Posts Tagged ‘dysfunction’

Grace Growers

Thursday, November 24th, 2016


It’s the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning over here at my house and I’m up doing what I’ll pretty much be doing all day long….opening and closing the oven! As if I were an Olympian level cook.

Somebody had to start the bacon, y’all.

My family is all gathered together, hunkered down under one roof and ready to celebrate all the things we’re THANKFUL for this year. In spite of all that’s happened to us….we have endless amounts of gratitude for every blessing big and small.

We are alive. We are healthy. We are joyful. We are full of hope. We are anticipating every coming blessing and we believe that God has great plans for each of us.

It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to point out that many people are filled with dread and anxiety today as they gather with family and friends. Through the natural process of humanity, we encounter people that we disagree with or just do not get along with at these big holiday gatherings. It can be a rough go for a lot of families that have divisive or feuding family members to share space.

It doesn’t have to end in disaster though.

I have an idea to help you fight the good fight (and I don’t mean a squabble with that one person you find yourself irked with) that will keep peace and help you grow as a Follower of Christ at the same time.

It’s a guarantee, you are going to encounter a GRACE GROWING person over the holiday break. It might not be in your family circle, it could be someone who challenges all your goodness at the Black Friday sale. Someone, somewhere is going to push your buttons. What you do with that….is going to say a lot about you, not them. So, listen up. I’ve got a few tricks to help you get out alive and to be the better person when you’re tempted to flip your lid!


Be serious about your reactions. It’s chaotic in most family celebrations. People are piled together, opinions are flying and how you react is going to be like a thermostat in the room. You can decide before anything offensive or mean-spirited is said to NOT JOIN OR ENGAGE that person back. Some people (hurting people hurt people, right?) say crazy stuff just for YOUR REACTION! Don’t fall for that. So, decide to be a grace giver by NOT REACTING negatively to crummy comments.


This should have been first… but PRAY. Really pray. You already know who it is that gets under your skin – so pray for them and for yourself to be a loving example to them. It may not change them but it will change you. When you’re staring that person in the face and you’re imagining knocking their weave out, P R A Y to God for sweet words like a honeycomb. You might even find it good to pray scripture. Remember the fruit of the spirit!


Play opposites. You know how to react to keep peace and you probably know how to be creative and play opposites with that negative nelly at the table. Instead of saddling up and arguing it out, combat the ugly comments with a positive. Yesterday, as I stood in a line at Walmart I overheard the lady behind me complain to her son that the checkout clerk WAS SO SLOOOOOW! As she squeezed up closer behind me I realized she wanted a response from me as she commented that “she’s very particular about every scan, huh?”. I laughed and told her that I was probably the least worthy to judge since I could NEVER DO THE JOB of a checkout clerk. I smiled and mentioned that my skills would probably cause a total ruckus in the store to which she laughed and completely changed her attitude. We spent the next few minutes visiting and laughing about all the things still to do to enjoy our holiday. Opposites. They can deflect a rotten moment if we just decide to utilize them to our advantage.


Actually decide to grow in grace. Nasty people aren’t just put in our lives to make us miserable. God wants to use them to refine us and smooth off the edges that are too bumpy. Every frustrating comment, every mean action…even the snarky ones are not your invitation to a duel. God will help you respond with love, He will soften your heart and He will handle any wrong-doing meant to harm you (if you will just LET HIM WORK) from whoever your grace grower person is this Thanksgiving.

“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” Prov. 18:21

Who says the holidays have to be so stressful?


Don’t Whig Out

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015


Just to put your mind at ease…..


EVERY PERSON has the capacity to lose their cool. For some, it’s simmering on a back burner waiting for just the right infraction to cause a big boil over. For others, the stress-o-meter is ticking like a time bomb and one little bitty teeny weeny mistake will cause the neighbors to call the cops.

Don’t act like you’re family doesn’t get crazy. Every single person feels stress. Every family has a cornucopia of emotions, expectations and desires. Mix all that together and you have a recipe for disaster.

I’ve had my own moments of near meltdown already this holiday season. I believe that (and I’m a REALLY HIGH STRUNG CHICK) personalities mingling together can be a set-up for frustration. Maybe someone likes peas and no one else in the group does (not that – that happened in my house) or perhaps, someone took apart the table to do some repairs when you need a functioning table. I don’t know what your vice is, but you do.

Imagine not getting all upset.

Really, imagine it.


I want you to know, I get it that things get hairy. I live in the real world and I have real human people that I love and cherish in my own family. Probably just like you. We also know how to get on each others nerves better than anyone else on the earth. Where else can there be sarcasm, little digs and fun-poking? Family is the safe zone, right?

Here’s my advice:

Don’t participate. Yep, I said it. DO NOT FALL INTO THE WAGON OF PICKING ON ANYONE (every family has that person that gets all the ribbing). DO NOT MAKE SNIDE REMARKS ABOUT ANYONE OR ANYTHING (even if you DO NOT like the dressing or gravy). DO NOT ARGUE WITH FOOLS (anyone who blah-blah’s their perfect opinion is being foolish). DO NOT BEHAVE IN A HOSTILE WAY (even if your blood is boiling). DO NOT WEAR YOUR FEELINGS ON YOUR DANGED SHIRT SLEEVE (this one is for me, probably not you). DO NOT LET THE LITTLE THINGS RUIN YOUR TIME WITH THE ONES YOU LOVE (don’t cry over spilled milk, you know?). DO NOT WALLOW IN THE PEN WITH PIGS (when someone pushes, walk away you don’t need to get dirty too). DO NOT SPEAK TO ANYONE LIKE A JERK (you’re going to feel jerky, suppress it. Smash it down). DO NOT PRETEND THAT YOU ARE A VICTIM (this is me again, sorry). DO NOT BE A PERSON THAT LOOKS FOR TROUBLE (borrowing problems seems to be easier when family is all crammed together). DO NOT GANG UP ON ANYONE OR JOIN RANKS WITH ANY SIDE OF ANY ISSUE (maybe certain topics should be off limits?). DO NOT MISS THE CHANCE TO ENJOY THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE!!!

I don’t know how to help you keep the cops away from your Thanksgiving holiday. All I can do is suggest you take care of yourself. If family gets you too worked up, limit your time together. Spend a little time loving yourself; if you are a runner…take a jog. If you are an extra tense person, schedule a massage or even better spend some time with a special family member giving neck rubs and talking. Don’t let the pressure get so bad that you boil over and whig out.


Thank God for another year together. Tell the people you love that you’re thankful for them. Being thankful and showing it always helps me focus on the good in others and myself. And if you burn the rolls…fahhhgetaboutit!

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