With my disability, communication is always a challenge for me.
Earlier today, I had a situation where I let frustration get the best of me. I allowed frustration over something that happened in one situation affect my response to another situation that was by far less frustrating. Both situations came down to communication.
In the first situation I repeatedly had to repeat myself because of my poor speech. Some days no matter how many times I repeat myself, I’m not going to be understood. I should mention that this happened when I didn’t have access to my computer. Of course!
What made this more frustrating was the fact that I have given my nurses a tool to use in those situations where understanding me is especially difficult. She didn’t use the tools at her disposal. Then, she got upset with me for getting frustrated with not being understood. At that point, I went from frustration to anger.
To make my day worse, although I thought everything had settled, I had another communication situation.
I have been playing an adventure of DnD (Dungeons and Dragons in non geek speak). We take our turns by posting messages online. We started a game that is more complicated than we were used to. The DM (person running the game) recently wrote complaining about our slowness post and our missing clues that she thought were easy. We straightened out that rough patch. There was a learning curve and she eventually realized that. And we felt we were finally getting used to the format.
Then the DM writes a post that was unclear and confusing but we didn’t catch it until two days later. She completely overlooked two people’s actions which confused things. I had already taken my turn and would have done something else if I had the right information.
Anyway, this frustrated and angered me. She complains we aren’t getting it and then can’t be clear. I wrote asking for clarification but ended up coming across as attacking her. After she replied being offended I reread my message and if it wasn’t for four words she wouldn’t have felt attacked. Four little words changed the whole tone of the message.
I was frustrated when I wrote. I broke my own rule about not writing messages when angry. This teaches me the importance of watching how I speak to others and my attitude. Our choice of words and even our tone can make a big difference.
Here was another situation where I was reacting rather than using all the tools at my disposal.
You’d think I’d learn.
We can all learn a lesson to use all the tools at our disposal. God has given us the tools to hear and understand him but we have to be willing to use them. He has given us the Bible and Holy Spirit. If I read the bible I will gain a greater understanding of God and how he wants me to live and behave.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – James 3:16-17
He gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us, remind us of the word’s of Jesus, and even give us the words to say when sharing the gospel.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. – John 14:26
And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. – Mark 13-10-11
You’d think I would stop getting myself frustrated with God, when I have these tools at my disposal but don’t always take advantage of them. I am not the best at using these tools consistently but I am growing in this area. I currently am doing a bible in a year reading plan but deeper study is lacking. The Holy Spirit dwells in us but we seldom fully listen to it. That little voice telling you to reach out to that friend you haven’t seen in awhile is usually the Holy Spirit. That voice telling you to read a book and keeps telling you when you don’t is him also. All that is necessary to develop an ear to hear the Spirit is to spend time in prayer and repetition. I’m talking conversational prayer, not a list of requests.
I need to also remember that I AM also a tool. I also have to learn that people need to see Jesus through me. I need to remember the importance of watching how I speak to others and my attitude. My choice of words and even my tone can make a big difference in showing God’s love, and defusing a difficult situation.
I can either tear someone down or build them up. I can inflame a situation or diffuse it. I know for me it is difficult to control my tongue if I let my emotions take over and get the better of me.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – Proverbs 10:18
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. – James 3:9-12
That is why I have a rule against reacting in the heat of the moment when my emotions are running high. The hard part is catching myself when I am about to break that rule.
Sometimes I am forced to give an answer in the moment. But usually I can wait to address whatever the issue may be. I find it helpful to meditate, pray or vent to a friend. I usually need to do all three. Prayer and meditation help to change my focus which gives me the distance I need from the situation to be able to respond appropriately.
Venting to a friend helps me to get rid of some of the stronger emotions. Sometimes after doing this the problem doesn’t seem quite so big. Also, a lot of times my friend will see something I don’t or help me to remember that the other person is a child of God and needs grace.
I obviously don’t do this perfectly but I’m growing.
If you are like me and usually stuff your emotions until you explode then you have to find the right balance through the Holy Spirit. Don’t use this as an excuse not to express yourself and take care of difficult situations. But that will be a discussion for another day.
Although I get all frustrated and angry, I must remember too to use all the tools that God makes available to communicate the love of God to others.