I'm not a very good communicator. I know, seems weird given my writerly endeavors, right? Well, it's just the way it is. The sobering truth is that the communication resulting from my writing comes after several drafts of saying the wrong things, using the wrong phrasing, or committing to the wrong ideas. When I'm under-the-gun in person, I'm a bit less organized. Fortunately, my writing has improved this to a degree, but when it comes to conversations, I still speak with a certain first draft quality.
My worst point of communication is my inability to speak plainly in a moment of being hurt. I don't know how I failed to develop the skill to do so. Usually when wounded by another, I either sulk, erupt with inordinate frustration, or bury the pain and react far more inappropriately later when I hit a so-called "boiling point". I always thought that the last response was the best of the three, that it was curbing my temper and to some degree making me more patient; but in reality it was taking my temper and putting it into a pressure cooker--a place wherein it led me to greater anger and angst.
And when that pot boils over--it pops the lid and sends it soaring without kindness, gentleness, or reason. Something innocuous becomes the focal point of a great debate or intense argument, and oftentimes, I become preoccupied with my failure to react appropriately and, in doing so, further fail to communicate clearly in the present conversation. The event ends in a doubly frustrating catch-22, wherein I am not only angry over the initial items, but also the later item to which I responded poorly, that I responded poorly at all, and the compounded argument that resulted from this dynamic.
I hate it. I truly, truly hate it.
Ultimately, the issue reduces to pride--how often these issue can be traced to that horrible sin. Pride. Always. My wanting control or validation or respect or admiration--pride. When those things are not offered, particularly when I expect they should be, my pride is so horrific and awful. I try to curb it but to no avail; and in the end, I show myself to be a man unworthy of the validation, respect, and admiration I desire. Like I said, catch-22 (or maybe that's irony--I don't know; it's Friday).
But I am not without hope. I can honestly say that these events are fewer now than they were two years ago, which were fewer then than they were five years ago. I still have my moments, and I believe I always will, but they are lessened in frequency now, though their severity can still be great. Thankfully, the Lord is gracious and full compassions, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Joel 2:11-13). I know that as I continue my journey toward becoming more like Christ and less like "C.J. The Arrested Development Boy" (the behavioral state, not the fabulous show), the more my patience will increase and my pride decrease. The more I pursue Holy Jesus and grow to be like him in character, the more I, too, may display those aforementioned traits and avoid letting the pressure cooker get to a boiling point. I may need to take this one blow at a time, but we all start somewhere, do we not? Yes, I am hopeful indeed.
Thank you for reading, my friends, as always. Have a grand weekend full of merriment and adventure,
PS - I really mean that last part, too. I hope it felt at least half as good for you to read as it did for me to write! Be well, friends.