About the Author

Lisa-Jo is the best-selling author of Never Unfriended and Surprised by Motherhood. Her newest book, The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You invites us to get a good look at our middles and gives us permission to embrace them.

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  1. Lisa-Jo,
    This post is a keeper…in fact I’m printing it out right now so I can save a hard copy for future reference. Your words, along with the Bible’s words on holding our tongue, are ones that need to be revisited often. The theme I kept hearing over and over again in your advice was pause and pray first. I know that in my haste to respond – be it through split-second texting or wanting to jump to defend myself – I probably exacerbate the situation. This is all very wise and sound advice. Another thought I might add is that with the texting…I resist at all costs getting into a texting argument…especially with my kids. It’s a dangerous path that leads nowhere. Congratulations on your five-year milestone…you do a wonderful job with a terrific group of women and the ministry you provide is truly invaluable!!
    Love and blessings,
    Bev

    • Thanks so much lovely Bev. And that’s such wise advice about not getting into a texting argument with our kids – I’m putting that one in my pocket to save for future.

  2. So… This!!! So much goodness here. As a fellow “knee-jerker” I need to be reminded of these things so many times. Community is a beautiful mess isn’t it? And I’m so happy to be smack dab in the middle of it! I’ve learned so much here at (in)courage over the years. Not only from posts like this one but from watching my friends who lead this beautiful community. You’ve all taught me to love well and often – even when that means the conversations are hard! Love you all and grateful that it was here where God helped fall back in love with community! xxoo

  3. Lisa-Jo, this and Emily’s post on listening have convicted me. One of my spiritual gifts is encouragement. In Romans encouragers are called to “be careful that you don’t get bossy” (Romans 12:6 The Message) and I notice that I am having to unlearn old habits from unbelieving days of wanting to “fix” people, rather than entrusting them into God’s Hands in prayer. So, I often assume what God gave me that helped me through difficult times will help others too, rather than stopping to pray and listen for God’s Word on the matter. When I’ve chosen to wait and pray, it’s then I’ve seen God bring healing Words that have been a direct answer to prayer for friends. As Romans 14:22 puts it, I should “Cultivate [my] own relationship with God, but [not] impose it on others.”

    I’m also learning to abide in His Word and let His Truth break and mould me. When I was recently hurt by what fellow Christians called me and said to me, my first response was clouded by impatient hurt defensiveness, rather than a Christ-like response seeking peace. Then I read about the Body of Christ in Romans and felt convicted to apologize for my first response, even though I felt they had spoken unkindly and judgementally. I felt God convicting me to let go of the bitterness and allow Him to move in their hearts, just as God has repeatedly convicted me and continues to convict me of my own judgemental and unkind words, my own weakness of the flesh. I read the following on this:

    Romans 14:1-3 (The Message)
    Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with- even when it seems they are strong in opinion and weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.

    Thank you (and Emily) for your encouraging and convicting words and especially those 6 tips, which remind me of these words from Romans 15:

    God wants the combination of His steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever He will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir- not our voices alone, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!

  4. Lisa-Jo, I love how you’ve laid out these six essential points. Thanks for sharing your life lessons with us. I think every single one of them is spot on. In this rushy world, we shoot ourselves in the back when we rush into text responses with others. Timing is so important; and yes, we need to go to God first, just like Jesus went to the Father and shared what the Father showed Him. He had a lot to accomplish in three short years, but He didn’t resort to the knee-jerk reactions. With His love in our hearts, we’ll be able to be better heart-listeners, hear God’s voice, ask the right questions, and get to the crux of the issue with God’s beloved people. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thank you, Lisa-Jo!!!

    I’m forwarding this to my husband — we’re both high school teachers and we both get “interesting” Emails from parents from time to time. We can both get so caught up in an “I need to answer this right now to get it done and over with” mentality that we skip meals, bail on date night, isolate in our offices for hours … all of which is natural but none of which is healthy.

    I’m printing this and putting it near my ‘puter.

    • Yea, it’s funny how urgent responding always feels, isn’t it? It’s so so hard to fight that instinct. I still haven’t mastered it myself.

  6. Wow, Lisa-Jo! What a great list! Much needed on my end. I’m going to have to make a graphic to keep in front of me with the highlights. Yes, sweet sister, God has spoken to me through your words today. Blessings!

  7. Lisa-Jo
    I echo Bev’s comment on your post. Perfect reading for me today. If my printer had ink in it I’d also be making a hard copy!
    Much love to you in Jesus
    Yvie

    • Thanks so much Yvonne – I need to print it out and keep reminding myself as well – it’s hard in the heat of the moment to take your own advice 🙂

  8. Lisa-Jo,
    Thank you for this beautiful post. I too am going to keep it somewhere safe. I feel I will probably have a difficult conversation with someone coming at some point in my life and I am waiting for them to say things when they are ready. That may be next week, next year or in 10 years. Who knows! But, your words have given me strength and wonderful advice. Thank you!

  9. GREAT post. All 6 things are on point. Thank you so much for sharing. I can sometimes fall into those same bad habits you mentioned. Thank you for the wake-up call! 🙂

  10. It always amazes me at the way that the Spirit can speak to and convict my heart in situations in which I need to take a step back, listen, wait and speak words of his guidance, not my own human foibles 🙂 I work daily (and fail daily) on listening to his promptings and following in faith, but when I do listen to the holy whispers from our God who loves both sides of the conversation equally, it is a beautiful thing that happens not only in the conversation, but in my heart. But handled with my own humanness, it is just as amazing the ways that communication can tear down community, as it can build it up… Oh community, what a beautiful thing to work towards! And what a marvelous thing it will be when we see it done perfectly in heaven one day! Thank you for reminding us of the beauty of time, being still and listening! I am always blessed by the words God puts on your heart!

  11. This is a GREAT post! Insightful, practical, biblical and do-able. I loved it! Thank you.

  12. I am blessed and thankful for your testimony. I am trusting God to help me walk through these steps so that His righteousness can be made known through my life. God bless you richly. Thank you!