October 5, 2011

More difficult than I thought…

30 Days of No Defense

James 1:19 - "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry."

In case you didn’t read THIS POST, you might not know that Anton and I have committed ourselves to a year of challenges.  One per month, starting of course with last month’s 30 Days of Nothing – which we finished amazingly strong – and going through August of 2012!  This month we’re focusing on an internal struggle – to treat each other (our kids, and our spouses) with kindness and gentleness, putting into heavy practice James 1:19 (above). 

One of the things we are really anxious to work on in our family is being too angry, too quick to speak, and way too fast to DEFEND our actions.  We need to develop an attitude of gentleness toward each other.  So for one month, we are going to work each and every day to live by this verse.  We are posting it on the refrigerator, on the mirrors, and anywhere else we think it might help us to remember.  Anton and I are going to work very hard at listening and not defending when a conflict arises.
Now you’re caught up!  If this challenge is not for you (I need your secret!)  – follow along anyway, and be sure to stick around and see what’s coming for November! 

When you draw a line in the sand with yourself, be prepared.  Be ready for all kinds of things to happen.  All kinds of Murphy's law kinds of things.

When you say you’re not eating chocolate or sweets anymore, be prepared to be inundated with the most deliciously irresistible array of confectionery goodness you have ever seen.  When you commit to exercising, just plan ahead that every time you get up to go and DO IT, you’re going to be met with the worst case of apathy, and the most overwhelming sense of exhaustion – making it seem next to impossible to meet your goal.  When you plan to avoid spending, as we did last month, you can just assume that everything you never knew you wanted will be on SALE at unbelievable, unbeatable, unfathomable prices.  Trust me on that one.

And so it is also true that when you say “this is the month that we’re going to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry"?  You can bet your sweet bippy (what’s a bippy, by the by?) that you will find yourself tuning out whatever someone is trying to tell you if it goes in contrast with what you want to hear, talking over those you love to prove your point, and feeling your anger boil over in a nano-second when you feel you’ve been wronged in the slightest way.

You might find that you yell more.

You might experience excessive bouts of anger and frustration over the simplest of things.

You might find that listening with gentle intent to someone you are already yelling/angry/frustrated at is akin to cramming your entire leg into a coke bottle.  Or fitting into your high school jeans. Ahem.  Impossible.

So that is all to say; this Challenge is kicking my hiney.  All up one side of the wall and down the other and back around again.  And as Anton put it so well, a Challenge like 30 Days of Nothing was easier in many ways, because it was very tangible.  Here’s five dollars – now don’t spend it.  On the contrary, a challenge like this, where you are forced to look at your emotional instincts in a different way – and try to overhaul them?  Try to revise how you're head has been responding for a long time, and reprogram your heart to respond instead?  Ugh.  So much more difficult than I thought...

Since the MINUTE we said “this is what we’re going to do for October” – we have been overwhelmed with petty arguments, fruitless defenses (each of us thinking our position to be right) and ridiculous scenarios that involve things like how a shirt is folded, how rice should be cooked first before being put in a casserole, or how long should nap-time really be.  Yes.  Those “ultra important life-ending” issues that just couldn’t have come at a worse time.

There is no use denying it.  Our 30 Days of “no defense” is five days in and in many ways – five days failed. 

But can I tell you something else?  I have never been so convicted of how much we are the opposite of the verse we’re trying to live out.  Thus, all the more reason to work extra hard at making it work.  All the more incentive to push harder to be quick at listening, slow to speak and slow to anger.  An area I confess to needing LOTS of work in.  Maybe a lot more than I originally thought…

Can you relate?

P.s. typically, this is a Comment Free Blog.  And I like it that way for lots of reasons covered on my "Comment Free" tab.  However, given that we are doing a year of Challenges from September 2011 - August 2012 - I really wanted to make it easier for my readers to participate and share.  So comments will be turned on for a while on most but not all posts.  Thanks all!


Anna said...

You two are very brave, committed people. I know you will win this! You know that once you say, "I'm going to live what God says in this verse," Satan is ready with the zingers. Pray over each other, for each other, and for yourselves during this month to build a solid foundation that even Satan cannot tumble. I'll be praying for you, too!

The Gang's Momma! said...

Wow. So impressed and awed. I don't know if I am brave enough to lay out a challenge btw The Boss and I that boldly... I fear I would fail miserably. He'd be fine, just stay quiet and keep things to himself, which is pretty much how he handles most of his life anyway. Such restraint is beyond me, I fear :( And to include the kids, now all old enough to launch their own defenses? OY - I almost laugh at the idea of it. Sheepishly.

Which leads me to believe that we maybe ought to consider something like this.... heh. Greaaaaaaaaat.

Sis said...

Wow, I love this! You are an inspiration. keep it up!


Lori said...

Truly an inspiration! Isn't it ironic that we are to live our lives by the word of God, but when it comes down to it, we would rather choose which commands best suit our mood. Love it girl...thank you for the challenge, I know it is one that I need to do.
Will be praying for you. xoxo

Christy said...

Hi Christie,

OK we are right there with you. Kevin and I dont fight often but we do get short with eachother. I feel like this verse applies to how I treat my kids. With older kids-- the boys 11 and 13-- I get upset all the time and I find more than often I am mad at them than not. I feel like I am mean mom and that they are going to hate me someday. I dont want to be like that. the girls I get angry at as well and I get very short with them and sometimes unloving. When I get like that, I know the last thing my kids need is for me to be harsh and short and unloving to them but I am so selfish that I cant stop myself. I want to change this becuase in those times I am upset or my kids are upset, those are the times they need me to be loving. I am going to join in this month and work on myself. I have lots of reasons to work on myself and this is a wonderful challenge beucase I do struggle with this area-- alot!!! Thanks for doing this and I will do a post on this as well.



crazy said...

Wow...I've hit 3 blogs so far this morning.....and 2 of them (yes yours is one!!) made me cry. I needed to hear this and read this...so thanks for caring and sharing. Ann C