Whoa. This summer I am in my own personal crash course with the Holy Spirit. Several books have come my way which are blowing me up in all the needed places, but put those books in the hands of the Living Spirit and you have a cocktail called Rock My World, complete with a little umbrella. Wink. Seriously. It is in a word: Transformation.
One book is called Are My Kids On Track? by Goff, Thomas, and Trevathan. If your kids are little, get and activate it immediately. If you are thinking about kids, get it and work it in to your marriage right now. If you’re like me, and your kids are on their way out door, go take a deep breath of Grace, and then immediately activate it anyway. It’s never too late to start doing something better.
These wise, insightful counselors and authors have so many tools for healthy emotional development and go so far as to identify, for each gender, stumbling blocks and and building blocks. I tell you, this book is a must read. You know why? Because if we don’t turn our stumbling blocks into building blocks then we remain stuck little kids inside grown up bodies. And we all know THAT person who “never grew up.”
One particular insight explained stumbling blocks for boys as B-A-D. They said boys are most likely to go to Blame, Avoidance, and Denial. BAD. Believe it or not, there are building blocks to help them through this, as opposed to saying “boys will be boys” or boys are not emotional. Okay you got this concept? BAD, being aware of when I am refusing to take ownership, when I refuse to engage in a solution, or even admit there is an issue.
Holy Spirit has used this book to install a new alarm system. My heart starts pinging when I go to BAD.
The Holy Spirit took this pearl and added it to a beautiful concept from another book called Rising Strong by Brene’ Brown. As one of my Kate friends says: Love me some Brene’. Brene’ asks some real world questions in the aftermath of when you fall flat on your face, when the worst thing does happen, when you fail in front of everyone. How do you get back up? How do you rise again stronger and wiser and kinder to yourself and those around you?
She has a funny little acronym too. B-I-G. (I wish I could tell these authors that their memory markers worked!!) BIG stands for Boundaries, Integrity, and Generosity. Oh wow. When the rails come off, when you’re fast approaching detonate, when you can’t believe what THEY did, she instructs and invites us to go to a BIG space.
In this space, I have to know and maintain healthy Boundaries. In her words, boundaries are what is okay and what is not okay for me. I have to stand and speak what those are. I also have to maintain personal Integrity. Someone else acting like an ass does not excuse me from maintaining honor and dignity for myself and that other person. And finally in this space is Generosity. This is a huge concept that she unpacks beautifully, but the appetizer version is having a generous posture toward other people. Instead of thinking that people are out to get us, that we live in a world of idiots, or even that “haters gonna hate”, we would instead adopt a more true reality that people are doing the best they can at the moment. Generosity means to give them the benefit of the doubt. Assume the Best about them. Not the worst.
Uhm. Wow. If I stop and pause for a moment and consider that the ignorant or outrageous or irritating person is more like me, meaning in process, trying to keep it together, with a full history of issues and hurts to overcome, learning as I go, needing Jesus…, then I can offer that person a more generous, more kind, more loving space to work out the conflict. My generosity towards others, my belief that people are for the most part are trying to do their best also generates a natural compassion and humility in me.
Okay. Let me land this plane for today. BAD is about me looking out for me, at your expense. We both lose out on connection and resolution. BIG is about me but its for looking out for you and we both win. When I have great boundaries and I decide not to sacrifice my dignity or your dignity, then I can offer you a compassionate perspective instead of a negative one We are both transformed.
Here is the verse me and Jesus are working on these days in my crash course.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
not looking to your own interests
but each of you to the interests of the others.”
There is nothing new under the sun. Jesus set the stand for BIG living. And yet, He continues to bring us His song through other voices. Really, these books. Just get them, sit with Him, and be transformed.