I can't remember where I first saw a mention of the book Unglued, but I know I read about it on a couple blogs. The title caught my attention, as I unfortunately have been struggling with coming unglued on a more regular basis. =( And to quote the book, "Instead of avoiding the reality that I come unglued, I'm tackling it head-on."
Though I let Unglued sit on the shelf for awhile, once I picked it up, conviction compelled me to keep reading. I learned a lot and there are many things from the book that I need to keep processing and applying. I love what author Lysa TerKeurst says in the first chapter: that the promise of the book is progress. "Nothing more. Nothing less. We won't seek instant changes or quick fixes. We'll seek progress."
Here are some of the many things from this book that challenged me:
"I can face things that are out of control and not act out of control." There are many moments when I feel overwhelmed, and there are multiple people/things clamoring for my attention. It never ceases to amaze me when so many things happen at once and chaos abounds: the baby's crying, phone is ringing, dog is whining to go outside, doorbell rings, child needs help in the bathroom. Everyone needs me. AND ALL AT ONCE! Even typing about it makes my blood pressure rise. There are frequently situations in which I cannot help everyone at the same time, and--sigh--I do not often respond in a manner of grace and peace. Depending on the who/what/where/when/why of the chaos, I feel stressed and frantic, and my actions and speech are not honoring to God or my family.
"Condemnation defeats us. Conviction unlocks the greatest potential for change."
Lysa identifies four main reaction types, and I definitely had some "aha" moments when reading the sections that explain each of them. I was able to fairly easily identify my (sinful) tendencies with the people I interact with on a regular basis. And Lysa said something else that I found to be true: that our reaction types often vary depending on the relationship. (For purposes of length and privacy, I am not going to write in further detail about this here. However, if you are interested enough to inquire or if you have read the book and would like to dialogue, I am happy to correspond with you on the subject.)
In talking about self-control, Lysa uses Isaiah 55:10-11 to remind us that God's Word will not return empty. "The answer to keeping God's power with me and working in me to produce self-control is letting God's word get inside me. His Word seeping into my heart and mind will accomplish things--good things, powerful things, things that help me display self-control." In a similar fashion, she later encourages us to look up verses that apply to issues where we are struggling: "The issues may not change at first, but over time your heart will change. God honors the heart that honors Him." Another reminder of the power of God's Word appears toward the end of the book when Lysa says she's learned that when she starts hearing lies speaking louder than the truth, that it's an indication her soul is starving for God's Word. Psalm 63:1 "You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water."
Lysa makes excellent insights about the ways we relate to one another, and I was so appreciative of her vulnerability and willingness to use very specific examples from her own life. (Unlike I'm doing here--ahem.)
I read this paragraph several times: "Have you ever tried to keep the peace by avoiding confrontation and pretending that everything is fine? I have. I just stuff down the negative emotions. And it hurts. It hurts me. It hurts the other person. And it certainly hurts the relationship, which slowly erodes." Can anyone else relate?!
One convicting question that Lysa suggests we consider: "Is my desire in this conflict to prove that I am right, or is my desire to improve the relationship?" She reminds us that though we may not be gentle, peaceful, or patient by nature, we can be so by obedience. Not easy stuff, but oh-so-important.
This next quote also stopped me in my tracks, because who among us has never wished to swap lives with someone else? "When I wish for someone else's life, I waste the limited life energy I've got to face my own challenges and opportunities." Like all sin, comparison and jealousy steals our joy, energy, and thankfulness for all God has given us.
I hate dealing with the ickyness inside of me, but I don't want to stay where I am, either. Lysa reminds us that "Outward expressions are internal indications. If our outward expressions are unglued, there's some brokenness internally."
This is stuff I will be thinking about for a long time. If you struggle with coming unglued, I heartily recommend this book. In the meantime, there's an entire website devoted to material related to the book. One of the resources on the site is an assessment to help you determine your reaction type, but I found the quiz less helpful than reading the examples given in the book.
Have you read this book? Can you relate to any of the quotes I highlighted?