. FOMO was eclipsed by FOMU–Fear Of Messing Up.

Being off Facebook has been a mixed blessing. We’ve missed a few funerals; yep, it was on Facebook, and we don’t take the newspaper. It’s also harder to keep up with some of our family members.

But here’s something on the positive side: being off FB has encouraged me to have more face to face conversations–especially with people who aren’t exactly like me.

And when someone is right in front of you, you benefit from tone of voice, facial expressions, and other non-verbal cues to help prevent misunderstandings. Plus, unlike when I was on social media, I’m not as tempted to quickly (and often inappropriately) respond to a perceived slight.

The Original Social Validation Feedback Loop

The Christian love (agape) found in the early church was deep and purposeful. (Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37). Such mutual benevolent concern is hard to find in cyberspace, where interactions are often superficial and impulsive.

When Christ Himself was asked about the greatest commandment, He responded, Love God first, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:28-31) Loving your neighbor was not a recent rule, (Leviticus 19:18) but by the time of the New Testament, most folks held a rather narrow view. Jesus challenges this thought with the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37).

He makes it crystal clear that any person in need is our neighbor.

On FB, my ‘neighbors’ tended to be people who were a lot like me; there’s nothing wrong with that, but it felt like an echo chamber. It just wasn’t a good place for me to try to live by the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12).

I simply share my story, and am not judging you. Facebook took up too much of my life, so I quit. Perhaps you’re stronger and can handle it.

God’s best to you.