This Is Not That
January 28, 2019
Verse for the Week: Lamentations 3:10; “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD”
Have you ever had a reaction that seemed way out of proportion? Or been on the receiving end of a reaction that didn’t fit the circumstance?
It can be troubling, even offensive if you are the receiver. But it happens to all of us. Emotions get hijacked by a past experience and take center stage. Then we bob and weave past the person in front of us and the words they are saying as they fight off demons from the past.
This happens because we are human beings wired with emotions. These emotions connect to our actions like strings to a puppet. We react and unconscious scripts run on repeat until they are hardwired into our personality with little hope of change.
It can be as simple as a misunderstanding of what was said, a sideways look, or an unintended omission. I just had such an experience with my daughter and before we knew it we were in the middle of a heated battle—no winners in sight.
After all was said and done, and I was able to rewind the tapes that played loud through the walls of our home, I knew, without a doubt, this was not that! Our argument was not what I said or how I said it. It was what she heard me say as it filtered through an unresolved issue from the past.
I also knew if we didn’t address it, it would continue to rear its ugly head over and over again.
Miscommunication causes chaos. This is a simple fact. We say what we think makes sense, only to be misunderstood.
This happens because communication is fraught with nuance. Some of us are better than others at deciphering the subtleties of such variances. Even so, we all fall at the feet of miscommunication at one time or another.
Either way, our humanness stands strong and tall in these situations so without the help of the Spirit we are sunk. As spiritual beings, we hold the power within us to see things our human eyes can’t see. To hear things our human ears can’t hear. To know things our human souls can’t possibly know.
Use it. Invite the power of God into the situation and let Him reveal what needs to be known, understood, and done. Then, do it.
In addition to what the Spirit can do in and through us, we must own our responsibility to know how to set ourselves up for success. Our scripture verse this week implores us to examine our ways. To test them and therefore understand them better.
A few key components of communication can transform an exchange. For starters, being direct leaves little room for inference. That said, we need to be thoughtful because there’s tension between politeness and directness and we can lose our audience quickly if we don’t take care with a direct approach.
We also find our intentions can get lost in translation because of the channel or mode of delivery. A verbal exchange offers clues of intention with body language, tone of voice, and eye contact. Not so with a phone or a computer.
Given so much of our communication is done by way of a device, be sure intention is expressed. Even emoji’s can be useful in this case to portray tone and intention.
Listening is another important factor present in communication. Poor listening skills can kill a conversation before it even gets started. And because we exist in a world where input is king, we have to navigate the choppy waters of constant distraction in order to listen well.
In moments of miscommunication, when emotions are hot and rebuttals are on the tip of our tongue waiting to fire, it takes crazy courage and the wherewithal to autocorrect in the moment. To stop and listen for wisdom and understanding of what is really going on. Only then can we determine how to respond.
Some situations call for a complete abort of mission. Walk away, soldier! Other situations, call for a quiet and calm tongue that asks a probing question.
Communication is the cornerstone of relationship. It can be hard work. But well worth the effort. Build strong. Build deep. Build something you can be proud of.
Next time you find yourself in a precarious exchange that doesn’t add up, check yourself. Examine your ways. Invite God into the equation to ensure a better outcome. Although we can’t change how others decide to communicate with us or how they interpret what we say, we can take care to be clear and purposeful in our exchange with them.
Lord God, help me to communicate with care. Give me insight to speak clearly, courage to listen well, and wisdom to know when to walk away. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
This week invite the Spirit into your communication. Ask for revelation to know and understand how to communicate with clarity and care.
Hugs for a great week and remember, you are not alone. Be blessed in knowing your this from your that 😉