Taking Out the Drama

Quotes about drama are everywhere, and seen all the time.  Why?  Because a person who continuously over-reacts shows a lack of maturity, and their drama has a way of sucking all the energy right out of you.  So how do we as Christians overcome that tendency, or help others to overcome it?

In my role at work, I have to deal with unhappy or unpleasant customers who are many times dissatisfied with the support they are receiving.  A pattern I have noticed while working with them is that too often they do not have a full understanding of how the Service Level Agreements (or SLAs) in their contract work.  As a result they have mismanaged expectations.  Many times after sharing with them the outline of SLAs and helping to answer questions, I am able to properly set expectations and thereby help to build more of a partner relationship in the process.

In thinking more on this, I realized the same principles that apply to my customers may also apply outside of work as well.  For my customers, when an issue arises, depending upon the severity, there are four major categories they can select from to assign “rank”.  This rank is what drives attention within our support circles.  I took a stab below at what similar rankings might look like in everyday life.  Although they are fairly broad buckets and I am certain there are details not covered within the listed topics, perhaps it helps to paint a picture of the varying degrees of drama one can experience.

Crisis Level and Definition

  • Crisis Level 1 – Very High. Critical life processes are severely impeded or have come to an end. A loved one has died; or you or a loved one have been critically injured; received news of a life threatening disease. You have lost your home. You are going through a divorce, have experienced betrayal, or have a deeply wounded spirit. You are experiencing severe or ongoing physical or mental abuse.
  • Crisis Level 2 – High. Major functional loss, but not total breakdown. You or a loved one have been in a car accident; lost a job or source of income; experienced major material loss (such as by theft or natural disaster). You have chronic pain or are hospitalized. Your children are hurting or in pain.
  • Crisis Level 3 – Medium. Some functional loss. Outpatient surgery; broken bone; small or partial loss of income (perhaps through cost of living, loss of business, days off without pay, etc.). You experience a breakup of a relationship outside of marriage. You missed a flight. You are sick, home from work but not hospitalized.
  • Crisis Level 4 – Low. Minor problems. Someone is rude to you or calls you names. You’re in a traffic jam, or someone cuts you off or drives too slowly in traffic, or makes a move you consider stupid. You have an argument with someone. You broke a nail. You didn’t get time off work like you wanted or didn’t get the raise you expected or recognition you feel you deserve. Plans fell through. Expectations were dashed. You have to suffer consequences of a bad decision you made. Your car breaks down, again! Home repairs keep piling themselves on. You were late for work or are experiencing what is generally categorized as a “bad day”.

Drama occurs when someone believes everything that happens to them falls into “Crisis Level 1” and the whole world has “shut down”.  If you are a child, this is natural and is expected, as everything we may consider little, they consider big.  You have to remember, it is the first time they have ever experienced that sort of thing so to them it really IS big!  But there comes a point as we begin to grow older and have experienced more of life, that we are expected to make a natural transition into a broader understanding of these general categories and how our personal situation fits into them.

Taking Out the Drama (Turning the Mountain Back Into a Molehill)

Out of all the catch phrases that are popular these days about drama, one of my favorites is “Maturity starts when drama ends”.  But I would reverse it to say “Drama ends when maturity begins”, and trust me, maturity is not always ushered in by age.  True maturity has its roots in being spiritually grounded in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Take Peter for example.  We see in Matthew 14:22 – 33 that Jesus invited him to walk on water.  This Peter did, but when he took his eyes off Christ, the first thing he noticed was the wind and the waves (vs. 30), and he began to sink.  Christ then pulls him out of the water and says in verse 31 “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” That is pretty amazing stuff!  One lesson here is that when our eyes are on our circumstances and not on Christ, all waves appear big! The deeper we get into our Christian walk and faith, the greater our ability to walk on rough waters!

Here is food for thought for keeping our focus on Him instead of our circumstances:

  • Have you given your life to Christ, and believe in Him to be your God and Savior? Developing a personal, one-on-one relationship with Him through daily prayer is the first step.
  • Second, begin to fill yourself with the Word of God and listen to what He says over you through scripture, mentors, worship, sermons, and counselling. If you haven’t already, this requires finding a good church and plugging yourself in.
  • Walk in new life by developing a good support network of people who love you, can provide godly mentorship, and pray for you, and won’t pour salt on your wounds.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help or allow others to do for you what you cannot do for yourself during a time of crisis.

Don’t forget that God is more than just your Customer Service Solutions Manager in the sky!  It is nice that we can turn to Him in times of need, but accepting Him as Lord and Savior does not mean that we have purchased some divine SLA we can cash in or are somehow magically entitled to, seeking continually the blessings of His hands and never discovering the glory of walking in His presence.  All of us are saved by his mercy, and the “solutions” we receive are by His grace and plan for our lives – a true gift from God.

You and I were created for fellowship with Him!  Don’t be just a griper and complainer in your prayers, be a praise-giver too, expressing thanks to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as well (who is our daily Helper)!  How would you feel, for example, if you had a child who only came to you when they needed something?  Or if you had a friend who saw only from the personal perspective that everything that happened to them was bad?  Would you want to hang around them very often?  But He loves us so much that He chooses to hang around us, walk with us, communicate with us, and fellowship with us.

I challenge you to see your problems from a different perspective, from a Godly perspective.  “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” – Jeremiah 29:11.  Psalms 4:8 says “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for Thou alone, O Lord, dost make me to dwell in safety.” As we put our trust in Christ and keep our eyes focused on Him, He becomes a safe harbor for every crisis level we face, providing us with a calm serenity that only comes through relationship with Him. You can trust that everything which appears bad in your life, He will work out to good.

 

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