Saturday, August 9, 2014

Flip Flop

In a children’s message I did a while back, I quoted a page from “The Blue Day Book For Kids.” The book is a brilliant take on getting yourself out of a funk, those days when everything seems to be going wrong. One of the pages suggests standing on your head. It’s a great way, the book says, to see things differently. It goes on to say that more adults should try this.

In the movie Dead Poets’ Society, Robin Williams’ character, a teacher at a private all boys school gets his students to stand on their desks at the beginning of one class. Why? To see the world differently.

Ever notice how many times throughout the gospels Jesus is talking to people and says some version of: You think *this* but I say *THIS* In the sermon on the mount he says several times. “You have heard it said… but I tell you…” His whole ministry seemed to be set upon turning the world of his listeners on its ear, getting them to see things from a different perspective, in the words of Yoda, to “unlearn what they have learned,” which was vitally important if what they had learned was going to keep them out of Heaven!

For the next few articles, I’m going to suggest areas in which we should do a 180 in the way we think things are, as an experiment to see how they can change out marriages, and indeed our lives, for the better.

This month? In Jon Acuff’s book “Start,” he discusses a concept he calls “critic’s math.” It goes like this: 1 negative comment + 1000 compliments = 1 negative comment.

Harsh, but it it how we are wired. We tend to focus on the negative. Acuff points out that for his book prior to "Start" he had over a hundred “5 star” reviews on Amazon, versus three “1 star” reviews. His question: Which ones do you think he had memorized?

So here’s my challenge. Next time you get a compliment from your wife or husband, don’t brush it off. Don’t say - even in jest - “You’re just biased” or “you’re making it up," or "no I'm not." Memorize that compliment. Obsess over it. Write it down and think about the situation in which it was said. Think about why they said it, the nuances of their words, the inflection and tone of their voice. The point is to see yourself through their eyes, to get a different perspective. The point is to stop harping on the negatives, especially the self-imposed ones that AREN’T TRUE. Satan’s area of expertise is lies. He tells them, but it makes his job so much easier when we tell them to ourselves.

Here’s the flip side: if you are not in the habit of giving your spouse compliments, start. Don’t just say “you look pretty,” or “I appreciate you,” either. Get specific. Speak from your heart and let your partner know that you are happy, that you feel blessed that you get to spend the rest of your lives together. Tell them why. Over, and over, and over again.

And if you say these things in a way that inspires memorization, that's even better!

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