A while back when I first got my Kindle I bought a handful of books to read, but became busy and quickly forgot all about them. I recently decided to get back into reading. When I was browsing through my options, I just knew I had to check out this one- it was perfect for both the season of life I was in then and am in now.
If you have been reading my posts then you have probably picked up on the fact that I am an emotional person. So I was obviously interested in reading the book called “Making Wise Choices In The Midst Of Raw Emotions.” This book was so revealing to me in how I react toward my emotions (Stuffing Vs. Exploding which I will explain), and therefore showing the ways in which I needed to change in order to better glorify God.
In the very beginning of the book, TerKeurst has an invitation to her readers to join her on the path of imperfect progress. She knows how discouraging it is to desire change but then fail before you have even started and so she challenges herself, and her readers to remember that there is hope and that change is slow.
“Sometimes we girls think if we don’t make instant progress, then real change isn’t coming. But that’s not so. There is a beautiful reality called imperfect progress. The day I realized the glorious hope of this kind of imperfect change is the day I gave myself permission to believe I really could be different. Imperfect changes are slow steps of progress wrapped in grace … imperfect progress….There will be tender mercies for the raw emotions. No need to bend under the weight of past mistakes. That kind of bending breaks us. And there has already been enough brokenness here. No, we won’t bend from the weight of our past, but we will bow to the One who holds out hope for a better future. It’s a truth-filled future in which God reveals how emotions can work for us instead of against us.”
I am often guilty of this way of thinking and this quote provided a new way of seeking change. It allowed for mistakes and reminded me that it is only by God’s grace that I make any progress at all. I love that she acknowledges that we will still have these raw emotions, but through seeking God and His wisdom, we can use these emotions for good and not allow them to overcome us. We should have control of our emotions, not the reverse. These are true words that I need to hear.
“Oh dear friend, there is a reason you are reading these words. There is a hurt we share. But might we also drink deeply from God’s cup of hope and grace and peace as well? The fresh page is here for the turning. A new script is waiting to be written. And together we will be courageous women gathering up our unglued experiences and exchanging them for something new. New ways. New perspectives. New me. New you. And it will be good to make this imperfect progress together.”
There are four different categories of reactions that TerKeurst discusses: The exploder who shames herself, the exploder who blames others, the stuffer who builds barriers, and the stuffer who collects retaliation rocks. TerKeurst does more than just define these categories—she gives personal examples and provides words of encouragement and hope.
The Exploder Who Shames Herself
“When I’m feeling unglued with a stranger, I tend to be an exploder who later shames herself for not being more Christian-like…If you’ve been believing this same lie, hang on to this truth: Just the fact that you’re reading this book is a sign of great progress. Refuse to wallow in the depressing angst condemnation brings. On the other hand, embrace any conviction you feel. Condemnation defeats us. Conviction unlocks the greatest potential for change”
The Exploder Who Blames Others
“When I’m feeling unglued with my kids, I tend to be an exploder who blames them for pushing me to this place….I try to throw out a quick, “But I love you,” as they get out of the car and head into school. My sentiments fall flat. I blame them for all the chaos that’s gotten us to this unglued place. And later the regret of it all falls heavy. So heavy. I get that sinking feeling again that I won’t ever really be able to change: I’ll probably always be a slave to the raw emotions that catch me off guard. What a lie.”
*The Stuffer Who Builds Barriers*
“When I’m feeling unglued with my friends or my parents, I tend to be a stuffer who builds barriers…As the communication died, so did the relationship. The regret fell heavy. So heavy. And there it was again. That sinking feeling I wouldn’t ever really be able to change: I’ll probably always be a slave to the raw emotions that catch me off guard. What a lie.”
The Stuffer Who Collects Retaliation Rocks
“When I’m feeling unglued with my husband, I tend to collect retaliation rocks to use as weapons in future disagreements…The regret eventually fell heavy once again. So heavy. Yes, like I said before, it’s the same sinking feeling that I won’t ever really be able to change: I’ll probably always be a slave to the raw emotions that catch me off guard—a slave locked in the hard places. What a lie.”
For three of these categories she ends with the same sentence: “I’ll probably always be a slave to the raw emotions that catch me off guard—a slave locked in the hard places. What a lie.” I know that doesn’t sound very hopeful, but it gives some encouragement in knowing that she has been in the same place we have, a place of feeling hopeless and unable to get out from under these reactions. Notice the last three words though, “WHAT A LIE!!!!!” She is trying to emphasize the fact that these feelings are not accurate at all, rather she goes into our soul’s integrity.
“Soul integrity is honesty that’s godly. It brings the passion of the exploder and the peacemaking of the stuffer under the authority of Jesus where honesty and godliness embrace and balance each other. When I explode, I embrace the honesty part but refuse to be reined in by the godly part. You see, my honest feelings may not be truthful assessments of the situation. I can be honest with how I feel and still exaggerate or misinterpret what is factually true. I can feel justified in being blatant about my feelings — not hiding a thing—and prideful for being so real, all under the guise of being honest enough not to stuff. But in reality, honesty that isn’t true isn’t honesty at all. It may just be emotional spewing. That’s why we need godly honesty—honesty reined in by the Holy Spirit—if we’re going to have authentic soul integrity. In the Christian world we often excuse this kind of unbalanced honesty with little justifications such as, “I’m just keeping it real,” “I’m just sayin’,” “I’m just being honest,” “Sometimes the truth hurts.” Oh, how it must grieve God’s heart to see His people reject the godliness that should always balance out our honesty.”
I’m sorry for using such long quotes, but TerKeurst really says it best and there is just so much truth in the words she writes. She discusses so much more than this, but I have already given away enough!
Like what you’ve read about this book? Go to Amazon.com and purchase it as an online book or search for it in your local book store!