Dealing with Too Much Drama?
by Cindi McMenamin
How drama free are you? I’m sure you could answer that question by how you deal with the unexpected offenses in life. You know what I’m referring to – the personal accusations, misunderstandings, careless words, and sometimes unintentional actions on the part of others that rub you the wrong way.
As I was writing my newest book, Drama Free, I realized a common reason for drama is…
…how we react to being offended.
Consider how the typical “offense scenario” causes drama:
- You are hurt.
- You refuse to talk to the person who has hurt you.
- You share your wound with another person who then sides with you and also alienates the person who hurt you.
In this scenario, drama always occurs.
The more I examine Scripture, the more I find that a Spirit-controlled person is not one to give in to the spirit of offense and therefore escalate drama.
Proverbs 19:11 says, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense” (NIV).
You and I can’t control what others say or think about us, but we can control how we respond. More importantly, it’s helpful to remember that, as Christians, we live for an audience of One – God Himself. If we truly know that God’s opinion of us is the only one that matters, we will be able to respond in the following way when offended:
- Realize There Is Always More to the Story
Much of our offense comes from having too little information. There is always another side to the story. There is always a context within which the story – or the offensive statement or action – occurred. And there is always a back story (what a person may have been dealing with that caused her to say or do what she did to offend you). Ask God for the discernment to know if you really need to hear the context or the other side of the story, or if you need to just blow it off. Get in the practice of taking every offense to God and asking Him to show you what, if anything, is true in the accusation or offense, and what to let go of and move on.
- Retain a Sense of Humor
When we retain a sense of humor, it keeps us from taking ourselves – and our offenses – too seriously. It humbles us to be able to laugh at ourselves. When I’ve been described with less than flattering terms or I discover someone said something about me that I didn’t like, I find that if I laugh it off it’s a way of saying I’m not that important. I’ve also been told by my adult daughter “Don’t take things so seriously, Mom. We were just joking.” Learning to laugh can diffuse drama.
- Refrain from Acting Impulsively
Being impulsive in our words and actions often leads to drama. James 1:19 tells us, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” As we take time to think through our responses we can keep from reacting emotionally and impulsively, which many times escalates drama.
- Resist the Urge to Defend Yourself
This step has been the most helpful to me through the years. I can lose sleep at night trying to defend my image, or waste energy on explanations, defenses, or attempted retaliation. But none of that is necessary when I realize one golden truth: God’s got my back.
There is such freedom in being able to let an offense or accusation fall by the wayside with the mindset that “my name is Christ’s. And therefore an accusation against me is an accusation against Him. And He can defend His name.”
A woman who is drama is one whose first love is herself and who gets easily offended by what others say or think about her. I want to be a woman who pays no regard to what others think of me because my identity and reputation is wrapped up and hidden in Christ.
To be hidden with Christ is to identify with Him so completely that we don’t care about our image or reputation anymore. It is a form of complete surrender.
Trust God in the midst of the drama and let the offenses of others lead you to a greater dependence on the Lord. As you do that, you’ll experience the best kind of drama – the dramatic way in which you will grow in your relationship with God and others.
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 16 books, including her newest, Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You (Harvest House Publishers). Cindi and her husband, Hugh, a pastor, live in Southern California with their grown daughter, Dana, and their adventurous, drama-filled cat, Mowgli. For more on her ministry, see her website: http://www.strengthforthesoul.com/.