Please allow me a Paul Revere moment: The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming!
Whew! Got that out of my system.
If those words strike fear into your heart the same way Paul Revere’s words did on that dark spring night several hundred years ago then get thee to a book store (or Amazon) right away and buy yourself a copy of this month’s Honest Book Review Book: Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst.*
In Unglued, Lysa challenges us in a funny, transparent, and practical way not to let our emotions get the best of us in difficult situations. I don’t know about you, but that’s something I need to hear right about now.
See, I’m staring down the barrel of an 11 hour car trip (one-way) and then 5 glorious days cooped up in a tiny hotel room with a moody, emotional teenager. Hooray for the holidays, right?
I’m just praying I don’t have a repeat of an experience I had with Jacob (the aforementioned emotional teenager) about a month ago when I completely blew off the wonderful lessons in this book and instead blew up!
I can’t even remember the exact cause of the outburst, but he was convinced that Juliana, my 11-year-old daughter, is the favorite (cue all of the parental eye rolls). At first he said it with a bit of a smile, and was teasing me good-naturedly. Then, like only a 13-year-old can do, the switch was flipped and he had convinced himself in 5 seconds flat that it was true and that he was unloved, misunderstood, and mistreated.
In Unglued Lysa talks about 4 kinds of responses to conflict:
Exploders who shame themselves
Exploders who blame others
Stuffers who build barriers
Stuffers who collect retaliation rocks (pg. 44)
Well, “exploder” seems like an adequate description of what happened next.
As he skulked off, I yelled, “Get in here, RIGHT NOW!”
And then I continued to yell like a completely unhinged woman trying to be heard over a roaring jet engine, letting him know that I did not find his pity party funny and that he was, in fact, incorrect. Juliana is not the favorite and neither is he (and any further mention of his sister being the favorite would ensure that he will never be the favorite—haha! I didn’t actually say that and that’s a joke in case you were wondering).
Immediately afterwards I was ashamed that I hadn’t kept my cool, and that I had allowed my emotions to carry me away—again! Although, I did have to suppress a smile about a week later when Juliana was pushing my buttons and Jacob told her not to “poke the bear.” But as I was wallowing in my regret I was reminded of Lysa’s wise words in Unglued about not allowing my circumstances and the people around me to dictate my responses. Because we can’t control other people and their behavior, but we can control ourselves (with God’s help, of course!).
Maybe that’s a great reminder for you too as we head into the holiday season, which can sometimes be filled with difficult interactions and difficult people. Just like Paul Revere was there to warn the colonists and help them prepare for the British soldiers, I’m here to help you prepare for the coming apocalypse—um, I mean, holidays (or life with a precious teenager!). And if you need a little extra dose of encouragement and truly helpful strategies for keeping your emotions in check this holiday season then check out Lysa’s book, Unglued.
*This post contains an Amazon affiliate link (that means that if you buy the book via this link Amazon pays me a small commission at no extra cost to you).