It only took me 25 years to catch on.
25 years of being defensive and overly sensitive. Taking things personally that really weren't personal.
You see, my husband and I work together. He's a chiropractor and I manage the office. Ok, I hear it all the time "Wow - I could never work with my husband." To which I nod, sweetly smile, and say "I could never work with your husband either."
But that aside, we have had our challenging moments. Often around 12:50 pm. We break for lunch at 1:00 and, if there's no patient in the office, around 12:50 he starts hovering. "What are you doing?" "Are you done with that yet?" "How long will you be on the phone?" "I'm hungry, let's go before I get a headache." And so on.....
My response usually begins with a rumbling volcano deep in my gut that periodically erupts. Not every day, but far too often. I take his questioning personally like he’s criticizing my job performance, or my wifely abilities, or my character. Sometimes it's due to his tone of voice. Other times it's because I'm wound up tight in defensive mode ready to uncoil and pounce as soon as he opens his mouth. And frankly, if I don't say something in response, I'm thinking it.
Except for that day last month.
In he came, and with my fingers on the keyboard and my face to the monitor, my gut started tightening. The questions started, but for some reason known only to God, my reply was remarkably different. The volcano ebbed as I slowly turned in my chair to face him,
“You’re a Snickers commercial hon. You’re just not you when you’re hungry.”
With the realization that the guy is hungry not angry at me, the pressure cooker valve released as the tension subsided and it was laughter that erupted.
And now we have a new tagline whenever stresses arise.
Snickers Commercial with Joe Pesci and Don Rickles
"And 'don’t sin by letting anger control you.' Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. ... Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." Eph. 4:26-27, 31-32
How about you? Do you find yourself at the ready to defend even if you're not under attack? How many arguments could be avoided if we sought to extend grace rather than dig our heels in?