Disagree – agreeably and healthily? 

A disagreement is about learning more about yourself and your partner. It is not about winning.

And I am slowly learning that conflict is a necessary evil for it serves as the refiner’s fire in which we are confronted with our fears, blind spots, and selfishness.

Relationships (good or bad) are magnifying glasses that highlight our differences and they are tools that can help us to learn how to love and cherish our partners better and learn of the areas that we have to surrender to God through prayer.

Today, my relationship served as a magnifying glass.

I found myself in a petty, heated discussion with my partner about minor issues. I was riled up on the other end of the conversation before I realized that I was displacing my frustration with my current crucible on my partner.

Sorry B.

I had to pause and tap into my emotional tank to appreciate that the disagreement was about learning more of myself, the power I had given my current crucible and where my partner was emotionally and spiritually.

This disagreement was not about winning.

And as petty and minor as these heated discussions or disagreements may appear, they are powerful enough to create incredible damage to the trust, safety, romance and longevity of any relationship, if they continue for a consistent amount of time.

So how can we prevent relational causalities from taking place when our thoughts differ from those of our partners?

Relax.

When something is said to us, our emotions become highly aroused and we transition into fight or flight modes. This probably explains why most persons aggressively stonewall their partner or ignore the problem or shut down (flight) or defensively throw stones at their partners through hurtful, critical, snide words or actions (fight).

It is always best to relax and calm ourselves, collect our thoughts and decide on a loving approach to handling the issue at hand.
And, relaxing ourselves takes different forms for many of us. A few months ago, my partner shared that he sometimes asks for time to respond to heated discussions so that he can relax and pray. That is his way of centering himself. I practice deep breathing and scriptural affirmations. The approach you use to pause and relax yourself in a God-approved way, prevents you from saying and committing unnecessary words and actions in the moment of conflict.

Listen warmly to what is said and what is not said.

One thing I have learnt during my current relationship is that what is being fought about is just as important as how you are fighting and those two are just as important as the place your partner is arguing from. It is important to remain sensitive to where your partner is coming from.

Try to listen to your partner’s feelings. Appreciate that all conflict stems from a root and sometimes you have to be the bigger person and dig deep within the emotional lagoon of your partner and ask them how they are feeling in the moment.

It may be something that they are not sharing with you that is frustrating and bothering them and through the common act of displacement they are directing their unwanted and unresolved emotions on you.

Knowing where your partner is coming from emotionally can shift your perspective on the entire disagreement.

Check your motivation.

As much as you are to check the place that your partner may be speaking and responding from, it is critical that you assess the place that you are coming from? How are you feeling in this moment? Will the words you choose help or hurt the situation? Is healing or wholeness the motive for confronting your partner or being right and winning to gain an emotional upper hand, your motivation?

Check your motivation and attitude.

Choose your emotion.

Just as conflict is inevitable; it also always presents choices: Will I be defensive or receptive? Humble or self-righteous? Merciful or stubborn?

How we choose to respond determines if we will strengthen the relationship or further chip at its core.

Choose to respond from a place of love and not a place of fear, anger, control or criticism.

Advice from a wise-head

My dad recently shared with me that sometimes we wait until we are in marriage to actually appreciate the role healthy relationships play in our lives. But even before marriage, relationships, especially committed, public ones, are sermons.

Everything that a couple does is a message to the world about God’s love.

I have considered this thought and have been asking myself every now and again, “What message is my relationship preaching to those watching?” What is my relationship saying about God’s ability to work in two different people to operate in love and as one, even when it is not convenient or beneficial? How is my relationship blessing others as it is blessing my life?”

Recognizing that my relationship is more about God than myself, propels me to fight and argue, well and warmly with my partner because THIS is for the glory of God.

Advice from the Word

God’s word also shines light on how we can engage with our partners better while we experience emotional disruptions.

The following scriptural affirmations have guided me and kept me accountable to God’s standard of love when differences surface in my relationship:

Affirmation: I will speak to my partner respectfully and lovingly.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

Affirmation: I will not allow my anger or frustration to control me.

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27

Affirmation: I will not seek revenge or engage in any form of pettiness or savagery against the one I love.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 ESV

Affirmation: My experience and education may serve as good guides in healthily handling conflict but God is the greatest guide.

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:6 ESV

Affirmation: I will not run away from facing issues with my partner. When the time is right and my emotions are settled, we will address the issues together.

Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. Matthew 5:25-26

Love,

Dee

(C) 2017, Dentrecia Blanchette

 

He Dealt With REJECTION too…

As social beings we need to feel wanted and valued and being rejected or feeling rejected destabilizes our need to belong, not only wounding us emotionally but unsettling us physically and even spiritually.

With such a strong emotion being a constant feature of adulthood, it is critical that we find ways to deal with the emotion.

No one is well acquainted with the awful emotional pinch of rejection like Jesus. He was made sin to save us from the true effects of sin; came unto His own, fully meeting the description of the Messiah based on what the prophets of old had given, still He was rejected by His own. He was betrayed, abandoned, crucified and buried.

He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. John 1: 11

Christ met the prophetic description of who the Messiah would be but failed to meet the expectations of who the people thought their Messiah would be. The people wanted an earthly leader to create and rule an earthly kingdom but Christ came for more than leading temporal earthly kingdoms. He was here to enlist them to be part of a greater, more eternal kingdom — that which is in Heaven.

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Isaiah 53: 3

Even though He preached and worked numerous miracles that made it impossible for anyone to deny His divine worth, He was still rejected.

As telling as the incidences of His rejection were of the people’s closed minds, the methods in which Christ handled the rejection, are worth incorporating in our lives.

His methods will not only help us to cope with rejection but to recover and keep moving in spite of it.

Through several accounts in the New Testament, the religious leaders were intent on exposing Jesus as a pretender and blasphemer.

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Consider Mark 11 and 12. The religious leaders asked Jesus where His authority came from. What gave Him the right to heal people on the Sabbath, teach about God, do miracles, and cast out demons? Who exactly did He think He was—and where did His authority come from? These were trap question (if He said His authority came from God, they could have easily pinpointed that God would not approve of someone who breaks His law; if He said the authority came from Himself, the leadership of the community and crowds would further not believe His claims).

Sometimes our authority and authenticity are questioned by people of influence – people at work, in the community or even in our churches. These seemingly good-natured questions are rooted from rejection.

And it can hurt.

It can hurt to have our calling questioned. It can hurt to have our expertise questioned. It can hurt to be rejected by those you have chosen to work with or minister to.

Jesus’ response to this subtle form of rejection is priceless.  He refused to allow the rejection of others to define Him. Christ turned these moments of rejection into teaching tools to reveal the evil intent of the religious leaders and educate the crowds on God’s great kingdom. He did not engage in a hostile debate with them, but open dialogue as He carefully posed questions of His own to them and awaited their feedback.

When you are rejected by persons of influence, see it as an opportunity to shift their opinion with positive actions; see it as a moment to engage in open dialogue with them to gather feedback that you later can process and apply to your life, if you desire. We must first have an open spirit to do so.

Defensive mechanisms such as denying, arguing, blaming or attacking are natural and normal, but they prevent us from using a seemingly bad situation as an opportunity to learn more of ourselves so that we can enjoy a greater sense of self-awareness and move toward more meaningful self-improvement.

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“Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”

Have you ever heard words like this before from someone you love? I will never hurt you! I will never let you down! They are promises of loyalty by well-meaning close friends or lovers to never let us down or reject us.

Peter was in this position with Jesus.

As he was sitting outside in the courtyard, a servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.” But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said. A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.” Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly (Matthew 26:69-75, NLT)

We have all had someone close who rejected us. Someone whom we grew up with or fell in love with, for whatever reason rejecting us as a person or rejecting  the role we once played in their lives. Out of fear or weakness, they reject us and this form of rejection, stings the most.

It hurts.

For Christ, Peter’s rejection cost Him physical pain as the soldiers, mocked him mercilessly, after Peter denied who his friend was.

 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” And they said many other insulting things to him. Luke 22: 64 – 65

What’s telling is that Christ allowed the natural progression toward His death to continue, after that moment. He was taken to Pilot in the morning and everything went downhill from there. See Luke 22: 66 onward and Luke 23. Sometimes, that is all we can do when we are let down by those who are close. We have to just grieve naturally. Let the process come to its own end and move on bravely…if not….gracefully.

Christ also predicted that Peter would deny Him.

Are we this vigilant? Do we possess such a great spirit of discernment where we can look at the patterns of behaviors of a friend and can assume that sooner or later, a form of rejection or let down, will occur?

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So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Matthew 27: 17

But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” Luke 23: 18

The crowd rejected the truth – Jesus and accepted the criminal.

People will often reject the truth that is in front of them, and choose a comforting lie. Jesus simply responded, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That should be our approach when we encounter persons who prefer a sweet lie than a saving truth – pray to God that their eyes may be opened to the truth and they may wake out of their ignorance.

It’s so important to keep in mind that rejection is not necessarily—probably not even usually—a reflection on who we are or the way we present ourselves. Sometimes, we are rejected for unmerited reasons, as Jesus was rejected by the crowd. Other times, we are rejected because we simply remind persons of a phase in their life that they have not accepted, a bad friend who left them disappointed….or because the very values we cherish are different from theirs.

Whatever the unmerited reason of being the victim of rejection – give yourself enough self-care to make it through each day.

Each day is stressed here because every day deserves a different, fiercer approach of loving ourselves.

Every time the Savior interacted with the crowd and experienced some form of rejection, He separated Himself and recharged Himself with the strength and love of His Father.

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5: 16

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Jesus treated Himself with love and compassion; the definition of self-care.

Self-care is a necessity. Of all the methods Christ used while dealing with rejected, this is the most practical – caring for ourselves when we have been wounded.

How do you care for yourself – exercising, recharging with a good book, spending time with someone you love, cooking? Whatever your go to self- care routine or habit is – do lots of it.

As we move forward in spite of the rejection that we face in our daily lives, let us surrender our rejection of Christ and others along the way. And let us not forget that rejection from man isn’t equal to rejection from God or rejection of God.

Love, peace and light,

Dee

(c) 2016, Dentrecia Blanchette

Honey Dips – Thoughts on 9/11

We remember it distinctly —- the day terrorism shook our worlds.

We remember where we were, who we were with and what we were doing; and even years after the tragedy, we still remember the feelings that filled our hearts.

Perhaps the most challenging part about remembering tragedies is that the memories still remain vivid and real, no matter the amount of years that have passed or the numerous changes that occurred in our lives after the tragedy….memories are dangerous long livers, never leaving the crevices of our hearts or the compartments of our minds.

Every year, I remember how I was filled to the brim of my heart with fear and anxiety….I knew evil existed in the world but I never knew of an evil that was capable of taking form as it did on 9/11.

That day expanded my understanding of the evil that exists in the world.

I remember how 9/11 made me feel on that tragic day and I can’t imagine the deep hurtful emotions that the tragedy released and still releases in those who lost their loved ones.

Tragedies like 9/11 change our lives forever. Whether we are directly or indirectly affected by such gruesome, unexplainable acts, we are never left the same.

There are many of us who have been plummeted by the overwhelming emotions birthed by a tragedy. Our hearts are heavy and weary and we search for constant peace and security as each day passes. We move through the maze of life hoping for an ounce of happiness. We live empty, burdened lives….the pain begins to change us and when we look into the mirror, we are unaware of the skeleton that stands in front of us.

We wonder if we will get through the pain and if God will help us to get through this season; we wonder if we can ever forgive ourselves, God and the individual(s) who caused us pain; we wonder if we will make it through this season of turbulence.

Today, you may be battling a pain that is common to man but unfamiliar to your spirit, you may feel like a stranger and wonder if you will last another day; you may be suffering in silence or secret or suffering on a grand scale….whatever the pain you are battling with…be encouraged that you will get through this pain with Christ as your guide. WE will get through this season, this period, this phase, this tragedy…it will not be a quick or pain free process but if we place every ounce of pain in the hand of God, He will use the mess for a greater purpose and move us through this pain until we are whole again.

Though the memories may never disappear, their impact on our emotions can lose their power, when we give God those vivid, hurtful memories.

God’s love will guide us to new friends, renewed purposes, and a new identity. God’s love will light up the darkness that exists in our hearts. God’s love will make us whole again.

In this your moment of pain, walk or crawl in the love of God for there is where wholeness will come.

– Dee

(c) 2013, Dentrecia Blanchette

Honey Dips – God does not take naps…

t feels as if your world has suddenly shifted for the worse. Your options are few. Everything that is said or done to you hurts. You are sensitive. You are vulnerable. You are hurt. In the midst of the changes you just want to pause and cry, cry for all the emotions you are feeling but are not able to describe or explain. You wonder if God is sleeping; is He seeing everything you are experiencing; is He aware of how much this inner hurt is killing you on the inside?

Psalm 121: 3, has the answer for those of us who are experiencing inner hurt that leaves us anxious, pensive and vulnerable.

The psalm says, “He will not let your foot slip— He who watches over you will not slumber….”

The scripture suggests that our God is always awake, he does not take naps and we can find rest in His sleepless vigilance no matter the internal battles or external oppositions we are faced with currently. We do not have to fret and obsess and bury ourselves in work or in a crazed state of worry when are facing problems or challenging situations. We can be at peace because our God is wide wake – He is a wakeful, watchful loving Father who is concerned about us, loves us and is working consistently with us to reflect His image and rise above the current experience in our lives!

We can turn the One who never sleeps today. I can trust the One who never sleeps today. We can smile and be at peace because the One who never sleeps will never let you down. Our God stands secure; our God stands awake.

Dee

© 2013, Dentrecia Blanchette