Christian Track – Being Upset and Looking for the Cause in Me

man looking out window

Contributor: Ryan Moffat, BS in Bible and Theology from Multnomah University. Pastor of Vast Church.

Like a couple of bull elk full blown in the battle for male supremacy my 11-year-old daughter, Ashlynn, locked horns in an intense (yet silly) battle of control over who’s going to be in charge of the iPad.

Adult daughter and aged mother after quarrel at home. Focus on youngShe is incredibly smart, incredibly persuasive and is borderline “manipulative” in some the argumentative techniques she employs.

One time, as a 4-year-old, she actually grabbed a rock out of neighbor’s yard, knocked on the door and sold it to them (their own rock) for $5. This girl is good… I mean WICKED good!

So back to our battle of control…she did not want to concede to any of the leadership and direction that I wanted to believe to be best as it related to the rules for the iPad.

We went round and round and round going nowhere fast!!

Is there something deeper

It’s no fun arguing with someone you love so much about something so stupid (like the iPad rules) that I finally had a moment of clarity… “This isn’t about the iPad, there’s something deeper happening here” I thought to myself. I decided right then and there to change strategies.

“Ashlynn, let’s rewind this conversation, does that sound okay?” I asked her. “Yes, dad, let’s try this again.” She said to me. I joyfully and lovingly looked at her and asked, “Honey, is there something that I have done that’s caused you to question my love for you, my affection for you or my care/concern for you?”

The minute I moved beyond my frustration, my perception that she didn’t respect me, my limited view of the situation and chose to think about her is the moment the conversation changed dramatically for the positive.

She shared with me how I had not listened to her well earlier in the week and that there had been a few times I wasn’t engaged at the level that she wanted me to be engaged as a dad. I asked more questions; “How could I better show my love to you? What kinds of things do I do that make you feel valued and loved?”

Our contribution to dysfunction

As I transitioned from being offended, frustrated and mildly angry to being broken, sorry and truly repentant the strangest thing happened…there was FREEDOM and JOY in simply looking at my part in the difficult relational tension we were feeling.

Man thinking and watching the sea on the beachWhen I chose to look in and own the cause of struggle within (instead of only focusing on her argumentative, difficult spirit) the strangest thing happened…she said, “I am sorry dad, will you forgive me?”

Apparently when we take the time to look at our contribution to the dysfunction it both inspires and models a relational virtue and ethic and shows people that the way to “healthy” is simply admitting, “I am not healthy.”

When the anger, disappointment, frustration and blaming start take the time and discipline your mind and heart to look in first before you dare look out!

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Have there been times in your recovery that you have stopped in frustration and re-evaluated the cause of the true cause of the issue? What impact did this have on your situation? Has the change in this one event positively impacted your future interactions?

Ryan Moffat FamilyAbout the Author: Ryan received his BS in Bible and Theology and a minor in counseling from Multnomah University. He has pastored students, families and is passionate about Christ-centered recovery and healing. He’s been married to his beautiful wife Michelle for 13 years and they enjoy raising four crazy, unique and special kids together. Ryan is the teaching pastor at Vast Church in Sisters, OR and is currently working on his Masters in Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, OR

Addiction Hope is proud to announce the initiation of a special Christian Track of blogs and articles to commemorate the blessing of our sister site, Eating Disorder Hope’s 10th year anniversary. Watch for further content noted as “Christian Track”.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on December 24, 2015
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