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celebrated author Lysa TerKeurst's new book, debuted at No. 8 on
The New York Times bestseller list. Its currently #2 on
the Christian Bookseller's Top 50 list. For complete list,
A new Christian living book,
Unglued seeks to encourage
believers to make "wise choices in the midst of raw emotions".
Recently, Lysa spoke with CBN.com about this new book, specifically about
how emotions play a role in our lives, how God feels about them
and how we can be wise about how we react to trying situations
and relationships in our lives. Here are excerpts from that
Why do you think God gave us emotions?
God gave us emotions so we could more deeply experience life,
but not destroy life. God wants us to feel. He designed our
bodies so that we could process our feelings and think about
life according to the senses, and the emotions, and the
hormones, and all of those things.
I can be empathetic. I can be compassionate. I can be ecstatic. I can,
when appropriate, be angry. All of those things are good. When
they're handled in the right way and processed in the right way,
they work for us. But when they start working against us is when
we start doing two things that I talk about in the book, either
exploding, which is pushing our emotions out with such force
that it creates damage, or when we start stuffing, pushing our
feelings down with such dishonesty about what's really going on,
that we create bitterness, and anxiety, and depression.
Since we are created in God's image,
do you think God has the same kind of emotions we do?
Obviously Jesus had emotion when he was here; and that is the
only picture of God in the flesh that we can see. So, you know,
we definitely saw Jesus had great empathy and compassion. He
would stop in the midst of an extremely busy schedule, and love
on one cast-aside, an unnoticed member of society. Jesus put
great importance on that person, which lets me know, you've got
to have deep feelings of empathy in order to do that.
But then we also see him in the temple, overturning the
money-changers tables, in great, explosive, righteous, but still
anger. He was angry. Then we see Jesus in times of conflict, and
how He handled conflict when He was about to be betrayed by
Judas. He knew he was going to get betrayed, and how He handled
He hung on the cross shortly thereafter and said, "Father, forgive
them, for they know not what they do." He had tears, and he had
laughter. So yes, I think that Jesus was a display, a picture
for us of God, and if Jesus had emotion and feelings, then
certainly I think God does, too.
identifies four emotional ways
we tend to react to situations and people.
What are they?
There's the exploder who blames others. This is what I
would tend to do with my children, unfortunately. "If you would
put your shoes on when I tell you to put your shoes on, we
wouldn't be running late. But because you didn't put your shoes
on when I told you to put your shoes on, now we're running late,
and now I'm angry, and it's all your fault that I'm angry…." My
emotional reaction is someone else's fault. Someone else has
There's the exploder who shames themselves. Like, we have
one of these explosive moments, but instead of blaming others,
an hour later we start to shame ourselves. We think of all of
the people who would have handled that so much better. We think
of our sweet friend who just is like the picture of calm, and we
think... she would have been just a picture of acceptance and
love. We shame ourselves about what a bad Christian we are.
Then, there's the stuffer who creates barriers, who is the
kind of person that withdraws in every sense. They're not
processing externally. They're doing everything internally. They
want to think about it and not talk about it. They hold you at
arm's length. Proverbs 10 says, "He who has hatred in his heart
has lying lips." In other words, when we're storing up
frustration, and bitterness, and hatred in our heart, but saying
I'm fine, we have lying lips. That's no better than someone who
Then there's the stuffer who collects retaliation rocks.
They're a stuffer for a little while, and they stuff and stuff
and stuff to keep the peace. But then, they're going to get
pushed one too many times. What they've really done, is that all
of that stuffing is really all collected proof of how bad you
are, and how good I am. So, I'm going to explode on you with all
of this proof of all of these times that you've hurt me, and
disappointed me, and made life difficult for me. I'm going to
rock your world, literally, with all of these rocks of
In the book, you talked about an
"unglued" feeling. What is that?
when somebody bumps into your happy. Maybe they disrespect you,
maybe they treat you in a way that you feel misunderstood, maybe
they criticize you, maybe they blow you off, maybe they reject
you, maybe they hurt you in some way. It's that instant feeling,
where you feel like, "Oh no, I'm starting to fall apart here,"
you know? And, what am I going to do in that moment, that moment
of just things unraveling a little bit. Things aren't as good as
I thought they were, or I'm about to step into conflict, and I
don't want conflict; or my boss is about to really get angry at
me and I don't want my boss to be angry at me. It's just in that
little moment, of I'm feeling that gentle, or sometimes not so
gentle, unraveling. That's that unglued feeling."
What Bible verses are helpful for
learning how to manage our emotional reactions?
the book, I talk about looking at the story of King Jehoshaphat
in II Chronicles chapter 20. I think it's 2nd Chronicles chapter
20, starting in verse 3, where King Jehoshaphat finds out that
there are three countries that are banded together and are
marching against him. It's such a picture of a man waking up one
morning, and getting that "unglued" feeling… He's learned that
the world is marching against him; at least it feels that way.
The first three words teach me so much because it says, "Alarmed,
Jehoshaphat, resolved." I think that's such a picture of how my
name needs to be book ended into those two realities. "Alarmed,
Lysa, resolved." Because in the moment, I love that it tells us
that he was alarmed, so he had that feeling. But he wasn't
dictated by that feeling, he had already predetermined that he
was going to honor God in every situation, no matter what. He
was alarmed, but at the same time, he was resolved. Then, we get
to see the beautiful picture of how it worked out so much
Can you tell a
difference in the way you react after writing
Yeah, I mean, I'm more aware of it. That's what I want this book
to do for people. If we're aware of our tendencies, we can
understand, OK, I tend to be an exploder that blames others;
therefore, I know I need to pause. If I can give people those
spiritual and emotional tools to improve their conflict
resolution and therefore improve their relationships, even just
10 percent, that's phenomenal.
3 Questions for
Tiny Twig, thetinytwig.com
A few weeks ago, I
had the opportunity to ask Lysa Terkeurst about her new book,
Unglued. I have been a longtime fan of Lysa, first introduced
to her work when we lived in Charlotte.
The Bathtub is Full but I Feel Drained
was the first “Christian mothering” (is that a genre?!) book I read,
and I was enamored by the stories she told about adopting her sons.
This newest book is a great read, and I read it with my "The No
Brainer Blog" in mind. I feel a huge burden not to put junk out on
the Internet. It is a privilege to have this space and to use this
voice, and I would hate to mess it up because I wasn’t being wise
with my emotions. I was excited to learn from the wisdom Lysa has
collected over the years of being in the public space.
So, without further ado, my questions for Lysa. Be sure to check out her
book if you want to know more! (see column at right)
1. In chapter 9, The Empty
Woman, you speak about discouragement you experienced at a
writers’ conference. Your friend has received a lot of positive
feedback, while you got none.
How did you walk through the disappointment between that day and the
day when you had the clarity of hindsight to realize God protected
your words from being public prematurely?
"I had to learn to focus on my own
responsibilities and actions and not look at what those around
me were gaining or going through. That means finding reasons to
celebrate what we have already been given and what we are doing
right. I had to bury myself in God’s Word.
"When I start to have those jealous
feelings again, I have found that it is important for me to
actively pursue good for others.
"Ultimately, dealing with disappointment
comes down to having a jealous spirit or a giving spirit.
Thankfully, through Scripture, I have learned that having a
giving spirit not only protects myself and those around from the
ramifications jealousy causes, but it helps prepare my heart for
all God has in store for me."
2. Being a woman with a public ministry, what
are warning signs you see in women who are dangerously close to
empty? Are there things you look for in your own attitude/heart that
challenge you to fill up before it’s too late?
"In Unglued, I talk about how the absence
of rest leads to an abundance of stress. When I see myself start
to lose my temper often or get aggravated at my family over
small things, I know I need to take some time for soul rest."
3. Do you have practical ways to make sure you
remain “full” rather than empty?
"I have learned the importance of making
Scripture the first thing I soak up every morning. I have found
that sometimes it isn’t practical to spend hours and hours in
God’s word (especially in the mornings) but, that little bit of
time and focus before I meet any of the day’s challenges really
helps my perspective for that day. I must exchange whispers with
God before exchanging shouts with the world."
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"Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst
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