The Tapestry Blog

  • A Southern Christian Woman Finds Her Anger




    1. a no-no word for women in the south
    2.  an off-limits emotion for women in the church. 
    3. emotion a therapist never feels because they are always calm and serene

    Despite these cultural definitions of anger for women, Christians,  and therapists, I found myself a year ago venting ferociously in a small group. One of the women in my group finally spoke up and said, “You’re angry.” 

    My heart dropped. I realized she was right. I started freaking out. Thoughts such as, “I’ve never been angry in my whole entire life”, “Why now?”, and “What am I doing wrong?”, raced through my mind. At that point I knew nothing about anger. I just knew I didn’t want to feel it. How am I supposed to be a good woman and a good Christian if I’m feeling angry? 

    Then I began to learn about anger. If you know the truth the truth will set you free right? Here are some freeing truths I learned about anger.

    1. Anger is often the result of a blocked goal or desire

    This was the very first thing I learned about anger. Let me tell you when I did, I was blown away. My feeling of anger all of the sudden made sense. At that point in my life there were significant goals and desires being blocked. Once I learned that anger often stems from blocked goals and desires I was able to reflect on what was stirring in my heart. In that reflection I was able to see the desires that were good and needed a little more patience to see them through. I was also able to see the unrealistic goals that needed to be let go. Now when I feel angry, I ask myself, “What am I aiming for?”

    2. Anger is an umbrella emotion 
    The second thing I was told about anger was to imagine that the anger is an umbrella. Imagine pulling the umbrella down. What’s there? Anger is an emotion that covers up numerous other emotions we are feeling. Another way of describing it is that anger is the tip of the iceberg- there is always something underneath. Common things underneath anger are: disappointment, rejection, offense, regret, worried, hopelessness, and jealousy.  The next thing I ask myself when facing anger is, “What I am really feeling?”

    3. Anger can fit the facts

    Anger can be an appropriate response to your situation. Anger can be a knee jerk reaction when an important goal or desire is blocked, you or someone you care about is attacked or hurt by others, or the integrity or status of your social group is being offended or threatened. When appropriate one can fight back as long as it is not in a way that is emotionally or physically harmful to others. Fighting back can look like being an advocate for an important cause or lovingly confronting the person who hurt you. One can also take a break and step away to cool off or maybe it’s a sign to remove yourself from the situation all together. The last thing I ask myself when I am feeling angry is, “Is this a situation where anger is trying to protect me?”   

    Lastly, I would like to set a few things straight by correcting a few myths: 

    Myth: Anger is a sin.

    Truth: The word of God tells us to “Be angry and do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26)

    Discovering what’s underneath our anger may actually be an important step in managing sinful behavior.  Anger unexamined will eventually come out somehow. Anger is not always negative- sometimes anger leads us to overcome obstacles to our goals, protect the defenseless, or stand up for what is right. Other times when unexamined and not utilized effectively it comes out through things like becoming a nagging wife, overbearing mother, a steam-roller at work, or just an overall bitter grouch. 

    The anger isn’t the sin- it’s the ineffective ways of dealing with it that is.  The rest of Ephesians 4 goes on to talk about not letting the sun go down on the anger and not tearing one another down with our speech. In summary, the word is tells us to deal honestly with our anger and not treat one another poorly because of it. Putting the umbrella down and taking a look at what’s underneath your anger can simultaneously give you a better understanding of what your values are and the areas of your character that need to be fine tuned. 

    I’m a southern Christian woman and therapist in training who has found her anger. Now it’s time to go out and find yours! Exploring your anger can lead you to make positive changes, fight for the right things, and help you catch yourself before you act on it. Remember the anger isn’t sin- unexamined anger is the bad guy.  

  • Emotional Memory

    Today Daniel Peeks and Stace Huff join me to offer some insights into emotional reactivity.  We are going to discuss something called “Emotional Memory” and the role it plays in our intimate relationships.  As both a husband and a psychologist, understanding the neurology and behavior associated with emotional memory was very impactful and valuable.  I hope that today’s show will be the same for you. 


  • Child Safety and Predators


    Today Mary Breshears and Bev Elliott join me for a conversation about child abduction and sexual abuse.  As parents, we walk a fine line as we acknowledge the dangers in our world and protect our children, while also recognizing the limits of our humanity and not allowing our fears to over come us.  In today’s show, Mary and Bev have some guidance and perspective for parents striving to protect, but not over-protect their children.  


  • Fear and Control

    Today Sarah Collier and Melissa King join me for a conversation about fear and control.  Across the course of my career, I have become convinced that controlling people are scared people.  If you’re bent toward control and that doesn’t immediately make sense to you, then I think you’ll find today’s show quite helpful.  


  • The Importance of Solitude

    Today Stace Huff and Bev Elliott join me for a conversation about the challenge and importance of solitude.  Too often, the busyness of outer lives collaborates with the chaos of our inner lives to keep us moving and active.  However, when we fail to get alone and slow down, we not only rob ourselves of an important need, but we may fail to recognize internal warnings that alert us to future crises.  Today’s conversation is for everyone.  I hope you’ll be encouraged, challenged and guided by it.  


  • The Rat Race of Performance

    Today Mary Breshears and Daniel Peeks join me for a conversation about performance.  I’m not sure about other metropolitan areas, but here in Metro-Atlanta, the culture is marked by a very busy pace of life and a good dose of “keeping up with the Jones”.  Success is often measured materially and - at least in appearance - by having a happy family.  So, its real easy to get sucked on that gerbil’s wheel where my identity and worth are defined by my success.  The subsequent dynamic that creates may create a recipe for material and social success, but across time it wreaks damage on the heart and soul.  So, if you struggle in this area - and we all do to some degree - i think you’ll find today’s show helpful.  

    The Rat Race of Performance

  • Watch Your Nonverbals Buddy!

    Today Bev Elliott and Stace Huff join me for a conversation about the significance of nonverbal communication.  Often, the most important aspect of communication in a marriage is the nonverbal communication.  Body posture, facial expression and tone betray emotions and attitudes which we may not even recognize we are experiencing.  In our conversation today, Bev and Stace will highlight the importance of making the implicit explicit when we engage with our spouse. 

    Watch Your Nonverbals, Buddy!

  • Childhood Depression and Anxiety

    Periods of sadness and anxiety are inevitable part of life, but when we watch our children struggling it can be heart-wrenching.  Today Sarah Collier and Melissa King join us for a conversation about childhood depression and anxiety.  Sarah and Melissa have some important insights to help parents better discern whether their child is just going through a momentary bout of sadness and anxiety like we all confront or whether they’re wrestling with something more disruptive.  I think that parents of both children and adolescents are going to find today’s show to be very helpful.  Besides a lot of insight, we’re also going to discuss some concrete things that you can do to better help your children through anxiety and depression.  


  • Helping Children Through Divorce

    Although none of us expect our marriages to end in divorce, it still happens and the impact of it on our children can be far-reaching.  Although there's no way to forego the disruptive effect of divorce on children, today Stace Huff and Bev Elliott join me to offer some concrete advice for parents about helping children through the difficult process of divorce.  So, if you have recently gone through a divorce or are moving into a divorce, you won’t want to miss today’s show.  


  • Understanding Emotion

    Today Stace Huff and Mary Breshears join me for a conversation about emotion. As a guy, I have to confess that I didn’t even know that I had a feeling – except for anger – until I was almost 30 years old. And it still took me another 10 years to figure out what to do with them. So, if you struggle with how to understand, process and manage your emotions – and don’t we all? - then I think you’re going to find today’s show to be very helpful.


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