If you have not read chapter 6 yet in our book…go ahead and do that now. Then come back here for more on this week’s chapter…The Stuffer’s.
I want to begin my reflection with a warning…do not to fall into the trap that it is always the other person’s fault for our unglued moments. I sometimes feel that we don’t take responsibility for our actions and our reactions. We alone are responsible for our unglued moments, it is not the fault of the person we are acting out to or reacting to…they have no more control over us than what we allow them to have. If we are not giving control to God, then the responsibility for the outcome falls upon us.
I am going to admit that I have been struggling with what to share with you all for Chapter 6. I have been reading and writing and deleting almost all day. I have thought and rethought, and I really was not happy with anything I wrote. But then God provided direction through an old post I found on my blog.
First though I need to remind you all of my confession during week four…I am a stuffer who stuffs. This is new territory for me because I normally do not stuff and truthfully I am stuffing for all of the wrong reasons. The blog I wrote back in February of this year is speaking to me about my main reason for stuffing right now. I am so glad that I had difficulties with what to write because God wanted me to remember…I have a voice!
Week 6 Assignments
Word for the Week – “Improvement” and/or “Restore”
Define and look up synonyms for our word(s) of the week – write this in your “unglued” journal. Look at your “mandate to change” and decide how the word “IMPROVEMENT” and/or “RESTORE” will help you meet your objectives. Write this information down in your journal. Date each day of your journal this week. Make a word circle using our word(s) for the week and include in the circle those things that will help you meet your objective and place outside of the circle those things that will hinder your objective.
Memory Verse for this week – “I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.” Revelation 2:19
“In that day I will restore the fallen house of David. I will repair its damaged walls. From the ruins I will rebuild it and restore its former glory.” Amos 9:11
Look up the Memory Verse(s) in several different translations of the Bible; decide which translation speaks to your heart and memorize that one. Write this version in your journal and let the group know which one you picked. Look at your “Mandate to Change” and see how this verse(s) applies to helping your meet your objectives. Make changes to your Mandate, as needed, including this verse(s).
Set aside 70 minutes every day this week to spend alone with God. Get out your “Unglued” journal and put the date at the top of the page. Write out what you did during your time with God. You do not have to commit to this 70 minutes all in one sitting…you can divide this time up throughout your day. I do strongly urge you though, to spend at least 15 minutes at the start of your day with God. If you read a devotion write down which one you read, if you read your Bible…what chapters or verses did you read. Make a note of what spoke to you during this time. Make sure that you schedule in some quiet time, where you are just silent and listen for what God is saying to you. Write down all the thoughts that come to you during this time of listening.
Examine WHAT HAPPENED IN YOUR LIFE OVER THIS PAST WEEK for areas that caused you to become “unglued”. You can do this by going back to your journal and re-reading your entries.
Record what you learned from each area in your journal. Make note if this is a new “unglued” area in your life.
Surrender that unbalanced area to God and ask Him to show you how to abide in Him instead of relying upon yourself and your own strength. Write out a prayer to God about those areas that you are surrendering to Him.
At the end of each day, reflect back on how your day went…be honest with yourself about those moments when you became “unglued.” Did you realize right away that you were not allowing God to hold you all together or did it take a while? What helped you in that moment? Record this information in your journal and, if need be, write an amendment to your “mandate to change.”
Check out the daily posts to the Many Strands page to see if they will help you make some imperfect progress in your unglued moments. There are four that are posted daily…2 in the evening; our 52 Week Word study (Prayer is the word for this week), and for a few more days, our 90 day Bible reading plan and then 2 are shared in the morning; Today’s Prayer and Moments with God.
Which reasons typically lead you to avoid confrontation by pretending everything is fine? Circle all that apply.
I don’t feel safe enough to confront this person.
I don’t have the energy or the time to get into a conflict.
I don’t know how to address it.
I don’t want to seem hypersensitive.
I don’t want to be rejected.
I don’t want to lose control.
I don’t want to make things worse, so I convince myself I can just let it go.
I don’t want to be perceived as ungodly.
Of the reasons you circled, which would you say was primary in your most recent experience of stuffing? Look back at your weekly journal as a reminder of those stuffer moments. Highlight the reason on the list that stands out most for you in those stuffer moments. Briefly reflect on the reason why you felt the highlighted one stood out to you and ask that tough question of “why”. For example; Why is it important to me to know how to address it? Why is it important to me to stay in control? Why is it important to me to be perceived as godly? Pick one of these why questions or make up your own…”Why is it important to me to…”
When you answer this “why” question do your best to keep your response focused on you rather than on the other person in your stuffer moment. For example, even if you feel it was the other person’s aggressive behavior that made you “stuff”, remember that mere mortals can only do to you what you allow them to do to you. (My interpretation of Hebrews 13:6). I think it is good for us to examine why this person or this situation brings out the stuffer inside of us.
After you have written down the answer to your “why” question, imagine that you are interviewing yourself about your response. What might you be curious about? Write down one or two additional questions you might ask yourself and then write your responses to those questions.
In what ways, if any, do your responses to the why question and to your own questions help you to understand more about yourself and your relationships?
In your journal make three columns; title the first column “People With Whom I have Avoided Confrontation”; the second heading should be “Mental Labels I have Attached to This Person” and the third heading should read “The Impact My Stuffing Has Had on our Relationship”. Identify two or three people with whom you have chosen to avoid confrontation by stuffing your emotions and then determine what mental labels you have placed on this person and how your stuffing has impacted your relationship with them.
As you reflect on your chart and the impact stuffing emotions has had on your relationships, what cracks are you aware of that is preventing you in making that imperfect progress toward soul integrity?
Paul offers these guidelines for keeping relational soul integrity intact:
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. (Romans 12:17-18 NLT)
Using the relationships you wrote on your chart as reference, how might these guidelines help you take the necessary steps to begin reclaiming your soul integrity?
I can refuse to pay back evil with more evil by…
I can refuse to assign the word evil to another person’s intentions by…
I can choose to be honorable by…
Doing all that I can to live in peace might include…
God, thank You for making it possible for me to be at peace with You. I want to experience that same peace in my relationships, but I have sometimes sacrificed my soul integrity to get it. This has caused pain for me and for people I care about. I especially need Your help with…
Lord, be my Prince of Peace. I want to honor You in all of my relationships. Give me the strength I need today to pursue honesty that’s godly. In Jesus Name, Amen.