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Monday, October 29, 2012

"Unglued" (Lysa TerKeurst)

TITLE: Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions
AUTHOR: Lysa TerKeurst
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012, (208 pages).

When one lose control of one's emotions, the unraveling of self has begun. Badly. Not only will it hurt other people, it has a boomerang effect of hurting the self, sooner if not later. The problem is the inability to make sense of progress, and to accept imperfect progress. Call it perfectionism, anxiety, or simply wanting a quick-fix mechanism, when one loses control, all emotions can break loose. We need to be unglued from all these things that entangles us, that makes us hurt people. Slowly, bit by bit, we let grace enable us to put the pieces back together with choices that honour God and love people. Choose to do the right thing in the right spirit. In doing so, one gets to live in an abundant, unlimited supply of goodwill and grace.

Here is TerKeurst's roadmap in two parts. First, she points out the perils of letting our raw imperfect emotions define our sense of perfection or the right thing to do. This requires one to go through a process to be "unglued" from these unhealthy emotions. It requires new thinking on old paradigms. Instead of fixing our attention on circumstances, we learn to fix our attention on God. Before one can be unglued, one needs to recognize the imprisonment, and the labels that imprison and condemn us or lock us in the past. She lists four categories of "unglued reactions."

  1. Exploders who shame themselves.
  2. Exploders who blame others.
  3. Stuffers who build barriers
  4. Stuffers who collect retaliation rocks.
Exploders are those who push their emotions outward. Stuffers push emotions inward. If we can free ourselves from any of these, and let ourselves come under the liberating Hand of God, we will be ready to embark on a journey of becoming new people in God. The middle part of the book focuses on identifying, on diagnosis, and on freeing ourselves from these debilitating emotions. She offers practical steps to deal with each category of reaction. 

Second, she helps readers to move from a state of refusal to release control of one's sense of perfection, toward a willing acceptance and joy of "imperfect progress." This is about believing that one can act differently and not react compulsively. It is about wrapping every step with grace. It is about connecting with love and goodwill, to hand to God our raw emotions to be processed under the loving Hands of God. Honor, Grace, Compassion are the three points to keep in mind.

My Thoughts

TerKeurst cuts through the choppiness of human emotions with a skilled and gentle hand. Her voice of reason is compelling. Her understanding of the raw emotions is convincing. Written primarily for women, the author is able to state the problem, loosen the ropes that bind, and to guide readers to live free in grace. She makes many apt observations.

  • "God give me emotions so I could experience life, not destroy it."
  • "Choosing a gentle reply doesn't mean you're weak."
  • "The more I compare, the emptier I become."
  • "Feelings are indicators, not dictators."
  • "No jealous thought is ever life-giving."
  • "The difference between boundaries and barriers is honest transparency."
  • and many more....

Her five steps to recovery is worth remembering. At some point, we all do need to take charge of our raw emotions instead of letting them control us. Practical and useful, this book is a valuable resource when it comes to managing our own emotional outbursts to imperfections in life. More importantly, it lets God transforms us to learn to live our imperfect lives with gratitude, grace, and faith to know that one day, God will make all things perfect in His time.

Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Zondervan and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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