I can be quite silly with venting. Social media has been my therapeutic outlet for my continual disappointment with my sports teams (I apologize to the twitterverse and Facebook world). But I think both you and I know what I’m talking about when I use the word “venting.” Some of your venting is quite obvious because you use the words “just sayin” at the end of your rant (as if the phrase is a new form punctuation in the english language). Others, you start off with “I apologize for the length of this” as if to say, “gird your loins, I’m about to unload.”
I can hear some of your thoughts right now. “Dave, you’re blowing this out of proportion. Let people do what they want. For some, that’s their only outlet.”
But that’s just the thing. It is an outlet. Your best friend is an outlet. Your coworker is an outlet. But just because you have an “outlet” doesn’t mean it’s the healthiest one and, two, your venting may not be actually getting you help.
PLEASE NOTE: Momentary relief is no substitution for deep lasting health.
This blog isn’t here to beat you up. It’s here to encourage you to get help…the right help. Much of the venting I’ve been privy to has been an excuse to “unload” displeasure about other people instead of going to the person. In the name of “venting,” proper healthy conflict is avoided and a septic inner attitude or mindset is facilitated. It’s time to take a stand. It’s time to get healthy.
Here’s some questions to ask yourself before you go “venting” to someone…
1 – Am I wanting Godly PERSPECTIVE or just an opportunity to PERPETUATE the issue?
This is why I love how the entire book of Psalms starts out, “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.” – Psalm 1:1-2
Do you avail yourself with what God’s Word may say to the situation? I’m convinced that, if people who came to me to “vent” started with the Word, conservatively speaking, ¾ of my appointments would cancel on me. I have learned that a majority of Christians won’t check the scriptures because either, first, they already know what it’s gonna say, and second, you don’t want to do it. The other portion doesn’t know and/or needs direction on how to practically do it. And for that, I’m glad to help.
2 – Am I willing move into healthy ACTIONS or sit in ASSUMPTION?
So much of venting results from stewing over something and coming upon conclusions that may or may not be reality. Thus, venting can be constant spillover of issues that are being ignited by assumption with little to no healthy actions.
Why does the Hebrew writer tell us to, “Fix your mind on Jesus…” (Hebrews 12:2)? Because of the example of Christ. He didn’t sit in assumption over our sinful condition as to wonder why we are doing what we are doing and/or what the heck we are thinking when we do what we do. He joyfully stepped forward in action. Joy isn’t found in the situation (can’t say the cross was a fun thing to endure). Joy is found in the presence of God. And His presence and His example propels us to fixate upon Him and the health he wants to bring. He gives us a perspective of what needs to be done as opposed to what might be going on.
3 – Is my goal to END the story or RETELL it?
Do you want to see resolution or are you just wanting to rehash it? What is your goal? Refusing to take appropriate steps forward by unhealthy venting is like scratching a rash thinking it’s going to solve something when, in reality, it’s spreading it.
So many people are used to venting a story that has, in essence, become the identity they live by. They’re a constant victim. It’s time to lay down the story and begin one new in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old has gone and a new ‘story’ has begun.” Continuing a story can continue an identity. Start a new identity in Christ and, thus, a new story.
4 – Do I want to RESOURCE healing or am I looking to REPRODUCE I’m experiencing?
There’s an old saying. “Misery loves company.” Very similar to 3, this has a bit of a twist. Instead of just finding people to retell it to, some people vent to rally people to their cause. One of the best ways to resource healing is to go to the person for whom you have offense with. As you do:
- Go with a humble heart. Be open to the fact that you could be wrong about the person and/or the entire situation.
- Check your tones and mannerisms.
- Be ready to be the first to apologize and ask for forgiveness.
- Go into it go get a HEALTHY result and not necessarily your DESIRED result.
- Resolving conflict biblically doesn’t always mean you get your way OR that you win.
5 – Am I looking to PROCESS or am I looking to UNLOAD?
This is where the real help comes in. Unloading feels good for a moment. I’ll admit, getting something off my chest has the sensation of relief. But stopping right there leaves you feeling lighter, but also empty. On top of that, most people are ready to fill the newly discovered relief/ emptiness with the same substance they had been carrying before. Having Godly counsel and wisdom spoken into your frustration properly processes the issues of the heart to become a foundation of health and vitality.
Do more than look for someone to help unload what you are carrying? Those people are easy to find (and sometimes eager to be involved in your business).
- Who loves Jesus.
- Who knows the Word.
- Who cares for people.
- Who will approach the situation objectively and confidentially.
- Who loves you enough to say the tough things (even what you don’t want to hear).
If you are needing to “vent,” chances are, there are deeper issues than the need to “get something out in the open.” Don’t deal with it is isolation. I don’t want you to deal with this on your own. As I’ve said so many times,
The enemy works in isolation; God works in community.
Get some help. And HELP is as simple as:
1 – Turn to Christ. “What does Jesus think about me?” (BTW: He loves you immensely and don’t let anyone tell you different!!!!)
2 – Turn to His Word. “What does the Bible say about what I’m dealing with?”
3 – Get Godly counsel. “Who can help me process this instead of helping me unload?
Love ya. Rein back your “venting” and step into a healthy mindset of how to approach the inner frustration you are experiencing. I believe if we’ll turn to Him first, if we put Him first in our offenses and hurts, he’ll do “immeasurably more than we ask or imagine according to His power at work within us.”
Thanks for letting me ramble…