Monday, March 03, 2008

I probably shouldn't write on a Monday I have lots of thoughts on various subjects swirling around in my head.

What I was thinking of this morning was about how I communicate. I've been reading Joshua Harris' book "Boy Meets Girl" and I've been reading the chapter about communication. In the context of the book it's talking about communicating during courtship, but he makes several points that apply to any area of communication.

Listening: I would say I generally don't have any problem with listening, because I generally listen more than I talk. I don't usually talk a whole lot unless it's something I have an opinion on and find interesting...although I do have my moments when I probably talk too much, it's generally around family when I feel completely comfortable.

But in this book, Josh Harris says:
"And it's more than just listening; it's understanding and properly responding to what we've heard."

And there's the catch, I don't always fully take in what someone's saying, several times I've caught myself listening outwardly, but not truly taking in what the person is saying with any interest, and that's not good. And it's not coming from wanting to talk myself, it's coming from a lack of interest.

In church we've been going through 1 John, and yesterday's sermon was particularly eye-opening to me. Pastor Beasley was preaching from 1 John 4:7-12, primarily focusing on verses 7-8.

"7. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us."

One of his main points was that when it says "God is love", it's not saying that God loves us, and that is all he does, it means He literally is love. All true love comes from God, through a love of Him. "If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another...if we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us."
By a true love for others, through God, we are a witness to unbelievers, in that we love each other.

I know I'm certainly not putting this at all as clearly as Pastor Beasley did, so you should listen to yesterday morning's sermon to really get what he was saying, but one of his points was about communication and basically how through true Godly love, we are interested in what people say.

In his book Harris lists several principles for authentic communication: "Principle #1 Communication problems are usually heart problems"
Basically that's what I'm getting at, and it's something I think I need to work on.

The matter of not communicating my emotions very well, I wouldn't necessarily call an issue of the heart. Our family doesn't communicate emotions that much I guess. We talk, yes, when we all get together, we talk! We state our opinions quite clearly (and loudly sometimes!), and I suppose to a certain extent that's making our emotions known, but on a smaller scale we're much less likely to say: you know, I'm struggling with this, this is bothering me, I'm tired so I'm not taking what you're saying rationally, etc.

Personally, I think I'm rather afraid of scaring people by saying anything about how I'm feeling about something. Which I shouldn't be, I guess, because even though I'm the type of person who doesn't do that, I don't get all uncomfortable and try to ignore it when other people communicate their emotions. So if I base other peoples' reaction on that, they won't be put off if they are like me, and if they do communicate, they certainly wouldn't be put off at all, because that's perfectly normal.

And back to the context in Harris' book of courtship, I know I do need to work on this, because if I can't communicate with someone, it's bound to lead to misunderstandings and obviously that's not good.

Oof, seriously, this post even is more insight into me than I would normally give, and that's after taking out some stuff. A lot of this comes from people finding my view-point on various things (although the same as a lot of Christians) to be very strange. So since I don't want to argue about some things, I simply don't mention my opinion on them.

I'm afraid I didn't state that all very well either (there's always the writing skills part of communication :P) but I hope it made sense.

Another thing that I just thought of this morning was what a tremendous amount of things Dad knows how to do!

I was putting away my shoes, and thought of something about shoes (I can't remember what now) but I thought "Well, Dad would know about that". He worked as a shoe salesman at one point, so he knows a lot about shoes. It dawned on me that if I mentioned on here all the stuff he knows about, people would be hard-pressed to figure out what he actually did for a living. And really his work is only a small area of what he knows how to do. For that matter, I'm not even quite sure how to describe what his actual job is! He works for the local med school in Creative Communications, and when I tell people what he does I generally say he: 1. Does stuff with computers (that always covers a lot!) 2.Prints posters and designs web pages for the doctors 3. Arranges slide-shows....stuff like that, although there are really so many other things he does too! In his department, they sometimes have to video-tape various things, they take photos at the alumni reunions, etc. If someone's computer isn't working he often ends up fixing it, and if other things aren't working right he's sometimes responsible for fixing them if it's not something that requires the service tech from the company.

Dad used to work as a professional photographer, so he knows about photography. He fixes anything around the house that needs fixing, I don't think we've ever had to have a repairman come out. If we have, I don't remember it! He fixes the computers when something goes wrong, and one of his clients from work (I think that's how he knew him) paid him to come set up his computers and router and whole wireless system and back-up stuff in his house. (Wireless system and back-up stuff, those are technical terms, you know! ;p)

All this rambling to say that it made me realize how much I under-appreciate all of this. And how terribly "spoiled" I am, so I really need to remember that not every guy is able to do all this, and that I can't necessarily expect to marry someone who knows all the stuff my dad does. I think I will have to marry someone who's at least willing to learn how to do things, or I probably would have problems, but I seriously need to remember that not everyone can be as great as my dad.

That's just something that occurred to me. Obviously there's nothing wrong with thinking my dad's wonderful, but I need to remember that while I should look to him as a model for a Godly husband, it's hardly fair to expect some poor guy to be exactly like him, especially as someone younger simply wouldn't have had as much time to learn things.

Hmm...I should have saved that for Father's Day.

Ah, yeah, this is the sort of post that I'm going to publish, but I'm seriously worrying about scaring my readers. I didn't scare y'all away, did I? Hello...hello?? :P Oh, sorry, you're just confused by the atrocious lack of clarity in my writing, not scared away?


Beth said...

Frankly, I'm shaking in my boots...I have to go fold a load of laundry with you. :)

I wish I could teleport you back a generation to find out how my family communicated. Then we could go back a generation further and see how your grandparents' families communicated, or didn't. You might be surprised at how terribly communicative we all are by comparison. I mean, at least on our blogs...

Uncle Jim said...

Natalie, I think you hit upon an important thought when you commented about comparing a potential husband's abilities to those of your father. I agree that you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who has learned as much as your dad in only half his lifetime!

What I would suggest is that you look for the attitude of willingness to try to do something new, and the willingness to LEARN from someone else. So many young people don't want to try to do something they don't know how to do, and the rest of them seem determined to NEVER accept advice or instruction from people who do know how to perform the task.

When the time comes, ask your mom to put her constructively devious mind to work to help you plot out a few "test" scenarios for your potential groom. A strategic tire failure, perhaps - does he come running to your aid with a floor jack and the correct socket sizes, or does he volunteer that perhaps you should be carrying your parents' AAA card? You get the idea...

Someone who wants to learn and has some basic intelligence can accomplish much. Someone who doesn't have either is better-suited to serving you coffee, provided they can even master your preferred mix of flavorings. ;)

Rebecca said...

I love Boy Meets Girl!

About the whole communicating emotions thing (and I am having trouble communicating this properly)...I have a hard time with that, too, around our family. I think it's been better recently (probably because of being in Oregon), but I always feel like if I get all "emotional" on everyone they'll freak out (because I seem to freak everyone out no matter what I say...). But I am totally more comfortable when everyone is being real--even if they're sad or upset or frustrated. Hopefully that made some sense. Have you noticed that the more "communicative" I try to be, the harder it is to understand me??

And how many things do you blog about that you would never say in person? That is easier for me (even if I have to try to not say things that offend everyone...which I am sort of done doing at this point).

Will said...

I am rather passionate and somewhat idealistic and I tend to have no problem expressing my opinions, sometimes even when people don't want to hear them... >_< The one thing I have come to realize (from experiance) regarding communication is that communicating in the right manner is utterly important. The right thing said in the wrong way can lead to all sorts of misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

Your dad used to be a professional photographer eh? Was he freelance? What type of photography did he do? Advertising, weddings, portraits... Sorry for numerous questions, I was just wondering if my dad might know yours. :)

Beth said...

I doubt that I would have to use my "constructively devious" mind (what a compliment, BTW!) to test your beau/s.

There's almost always something in the works around here, and your dad wouldn't hesitate to ask for help if there's an able-bodied young man around. :) The two of you can't just spend all your time sitting on the porch swing communicating. Oh wait...we don't have a porch swing. You're doomed to spinsterhood, dearie.

Now you've got me thinking of all the potential projects that could be done...that shoe molding from the flooring project! The kitchen faucet! My closet paint job! I thought I was going to have to wait till Colin was a few years older to have double the manpower around here...bring on the suitors!!

Natalie said...

Uncle Jim,
so your suggestion is a well-placed bolt in the tire? Constructively devious, huh? And your suggestion is...practical? :P

I didn't know we had an AAA card.

I guess that's what I was trying to say, that I can't expect someone to have as much experience, but if they're not even willing to learn I would have trouble properly respecting them. And I know that doesn't work. :(

Natalie said...

Rebecca, I seem to have the same problem...I try to communicate and I immediately make a lot less sense than I usually do! :P But your comment made sense... to me anyway.

So you think being out in Oregon helped? I don't know if you can call talking at 1 in the morning true communication, but hey, if it helped you! :) I think we did get to know each other more, because that's the longest time we've spent together.

Beth said...

I'm reading that as "an triple-a card" which is rather like "an hoop!"

Natalie said...

yeah, I've found that I have to be careful how I say things, too. I might say something vehemently, but not really personally care as much as it sounds like I do, and then things come across wrong. Or more often, I'll say something meaning to be funny, and then realize the person I'm talking to has a totally different sense of humor and is probably offended! :(

My dad did medical photography, although I think he also did a few portraits and maybe one wedding. He doesn't like to take pictures of people...I guess because you can't always get them to cooperate! A landscape is just going to be there, so all you have to do is wait till the lighting is right! :D

He also taught some photography classes. We're from Illinois originally, and I think by the time we moved here (about 14 years ago) he was doing the computer graphics sort of stuff instead. So he probably doesn't know your dad. I take it your dad is a photographer? Is he involved in the BCA?

Natalie said...

Mom, I don't think we even have room for a porch swing! :D

Wow, I'd almost forgotten about the shoe molding. :P I guess I've gotten used to just the's going to look funny to see molding down there again whenever we get it put down. Should make Swiffering easier though.

I'll paint the kitchen if you want, even though that wasn't on your list! :)

Well, I guess I was thinking an A-A-A card, not a triple-A card. Which is strange, because I find it annoying when people refer to it as A-A-A.

Rebecca said...

I guess I just meant that I'm around you anymore :D

And maybe being around you at one in the morning made me get to know you well enough to know that you wouldn't freak out if I started emoting all over you. Or something.

Will said...

Yes my dad is a photographer, but he is not involved with BCA. He mainly does advertising photography on location.