Happy Labor Day weekend!
It’s the last official weekend of the summer. Even though our country seems like it’s in the midst of a national temper tantrum, I hope that you enjoy tension-free, argument-free time with friends and family.
I’m sharing five tools with you today so that YOU can enjoy yourself, no matter how anyone else behaves. These are tried-and-true strategies, all grounded in faith and practical wisdom.
Before you open the door to guests or ring the doorbell of your host’s home, invite the Holy Spirit to prepare your heart, mind and especially your mouth! Here are two verses that you can screenshot and use today or any other time:
“God, please give me kind words, a kind heart and a kind attitude toward this person that I’m about to talk to right now. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” (Inspired by Proverbs 16:24 NLT)
“God, You know that it’s SO hard for me to keep quiet when ______________ starts in on ___________________ (controversial topic), so God, I pray that You help me to be QUICK to listen, SLOW to speak and SLOW to get angry. I can do this with Your help. Amen. (James 1:19 NLT)
2. Let Go of Expectations
Other people can’t make you angry unless you let them. Most of what makes us angry is having unreasonable expectations of others or how things should go. You have to let go of expecting people to act a certain way, especially if they’ve proven otherwise. If you hold onto those expectations, then you’re going to be miserable and you shouldn’t blame them for it.
God, I need to let go of expecting _____________________ today so that I don’t ruin my day.
Here’s a helpful tool from my Surrendered Bible study that many of you already know: “I am not in control of others or outcomes”.
Repeat it over and over again as needed.
3. “That’s interesting. You may be right.”
This reply validates someone’s opinion without agreeing with or endorsing it. The keyword is “may be”.
Use this response to avoid or end a potential argument. Don’t ruin your day over a random conversation!
4. “I don’t know how to answer that. Let me think about it and get back to you.”
Like the previous suggestion, this is a wise and wonderful way to short-circuit someone’s attempt to bait you into an argument. Again, this is supposed to be a fun family gathering, not a presidential debate. Proverbs 26:4 warns us to avoid having conversations with people who are arguers. Why? Because their behavior drags us down to their level.
You are too valuable and precious to sling mud. Resist.
5. Pre-Set a “Bounce” Time
If every family gathering turns into a family temper tantrum, then perhaps, you need to arrange a pre-set “bounce” or departure time.
When people are full of food or feeling tipsy, it’s easy for tongues to loosen. Years ago, a friend and her adult siblings instituted a two-hour rule at family gatherings. Family members only had to stay for two hours and then they could leave.
Over time, more family members showed up because there was less fighting. If a disagreement broke out, people could leave. The quality of their family time increased, even though the time that they spend together decreased. How cool is that?!
Happy Monday to you!