We've all been there. You know - that place where if we don't tell someone else about what just happened, we feel like we might explode. So we call a friend.
We need a good venting session and fast.
"You won't believe what he said to me."
"Do you know what she did?"
"And then do you know what they expected from me?"
"I'm so disappointed and hurt from how they are treating me."
Although we may have temporary relief from our toxic feelings and emotions through the act of "venting" and letting them escape, unwittingly, we are only reinforcing the toxicity in our brains. The more we verbally talk about an issue, the more we are actually rehearsing it, strengthening it, growing it...until over time we have built thought patterns that only fortify the negative emotions and feelings instead of dismantle them.
In short, "venting" to a friend can be more harmful than helpful.
"Woah......: you're thinking! "Hold on! I'm just sharing life, looking for counsel, searching for empathy and understanding."
My conclusion (from a lot of historic venting) is that my motives were far from godly. Deep down, my venting had much more to do with pride and gossip than any type of healthy desire to express.
Please understand. I agree that it is critically important as we grow as Christians that we find a friend or two to "do" life with. When bad things happen, we need community and relationships for support. Also, the command to "confess our sins" is Biblical! Further, if I am in an abusive relationship, yes, I need to reach out to someone for help.
Nonetheless, what I'm suggesting here is that for me, at least, my life issues fall more in the irritable, disgruntled category. For example, maybe I've taken offense at something, I've been hurt or verbally insulted, I'm the "victim" of a scenario, or my feathers are ruffled over something that happened.
When these types of issues arise (and they will), if my first line of defense is to rant to a friend--I may need to pause beforehand and check my motives. Are there issues of pride, desires to gossip (put someone else down so I lift myself up) that are propelling me to vent?
I have concluded that I do not want to reinforce these issue through venting, even if they have my heart wrenched. Frankly, it rarely resolves the issue. I desire to be extremely careful about what I magnify in my brain because I have learned that my negative thoughts produce negative emotions and consequently negative actions.
The more I jack up the issue, the more I end up reinforcing negative emotions, resentment, rejection, victim mindset, and ultimately unforgiveness over how I was wronged. In other words, venting, rehearsing, or replaying the scenario and how it makes me feel can lead to brain toxicity. What was once only an offensive comment or action that I stewed over over time can morph into a sinful, toxic root of unforgiveness, rejection, and bitterness.
In summary, the old adage may very well be true in this case: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
There is good news, however. We have a Savior to whom we can seek validation and from whom we can be comforted. Try this first. You might be surprised at the results!
And what does the LORD require of you
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