Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress by Lysa TerKeurst (book review)

I have struggled my entire life with my emotions - I cry over the littlest things (earning me the most awful nickname of "cry baby" growing up - yeah that still stings a little), I yell over the littlest things. I can go from calm to off the wall in no time whatsoever.

This has created problems in every facet of my life. Arguments with my parents and sisters got way out of hand (like the time my older sister punched me a few days prior to my wedding). Parenting and marriage have been fun with these emotional outbursts...ask my dear husband and children.

Thank God (literally, thank Him) that I have God because He has instilled it in me to be unhappy with these outbursts. He has created in me a desire to be emotionally stable - not unfeeling but not linked by DNA to TNT. So for the past 6 years, I have been trying - and failing - and trying - and failing - and trying - and failing (you get it) to be patient, kind, calm.

I struggle with comparing myself to more patient friends (or at least seemingly patient friends, I'm sure they have their limits, too), which can make my struggle that much worse. But, the Lord has been so good to me. I am not the fireball I was a year ago, the year before, etc. I still yell at my kids (yes, I'm freely admitting this on the internet) and go ape on my husband (this is really hard for me to admit but I really want my blog and my life in general to be an honest, open place so that if one other person feels this way and is ashamed, they needn't be, because I'm struggling right alongside!). I've had to cut out TV shows with catty characters and really watch what I listen to, watch, and read (because it affects us, no matter if we think we're above letting the culture infiltrate our lives).



Then I hear about this wonderful book called "Unglued" by Lysa TerKeurst and have the opportunity to read the "Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress" by her. One of my favorite gems from this devotional is from the title: "imperfect progress." I hate to break it to myself and other people (moms and non-moms alike) who become unglued - we're never going to be cured here. BUT we can make imperfect progress. We can have one better reaction to something that really irritates you, you can stay on the handle (vs. flying off the handle) one time this week. It's progress to becoming a better you.

God gave us these emotions so we can live life fully, but He did not intend for us to use those emotions to become bitter stuffers, mean exploders, stuffers who shame themselves. "God is big enough to handle our honest feelings." We can tell God how we feel; He can help us deal.

I love that Lysa has put in a "Thought for the Day" which really sums up the daily devotional. Sometimes that's all I can remember, but sometimes it's enough to help me have some imperfect progress for the day. An example is Day 38's "The more I rejoice, the more I keep things in perspective. The more I keep things in perspective, the gentler I become." Oh that's a gem. Truly, sometimes we have conniptions over First World problems! There are greater things to be upset over; godlier things to be upset over vs. running late for kindergarten pick up or a kid whining over leftovers. And when I remember that my problems aren't usually that big, I can calm down.

I have Day 8 dog-eared in my book because she asks some important questions (that if I could just remember in the heat of the moment, they would be truly helpful):
- Do I want to escalate this conflict or dissipate it?
- Do I want more trouble or more grace in my life?
- Do I want to be known as harsh or gentle?
- Do I want to get my own way or help find a resolution?
- Which do I care more about - demanding my rights or displaying right choices?

*sigh* I want zero conflict, I want grace, I want to be gentle, I want resolutions, I want right choices! Lysa does a great job in this book of not saying "you're ok just the way you are" (because if we're coming unglued, we're not ok) without demeaning us (imperfect progress following in the footsteps of Christ!). I'm humbled by this book again and again every day. I should probably read it over and over again until I meet Jesus - when I will be cured of my unglued tendencies.

I could go on and on about this devotional (and I have been lately to several friends). Go buy yourself a copy of the Unglued Devotional or book. I also listened to a Focus on the Family podcast featuring Lysa talking about this subject (right now, you can receive her book for any donation amount to Focus on the Family). It's been a major game changer in my life - honestly! It can be for you, too.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. Others may not have the same experiences with the book as I've had (but I hope you do). 

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