Our Angry Friends

AngryHearts

Answer: Angry people are so much fun. Angry people are exactly the sort of people I love to spend time around. Angry people are great to share a cup of coffee with. Angry people make everything that much brighter. Angry people set a great standard for how I want to live.

Question: What are things nobody ever says?

Unfortunately, while we never aspire to surround ourselves with angry people, we are ensured of being confronted with them from time to time. Whether it’s an overzealous driver, an easily offended mother in your neighborhood, or a frustrated coworker. I’ve worked in churches for years and I’ve talked to my share of angry people. Not because churches are full of angry people, but because churches are full of normal people. Here are some things I’ve learned to help me in my interactions with the angry friends in my life:

I’m very rarely the reason they are angry…even if they tell me I am. There is always another thing behind the thing. Want to test my theory? When was the last time you talked with an angry person that sincerely was angry about a righteous problem? Our angry counterparts are usually frustrated with something meaningless to most people. It doesn’t mean they aren’t sincerely angry, it just means there are always underlying issues.

Everyone seems angrier from a distance. The foolproof method to put out the fire inside an angry email, is to pick up the phone and call them. Take it one step further and go for face-to-face interaction. That simmers down the fire even more. When angry people get your full undivided attention, they usually are willing to listen and calm themselves down quickly.

Angry people want you to respond with anger. This is their way of justifying their own actions. What’s the learning here? Don’t let them win by returning angry words with angry words. Which leads us to the next point.

Angry people need love. Let me be clear, do not attempt to hug an angry person. What I’m advocating here is the love that speaks through your patient words and following up with acts of kindness. They need healing, and being on the receiving end of their anger, makes you the prime candidate to respond in the way most people won’t.

 

How to Change your Life on the Cheap

Change-Your-Life.jpg

Those that know me, know that I passionately pursue simplicity in my life. It’s not that I don’t want anything, instead I’ve developed a heightened awareness towards those things I really need in my life. This has led me to sell things I own at a rapid pace, clear out closets and basements with abandon, and learn to live with perfectly dependable “old” things in my life.

In the spirit of a new year, and as we approach the end of our “setting goals” month of January, here are some totally foolproof ways to improve your life. I’m serious friends, these are game changers!

  • Buy new socks and underwear. Trust me, it’ll change your life.
  • Kiss your wife everyday. (After brushing your teeth of course.)
  • Buy a new razor. If you’ve got an electric razor, go ahead and order new blades every 6 months. It’s worth the effort.
  • Only drink one cup of coffee a day. Like real coffee, not those sugary chocolate drinks from Starbucks. Those are great, but save them for special occasions…and breakfast isn’t a special occasion.
  • Train for a 5k with your 10 year old. On a personal note, my 10 year old is kicking my tail.
  • When you first feel hungry, instead go drink a glass of water. If you’re still hungry, then go for it.
  • Eat an apple a day.
  • Hug your middle schooler. You’re still bigger than them, force it on them. They’ll thank you for it later.
  • Read out loud to your kids as often as you can. And yes, even the middle schooler.
  • Turn the TV off after 9pm.
  • Take the 2 minutes necessary to tuck your kids into bed every night.

 

Rusty Tools

Rusty tools
It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do’. And mostly, against all odds, they do.

I love the above quote.  Against all odds, we make our way in life, and it’s good. So good.

Friendships. Prayer. Conscience. Honesty.  These are our tools.

I am not always the greatest friend….and occasionally my friends aren’t perfect either.  My best friendships aren’t shiny and pristine and without flaw.  Our conversations don’t always read like a movie script; sometimes there are not tidy resolutions.  But I count my friends among the biggest blessings God has given me.  I learn so much about the character of God by watching my friends nurture and love and forgive and celebrate.  It’s amazing.

My prayers don’t always get answered.  Sometimes God seems  inattentive.  Prayers that I’ve prayed for years start to sound old, and yes, they seem rusty. But then, suddenly, God moves.  He  acts  on my behalf.   I keep hammering away with that seemingly rusty tool, and God begins to build something.

Conscience and Honesty: Mamas are so grateful when we begin to see these things in our babies.  An apology rendered earnestly.  A confession given freely.  A tear shed over an injustice.  Conscience and Honesty are, to me, proof of our soul.  Telling the truth and acting on conscience isn’t always an act of self-preservation, especially when you’re 8 or 10 or 11.  It’s hard. But good.