A can of spray paint exploded in our garage this evening, but we didn’t notice there was a problem until after the fumes began to permeate throughout the house, making it difficult to breathe. There’s no telling how long that can sat out there, tension rising from within, until it finally reached it’s breaking point.
Maybe it exploded under pressure or maybe the explosion occurred due to a manufacturing defect.
But it got me to thinking about how my emotional reactions sometimes look like that can of spray paint, exploding and bringing harm to my favorite people – my husband and kids.
While I communicate well through writing, speaking words out of my actual mouth has never been something that I’ve been good at. I’m often afraid to speak, or I say the wrong thing. And when it comes to talking about feelings, I can’t make myself go there. I just can’t. It’s one of my many defects.
So often I allow the pressure of my emotions to build without notifying anyone that something is wrong. I can only contain it for so long and eventually I explode. Those close to me don’t realize there is even a problem until the consequences of the explosion begin to permeate throughout the house. Anger. Yelling. Harsh words. Blame. Misunderstanding. And a bad attitude that smothers the entire household.
How much better my relationships might be if I used the proper words at the proper time to explain how I was feeling. Too often, I hold my emotions in until it’s too late to discuss them calmly, and they are released in the form of sharp and damaging words. These explosions leave a toxic residue over my entire household in the form of confusion, hurt, anxiety and regret. My apologies seem to neutralize the lingering toxicity, at least until the next explosion.
But, I’m learning. Slowly, I am learning. Instead of trying to clear the air after one of my explosions, I need to air out my emotions before they become toxic. It just takes a few right words at the right time to avoid a toxic outburst. And even though speaking about my feelings scares me, I’m certain that it’s far less scary than the way my kids feel when I explode. It’s a fear I need to overcome so that we can all shine through the cloud of toxicity.
Proverbs 25:11 (MSG) The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry.