Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst is a book I often recommend to others. These are my personal notes from the book. These are not all direct quotes, but also paraphrases and added commentary from me. A * designates a note-worthy point. As always, reading the book for yourself is suggested.
- An invitation to imperfect progress
Feeling the burden of destructive behaviors and the shame of powerlessness to stop it
At least taking baby steps will keep you from being stuck, then change will come and it will be good.
Being unglued can be a combination of anger and fear, or when you feel out of control, or when things aren’t going your way, and then after you freak out or react or whine or scream, that’s when the regret comes.
* God gave us emotions so that we could experience life, not destroy it.
Don’t bend from the weight of your past, but bow to the one who holds out hope for a better future.
- I’m not a freak out woman
perspective doesn’t just help you see the current circumstances you are facing from a new vantage point, it also helps you process future things so that you can face them in a calmer and more grounded way.
Renewing our minds with new thoughts is crucial, new thoughts come from new perspectives.
2 Corinthians 10:5
* I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control.
* I have a choice to have destructive thoughts or constructive thoughts right now. I can wallow in what’s wrong and make things worse or I can ask God for a better perspective to help me see good even when I don’t feel good.
Joshua 5:13 he needed reassurance- he wasn’t walking in complete confidence
When faced with a situation out of our control, we need to ask who’s side am I on? Will our response reflect that we are on God side or not?
If we’re on Gods side it settles the trust issue in our hearts. If we ground ourselves in the reality that we trust God, we can face circumstances that are out of our control without acting out of control.
* We can’t always fix our circumstances but we can fix our minds on God.
- The prisoners
Labels are awful. They imprison us into categories that are hard to escape.
Self-condemning labels will tear you down.
Some prisons don’t require bars to keep people locked inside. All it takes is the perception that they belong there. A soul who believes she can’t leave doesn’t.
Let God chisel you.
1 Peter 2:4 peter means the rock, but Peter‘s given name was Simon which means shifty. Peter let God chisel him.
Ephesians 2:8 it’s by grace you have been saved, not from yourself but as a gift from God, not by works so that no one can boast.
Untangling the root:
- Identify the label as a lie meant to tear you down.
Fact: My closet was messy.
Lie: A messy closet means I’m a mess.
Truth: A messy closet does not make me a mess, I’m a child of God who has a messy closet right now.
- Make the choice to view this circumstance as a call to action, not a call to beat myself up mentally.
Take action and do it, or enlist help from someone.
- Use the momentum of tackling one label to help you tackle more.
There is courage and strength found in starting somewhere. Can you find a small label to tackle today?
God will lead you to repent for things you hadn’t even realized held you in bondage for so many years.
- What kind of unglued am I?
There’s a difference between labeling ourselves and identifying our tendencies.
Exploding means pushing emotions outward. The regret falls heavy.
We either deflect that regret by blaming someone else for our actions or we’ll invest that regret by shaming ourselves.
Stuffing means pushing emotions inward.
We coat the issue with more and more layers of hurt until it forms a hard rock of sorts.
The telltale sign of being an exploder is not the decibel level. It’s having reactions that feel good in the moment because it gets the yuck out.
- Exploders who shame themselves — What good are you? Feeling like you’ll always be a slave to raw emotions that catch you off guard.
- Exploders who blame others — Blaming for all the chaos that’s gotten you to this unglued place.
- Stuffers who build barriers — Everything is fine but isn’t fine, I don’t know what to say or how to say it so I say nothing. Holding people at a distance. When the communication dies their relationship does too. Feeling like you’ll be a slave to raw emotions that catch you off guard.
- Stuffers who collect retaliation rocks — Smile and swallow. Collect a rock. Annoyances develop over the years into a long-term issue that he wraps at times. Insecurity and resentment. Feeling like you’ll be a slave to roll emotions that catch you off guard, a slave locked in the hard places.
Soul integrity is honesty that’s godly.
It brings the passion of the exploder and the peacemaking of the stuffer under the authority of Jesus.
Soul integrity is the heart of what we’re after.
Your honest feelings may not be a truthful assessment of the situation.
I can be honest with how I feel and still exaggerate or misinterpret what is actually true.
I can feel justified in being blatant about my feelings and prideful for being so real all under the guise of being honest enough not to stuff.
* Honesty that isn’t true isn’t honesty at all.
It may just be emotional spewing.
That’s why we need godly honesty, honesty reined in by the Holy Spirit.
I’m just saying, I’m just being honest, sometimes the truth hurts, I’m just keeping it real…
Stuffing is corrosive bitterness that will eventually emerge.
Saying I’m fine to keep the peace, when we’re really not fine, isnt honest.
It may seem godly in the moment but it’s false godliness.
* Forgiveness is mandatory, reconciliation is optional.
James 3:7 no one can tame the tongue
our best efforts at human reasoning and willpower can’t tame what we say externally (exploding) or experience internally (stuffing).
Self effort alone can’t tame the tongue and are raw emotions that run wild.
Our words must be spoken in the humility that comes from wisdom.
When we are humble, we realize our honesty can’t be one-sided.
We make an effort to see the situation from the other persons vantage point.
When we are wise, we pause and measure our words to get at the heart of the issue without sabotaging the heart of our offender.
Do you stuff to protect yourself by keeping conflict at bay?
Are you stuffing and not being honest about your true feelings and the self protection quickly turns into selfishness?
Do you have unresolved conflict that gives birth to bitterness?
True peacemakers— People who aren’t stuffing or exploding but rather honestly demonstrating what they are experiencing in a godly manner.
Being a true peacemaker reaps a harvest of great qualities in our lives: right things, godly things, healthy things.
- The exploders
Raw emotions come out of no where, they don’t sit quietly awaiting further instructions. That’s why we need to prepare in advance.
- Exploders who shame:
Don’t check in with the screaming demands or the world before u exchange whispers with god.
Sipping the shame of what would be if I let my raw emotions have their way helped me not explode.
* Sip the shame (guilt/conviction) so that u won’t have to guzzle the regret.
The secret to healthy conflict resolution isn’t taking a you against me stance but realizing it’s all of us against Satan. He’s the real enemy.
Satan loves it when we do his work for him by dumping on each other.
The person who hurts you isn’t the enemy, we must carefully consider the words we speak.
In advance means I don’t wait until I receive the hurtful comments or the shame on you email.
- Response template (written response):
* Don’t let your lips or fingers be the first thing that walks into a conflict.
Begin by honoring the one offended. Point out a good quality you know to be true.
Keep response short and full of Grace. The wordier we get, the greater the risk we will slip into defensiveness.
End by extending compassion. Be the rare person who offers love to this hard to love person. Ask god to help. Honor them. Keep it short and wrapped with Grace. Extend compassion. There’s a big diff between a reaction and a reply. No good ever comes from a reaction. Choosing a gentle reply doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means you possess a godly strength. it isn’t your job to fix this woman with your reply. That’s gods job. Your job is to obedient to god in the midst of your own set of issues.
- Exploders who blame others:
* Feelings are indicators not dictators.
They can indicate there’s a situation you need to deal with, but they shouldn’t dictate how you react. You have a choice.
1 Peter 5:8
* When someone else’s actions or words threaten to pull you into a bad place, I have a choice. It may feel like you’re a slave to your feelings, but you’re not.
You have a choice.
* When you think you’re void of power, you think you’re void of self control.
If you’re going to remain self controlled you have to keep your power.
Gods power working in you.
His word seeping in to your mind and heart will accomplish good things. And will help you have self control.
When you’re in a situation where someone is getting on your last nerve, quote gods word in the present tense.
1 Peter 5:6-8
In this moment I’m choosing to be __. Your actions are begging me to yell and lose control. But I realize I have an enemy and the enemy is not you. I’m going to humbly and quietly let God have his way in me and when I do, God will lift up me and my frayed nerves from the situation and fill me with a much better reaction than what I can give you at the moment. Give me just a few minutes and then we’ll talk calmly about this.
Quote scripture until your heart begins to calm.
Process things scripturally in the present tense which keeps your heart in a better place.
Keep versus handy to use.
The more you use them the more likely you’ll be to memorize them.
Ingesting truth versus digesting truth
we must spend time with God letting his truths become part of who we are and how we live.
holy restraint will hold us back when we want to aggressively charge. It will help us hold our tongues and pause from blasting someone.
Bathroom stalls can make great prayer closets.
It’s hard to be quiet when you’re in an exploding frame of mind. Remember these five things though:
in the quiet we feel safe enough to humble ourselves.
In the quiet God lifts us up to a more rational place.
In the quiet anxiety gives way to progress.
In the quiet we acknowledge that our real enemy isn’t the other person.
In the quiet I can rest assured God will use this conflict for good no matter how it turns out.
- The stuffers
As a Christian woman I sometimes stuff because it feels more godly.
- You may stuff because:
you don’t feel safe enough,
you don’t have energy or time,
you don’t know how to address it,
you don’t want to seem sensitive,
you don’t wanna get rejected,
you don’t want to make things worse.
- Stuffers who build barriers:
What seems like peace on the outside is actually the muffled roar of barrier building activity on the inside.
This barrier label is the filter through which process everything about people in your life.
Open communication is the life-giving oxygen that fuels good relationships.
We need boundaries not barriers.
The difference between boundaries and barriers is honest transparency.
Identify what you really want or need in the situation.
How realistic or unrealistic are you?
Sit with Jesus and ask for a better perspective.
Process your emotions so your feelings won’t dictate your response.
Identify the difference between what you feel and what you want – will lead to a good solution.
At some point, sometimes you need to back away from impossible people.
How do you back away and not stuff?
Shift your focus from trying to fix the other person and the situation to allowing God to reveal tender truth to you.
* My job isn’t to fix the difficult people in my life or enable them to continue disrespectful or abusive behaviors. My job is to be obedient to God.
* You can’t ignore the obvious issues and hope things will somehow miraculously get better on their own.
You have to take the necessary steps to keep your soul integrity intact.
You have to pursue being the person God wants you to be. Regardless of how they will react.
- Stuffers who collect retaliation rocks:
What if spewed words were the last words that you ever said to that person?
You act out with loved ones in ways that you never would with others.
You stuff is a false way to keep the peace. True peacekeeping isn’t about stopping the emotion.
Remember, emotions move in word or outward whether we want them to or not. True peacekeeping is about properly processing the emotions before they get stuffed and rot into something toxic. Perspective helps.
If I knew this person wasn’t coming home tonight, would I still let this bother me?
Will I still remember what I’m so mad about a month from now?
Am I trying to prove or improve?
* Tackle the issues, not the person.
When you tackle an issue you ask more questions.
Am I trying to prove that I’m right or to improve the relationship?
Fights can become growth opportunities. Have the right town and an honest desire to understand the other person.
When your reality doesn’t measure up to your ideal, you may feel slighted.
My retaliation rocks are usually coated with unmet expectations.
It’s helpful to list the expectations you have of a relationship in which you’re feeling slighted.
Pray and discern whether or not your expectations are realistic or unrealistic. Ask God.
Unrealistic expectations are things the other person isn’t able or willing to do for you. Let go of these.
Realistic expectations are things you can reasonably expect the other person to do. Discern how you can communicate these expectations with gentleness and in the right timing.
Why not take your expectations and need for discernment to god in prayer? Ask him to get involved.
Let consequences scream so that you don’t have to.
Feelings are indicators not dictators. They can indicate where your heart is in the moment but that doesn’t mean they have the right to dictate your behavior and boss you around.
God gave you more than just a heart to use in processing life. He gave you a mind as well.
Your mind is for truth to reign supreme and keep your heart in check.
Honestly assess what you’re feeling and why.
- Raw Emotions/Conflict:
- get some perspective— are you trying to prove you’re right or do I want to improve the relationship?
- Tackle the issue not the person— ask questions with the right tone and honest desire.
- Name your conflicts as growth opportunities.
- I need a procedure manual
Avoiding reality never changes reality.
Corrupted motives can really make you come unglued.
Motives/desires are the feelings that drive you to act react and live the way you live. (ctfar)
Evil desires can pull you away from the kind of person you want to be.
You want it to be evident that you know Jesus and spend time with him.
It’s a lot easier to clean your junk drawers run to the store eat a brownie and look at other peoples issues. It’s not so easy to deal with your issues.
Are you tired of knowing you have issues but have no clue how to reign them in on a given day?
God’s divine power gives us everything we need for a godly life.
2 Peter 1– goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, love.
Why do I still come unglued?
Make the choice. Choose God.
You may not be gentle by nature but you can be gentle by obedience.
Position your heart to flow from God’s power and work with it rather than against it.
You need your own set of default procedures for when selfishness, pride, and patience, anger, or bitterness we are their ugly heads.
* Because in the moment you will feel them and feel justified in feeling them and find them hard to battle.
Have a predetermined planned from God will help you stay calmer when you start to feel unglued. (Remember, Redirect, Recognize, Recite, Realize)
- Remember who you are.
When you feel alarmed you want it to be resolved.
Say: alarmed, I resolved. I can remember who I am. I am a child of God. I am not an unglued woman who is a slave to her circumstances, her hormones, or to other peoples attitudes.
- Redirect your focus to Jesus.
2 Chronicles 20
There is power and protection in the Lords name.
When you are in an unglued place invite a power beyond your own into the situation by simply speaking God’s name.
Remember one thing, Jesus.
Keeping your eyes and your mouth focused on Jesus is a crucial part of your unglued procedure manual.
- Recognize God‘s job isn’t your job.
Sometimes you can get consumed with trying to figure out what to do.
You think through options and you experience unglued feelings. It’s frustrating.
Operate in the flow of God’s power rather than against the flow of his power.
Seek to obey God in the midst of whatever circumstance you’re facing and position yourself to work in the flow of God’s power.
* Participate in his divine nature rather than wallow in your own bad attitude and insecurities.
- Recite thanks and praises to God.
* Shift from having an attitude to walking in gratitude.
Say: If this is the worst thing that happens to me today it’s still a pretty good day.
You can’t authentically praise God for anything that is wrong or evil but you can shift your focus to all that is right and praise him for that.
It’s powerful to shift from an attitude to gratitude and praise God in the midst of it all.
* When your heart is full of praise, your emotions aren’t nearly as prone to coming unglued.
5. Realize reactions determine reach.
Keep your focus on God.
Stay in the flow of God’s power by being obedient to God‘s word.
Shift from having an attitude to practicing gratitude.
* Your reactions testify to the kind of relationship you have with Jesus and the effect he has on your heart.
Give yourself every fighting chance to make wise choices in the midst of raw emotions.
- My kid placemat life
Finding the gentle middle between exploding and stuffing can be hard.
Perspective helps find the gentleness you need.
Gentleness doesn’t ooze from the core of who I am. Especially when I’m sleepy or stressed. I get task oriented I get snippy. I don’t want this to be how my kids remember me. I don’t want to see how I remember me in this season of life.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. Rejoice in the Lord always.
The more your heart is parked in a place of thanksgiving and rejoicing, the less room you’ll have for grumpiness.
Don’t miss the opportunities to rejoice, they are there.
If you want gentleness inside you to be unleashed, you have to break away from your every day routine.
Where are you come to believe you belong is where you will stay.
There are times when you are no more mature than your kids arguing over throw away placemats.
Do you get angry about the dumb things you get been out of shape about?
Having God is an identity changer.
Make imperfect progress.
Shift, break away, and be chiseled.
Are you afraid to rely on God‘s power?
Somewhere along the line did you stop expecting God to work miraculously in you?
Where are you come to believe you belong is where he you will stay.
You can be different.
You can really have different reactions to your raw emotions.
Your progress will be imperfect but it will still be miraculous.
Even if you’re not gentle by nature, you can be gentle by obedience.
You can be an unglued woman made gentle, patient, and peaceful.
God will help you and God will forgive you.
Make a gratitude list.
Sometimes refusing to come unglued is the only way to prove to ourselves it is possible to have a different kind of reaction.
Gratitude diffuses attitude.
Perspective changes everything. Pray for those that wronged you. God‘s power is real. When discouragement lands close, God’s power moves in closer.
- The empty woman
Scripture warns us that what you will always harvest what you plant.
the more I compare, the emptier I become. Empty women come unglued.
Comparison Steals celebration. And a life void of celebration is a empty life. We stop celebrating our own good and have a hard time celebrating others good.
No jealous thought is ever life-giving.
Jealous Desire leads to sin which leads to the death of something.
We lose perspective on what we do have and focus only on what we don’t have.
Having someone point out a fault without offering a solution just makes us feel even more unglued.
When we’re struggling with jealousy we need to carry our own load and then carry some love to others Galatians 6
The first step in dealing with jealous thoughts is to focus on our own responsibilities and actions.
Find reasons to celebrate what we have been given and what we do right.
Tell yourself that you’ve been assigned a load that you can handle.
I’m not designed or assigned to carry someone else’s load.
“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can do with your own life.” The message translation.
God has a beautiful plan for you.
There’s areas in your life where you can look back on and thank God for his protection.
All the things you have and don’t have are what make up the unique load you’ve been assigned.
* God tells us to concentrate on caring our own load and avoid comparing and striving for someone else’s load, it’s for our protection.
Actively pursue good for others.
God goes deep like the ocean. He stretches wide like the sky. He reaches out like the sun. Even when our tears slip we know his hand never does.
A jealous spirit or a giving spirit? The choice is truly yours.
- Negative inside chatter
negative thoughts —> perceptions —> dangerous realities (based on runaway feelings not truth) —> insecurities
Have you ever been taunted by your thoughts?
Toxic thoughts are so dangerous because they leave no room for truth to flourish.
Lies are what reign in the absence of truth.
Call your thoughts into question right away.
Don’t give it free reign to turn into a perception.
You find evidence on what you believe. No matter if it’s true or not.
Your wrong thoughts turned into a wrong perception that became a false reality.
God designed our bodies to respond to our thoughts.
Runaway thoughts are allowed to wreak mental and physical havoc.
They can parade about as if they are true, feeding our anxieties, and manipulating us into feeling insecure, in adequate, and misunderstood.
God‘s word provides wisdom on how to manage it all.
We are to park our minds on constructive thoughts, not destructive thoughts, thoughts that breathe life into us, not suck life from us.
God knew all along how important it is to guard against anxiety by planting our hearts on thankfulness and inviting his power into our lives.
Thoughts that lead to peace, not anxiety.
Pray instead of worry.
Ask God for truth.
Thinking run away, worry some thoughts is just an invitation to anxiety.
- Did someone actually say this or am I making assumption‘s about what they’re thinking?
Ask God to shine his truth into your situation.
- Am I actively immersing myself in truth?
If you want truth to guard your hearts and minds we have to immerse ourselves in the truth.
We do that by opening up his word and letting God‘s word open us.
- Are there situations or relationships that feed my insecurities?
You don’t need someone else’s approval for your obedience. Only Gods.
We engage in inside chatter when we hyper analyze a conversation after the fact.
The back-and-forth in our heads can create ungluedness. Why did I say that?
Friendships are like plowed open fields ready for growth. What we plant is what will grow. If we plant seeds of reassurance, blessing and love, we reap a great harvest of security. If we plant seeds of questioning and doubts, we reap a great harvest of insecurity.
The more love and joy I pour into others, the more I experience it in my own life.
* Holding our thoughts accountable is a good place to start.
Give yourself freedom to pour out love on to others.
Give yourself freedom to think clearly.
Give yourself freedom to obey God’s call on our lives no matter what others think
Our thoughts matter.
How a woman thinks is often how she lives.
- My soul needs to exhale
* Where there is a lack of rest, there is an abundance of stress.
The Sabbath is a time set aside to rest your soul and breathe.
Rest from going your own way, doing as you please, and speaking idle words.
The Sabbath will be unique for each person.
Ask him to reveal some things to you: Where are you going your own way right now? What area of your life is more self pleasing than God pleasing? What idle words need to be rained in from running rampant in your mind and spilling from your lips?
God inhales the issue but exhales with grace.
You don’t want your life to be so crowded that you’re nothing more than a commercial for crazy.
Where am I going my own way right now?
God‘s way is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22
When the rhythm of your soul is survival instead of revival you will come unglued.
When every nerve in your body suddenly climbs to the surface of your skin, it may be time for rest.
You’re tired when you just want your own way and you let your raw emotions have their way.
Keep company with God and learn a life of love.
What one area of your life is more self pleasing than God pleasing?
* Are you too quick with the complaints and too slow with the thank you‘s?
Do you notice the good?
What idle words need to be rained in from running rampant in your mind or spilling from your lips?
We get into trouble when instead of parking our minds on truth, we let them idle in our perception. This is dangerous!
The more we intentionally practice Sabbath, the more the Sabbath rhythm will be come natural to us.
- It isn’t all bad
Don’t just try to survive without losing it again.
Don’t be too busy or not know how to look or where to look.
How can we stay calm and exhale in the midst of the every day Messes when we so desperately want to be “together” women?
Decorations will be meaningless in the face of emotional outbursts or the silent treatment u give your family.
* If the foundation crumbles, it won’t matter how many pretty pictures are on the walls. The whole house will fall.
* Outward expressions are internal indications.
* If our outward expressions are unglued, there’s some brokenness internally.
When you look through the window of your unglued reactions, do you find pride you don’t want to acknowledge, long-standing unforgiveness, deep-seated bitterness, simmering anger, joy stealing jealousy, condemning shame, haunting regrets, and tangled rejection?
Or do you see a schedule crammed too full or have you taken up the feeling that you’re taken for granted and unappreciated?
I’m tired what do I do?
I’m lonely god what do I do?
I’m mad god what do I do?
I’m insecure god what do I do? I’m frustrated god what do I do?
Take the time to ask God what to do.
Coming unglued isn’t all bad if it brings us to God.
The end result of our brokenness leads us to holiness.
If we’re not careful, misguided feelings can distract us, discourage us, and trigger past pain to start taunting us.
do you react and then hate yourself?
Our Lord doesn’t whisper hushed condemnations. Convictions yes. Condemnation no.
Lies flee in the presence of truth. Activate truth to erase the lies.
I am a horrible mom.
2 Corinthians 10
I am not a horrible mom, I had a horrible reaction but that doesn’t define me.
Learn that anytime you start hearing lies speaking louder than truth, it’s an indication that your soul is starving for God’s word. So feed it truth and starve the lies.
2 Timothy 2
I can’t cleanse what I don’t see.
* While you may not feel tender and gentle toward other peoples unglued expressions or reactions, you can be tender and gentle toward their brokenness.
Keep everything in perspective.
God treasures us even when he doesn’t approve of our actions.
It’s a beautiful thing when we choose to offer love in situations when most people would choose to scorn or ignore.
Sow righteousness for yourselves– sow seeds and make right choices that honor God.
Reap the fruit of unfailing love– every choices that honors God bears the fruit of God’s unfailing love.
Break up your unplowed ground– don’t resist brokenness, use it to break up your heart to give it new life, new growth, new maturity.
It’s time to seek the Lord– instead of reacting out of emptiness, choose to see this emptiness as a perfect spot for grace to grow.
Read scripture so that God can prepare you for what He sees coming, don’t read it just to check it off your list.
I CAN be the patient woman I sometimes doubt it’s possible for me to be. Choose.
You’ll come unglued again. That’s ok. Give yourself grace and choose again.
The goal is the middle–> soul integrity
Kristi Schwegman is a psychotherapist specializing in helping couples develop healthy relationships, whether dating, engaged, or married. She also draws from her Christian-based approach to lead individuals in becoming aware of the limiting beliefs that can get them stuck.
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