Even best-selling author Lysa TerKeurst has come “unglued”. The dynamic president of Proverbs 31 Ministries understands how life and even husbands can make you explode. That’s OK, Lysa says in her book Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions. Feelings don’t have to dictate our decisions and lives. The goal is “imperfect progress,” TerKeurst writes, not perfection.
Why was it important to write about women and their emotions?
This for me, especially in times of conflict, was important to learn how to handle conflict in the right way. There are two tendencies I have. I have the tendency to explode, or be way to honest. I would stuff my feelings down when I’m really not fine. So handling conflict in both these different ways was damaging to my relationships. I know God gave me emotions so I can experience life, not destroy it. So I set out on a journey to write on this topic on my blog. As I started blogging about it, people started coming out in droves wanting to talk about it. I realized [that] I wasn’t alone. A lot of women and men too, have too much emotion during conflict.
How can we harness our emotions?
Here are two quick tips. One for the exploder, of course there are two kinds of exploders and two kinds of stuffers I talk about in the book. We all come to that moment where we decide if we’re going to get angry and let it all rip or am I going to hold back a little back to try to process this in a healthier way. I learned in that moment of decision that I have to add two things: I have to add a pause and really let the Holy Spirit intervene. I have to let some Biblical truth interrupt my natural reaction. Ask this question for perspective: “If this is the worst thing that happens to me today, isn’t it still a pretty great day?” Even though it won’t fix every conflict or relationship I have, it certainly gets me started in the right way.
Can’t we just blame it on hormones?
We can blame it on hormones all day. They definitely play a part in it. I won’t negate them at all. Hormones are part of life. We need to learn how to operate in the midst of those raw emotions because we want our conflicts to get better. There are two things we can add to a conflict. You can add to conflict escalation or relationship restoration. We are going to go in one or two directions. I always say that conflict in a relationship isn’t bad. It’s knowing how to properly handle the conflict you have. Of course we’re going have circumstances that are going to add to our raw emotions. We’re going to have hormones that add to our raw emotions. We’re going to have time and financial pressures that add to our raw emotions. Stresses and strains are going to add to the emotions of the relationship. We have to determine how we are going to handle this in a healthier way.
It’s being more strategic during our day...
That’s right. Before a conflict arises in a non-emotional moment, be like “I am going to do this, and then this, and then this.” I trained myself to ask this question: “Am I trying to prove that I am right?” Or “Am I trying to improve the relationship?” because you can’t do both at the same time. This will really help you redirect the things you might have said and say things in a healthier way.
Can you tell us how important it is for women to be real [transparent with ourselves]?
There are two things I wanted to do in this book. First, I wanted women to make imperfect progress. When you are dealing with conflict, relationships and emotions, it’s unrealistic to say, “Do step one, two and three,” and everything will go right for you. That’s unrealistic when you are dealing with conflict, relationships and emotions. It’s like nailing Jell-O to a wall. My goal in the book is not perfection. My goal in the book is to make imperfect progress. We’re going to have mess ups along the way, but just make a little progress today and a little progress tomorrow. I want to equip women to make better daily choices when it comes to their relationships, their reactions, how to handle conflict and their emotions in the midst of it all. You might see me at Target on the verge of having a complete meltdown. I might forget every single word I wrote about in Unglued. I give my readers permission to tap me on the shoulder and say, “Lisa, just make a little imperfect progress.”
Can you give us a scripture that has encouraged you?
This one is one of my favorites. This one applies if you’re an exploder or a stuffer. It is Psalm 19:14. “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock, my Redeemer.” The reason I like that scripture so much is because it addresses the exploder and the stuffer. I want the words that come out of my mouth to be pleasing and I want the thoughts pushed down in my heart to be pleasing in the sight of the Lord.