Over the last month or so, I've been 'chewing' on something that I've been hesitant to share. The more I chewed, the more I saw it happening around me, the more comfortable I became with just keeping the thought to myself. More in an effort not to hurt feelings than anything else.
After talking to a sweet friend today, she encouraged me to share it and maybe in a moment of 'oh what the heck', here I am. :)
Saying that, let me preface this blog with a note saying that it's contents are not directed towards any one certain person. If it's for anyone, it's for me.
In late December, I found myself becoming overwhelmed with everything going on around me. The holidays, my leadership responsibilities, my family responsibilities and so on. If you knew me personally, you would know that I tend to be a high stress person but you won't necessarily see it's affects on me unless you live in my house. When anxiety hits, it's runs my life.
I think we can all agree that when we feel overwhelming feelings such as these, it can feel so good to vent. We pick a person to lay everything on the table with and just pour out every gripe, complaint, or frustration we have about the person or situation.
It was in one of these moments of pure 'GRRRRR'' that I started to type a text to my best friend and 'vent' about a certain something. I started to vent and express my grievance and something suddenly struck me."What in heaven's name are you doing?" I asked myself. (I'm going with God on this one. Seems like something He would trying to get my attention on) ;)
Now, I've vented many times before. I would probably say I'm a semi-pro, but I've never been really stopped and thought about what it was I was actually doing. The more and more I thought about it, the more I realized that maybe this venting thing isn't all it's cracked up to be.
First let's look at our victims (aka the people we're venting to). When we start sharing our thoughts so forcefully on them, we are putting them in 1 of 2 positions. Either the agree with us and we still like them or they disagree and we are now mad at them for not agreeing with us. Fair to do to someone who was probably just eating a bowl a cereal and mistakenly answered our phone call? Probably not.
Next let's look at ourselves. We are also putting ourselves in 1 or 2 positions. Either they agree with us and 'further our cause' really only making us more upset about the situation because we now feel justified or they disagree and again, now we're frustrated about something else.
Don't get me wrong. I definitely think there is a time and place when sharing frustrations can be the right thing to do, especially is we are seeking resolution. But I would also say 9 times out of 10, we just want to be miserable and want to invite others to our pity party.
What good is actually coming from this thing called the 'vent'? Is our problem being solved? Are we open to advice that we'd actually take? Or are we just using this moment to speak ill of someone when truly, our words are meant for building up?
I see this each and every day and especially on social networking sites. Those who feel they have a right to displace their anger or frustration on anyone willing to listen which again, only turns out one of the 2 ways listed above. Who are we to do that to other people and ourselves?
So this is my challenge to you and to myself. Next time we find ourselves picking up the phone to call or text, logging on to Facebook or as our spouse walks through the door, ready to 'vent', let's just not.
Let's take a step back, really look at what we're about to say or do and decide whether it is something that will add value to either our lives or the person who's getting ready to have a rain of frustration poured all over them. Are we doing ourselves justice? Are we doing them justice? Are we doing the person were venting about justice? If we don't have anything nice to say, let's just not say it at all.
Let's choose to find constructive ways to channel these feelings that will actually solve our problems instead of creating new ones. Let's find ourselves saying, " So I started to vent....and I just stopped."
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. Colossians 3:12-14