“I mean this in love and in no way intend this to come across as negative or critical, but…”
Ever have someone start out a conversation this way? Not the easiest statement to hear someone else say to us. Well, don’t feel too bad, it’s only natural to put up an emotional wall, or get verbally defensive when someone we know well confronts us with an issue.
Whether they say it in love or not, or whether it is even well-intended or meant to hurt us, I think we can learn to glean value from any kind of confrontation, rebuke, even attack.
Granted, some verbal attacks are purely worthless and should be discarded immediately. In fact, I sometimes think the reason many of us get defensive when spoken to this way is actually because of a lack of GOOD DEFENSE.
Now hear me, I am not saying that it is good to “get defensive”… not at all. What I propose to you is this: If we have built healthy boundaries (read any book from the amazing series BOUNDARIES by Henry Cloud and John Townsend) in our Circle of Relationships (ask ME for a copy of this helpful tool ), we won’t have to “get defensive” when bombarded, attacked, or lovingly addressed in a proper way.
You see, if you have built healthy DEFENSES ahead of time, you don’t need to GET DEFENSIVE at the spur of the moment!
You can listen to that person, chew any meat they may have given, and spit out the bones. And if someone gives you ALL BONES, well then you can spit the entire mess out and get a good breath mint later!
Jesus didn’t need to get defensive when verbally attacked by his critics, because he already had healthy defenses built before hand.
Some of these defenses relate more to a healthy view of ourselves and a confidence of who God is in us and the fact that if He is for us, we have nothing to fear.
In fact, if you find yourself getting defensive often, that indicates you probably have not built good DEFENSES up in your inner man. And in fact, you may find inside your soul many conflicting sources pulling and pushing you to really fly off the handle emotionally, psychologically, physically.
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Now I would be a hypocrite to make it sound like I am such a well-adjusted human being that I have never, ever become defensive. The exact opposite scenario is closer to the truth. You see, I found so many unhealthy emotional triggers inside of me when I first started my spiritual journey – I was one of the most defensive people on the planet. I discovered part of the reason had to do with being a very caring person – I was sensitive. But sensitivity without a healthy defense system on the inside will produce a lot of pain. I had to “toughen up” as others say.
But truthfully, it had nothing to do with getting tougher, but with getting fortified with a good set of boundaries and inner foundational truths. It took years and still I am growing in that area even to this day.
I wish I could go into greater detail with this, but if I did, this would not be a blog entry, but a book. And for more detail, you are going to have to wait for THE BOOK – “The Life” ha ha.
So all I can tell you is this – you and I need our source to be God inside of us in order to build healthy defenses on the outside. Then and only then, when the time comes for someone to “share a personal word” with us, we won’t get defensive anymore, but instead, with peace and calmness we can gently listen to the person(s) and filter the information properly with a smile, and even say, “Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I will take it into consideration. Have a great day!”
Sounds easy, of course it is not. But with His Life inside of us, it is more than POSSIBLE!
Until next time,