marriage Wedding Wednesday

WW! Reprogramming your heart’s “code”

Welcome to Wedding Wednesdays!  I am excited about what God is going to do through this series.  Today we are going to jump right into the thick of relationships for both singletons and married folk.  So let’s get to it!

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As a Math major in college, I was required to take one computer programming class.  This class gave me a behind-the-scenes look at how computer programs and games are written.  I learned how to write code for very simple tasks, and probably didn’t learn as much as my professor hoped I would.  I spent many a day with the one other female in the class in our professors office asking for help.  The great part was that when we went in to ask for help, Dr. Cooke would inevitably end up writing our programs for us.  He would ask us along the way, “Do you understand why I did that?” or “You can see how that would be the appropriate code for this next direction, right?”  My classmate and I would always nod “yes” even when we had no clue what he was doing.

I did learn a little bit in that class and enjoyed learning how to write code {although, I thought it took up way too much of my precious time}.  What does “writing code” mean?  In its simplest form, it means I would tell the computer how to respond to different situations.  For example, I could write code that essentially said, “If the ‘h’ button is pushed, then put a red square on the screen.”  Simply, I programmed the response to buttons being pushed.  I had no idea at the time that this class would one day help lay a key foundation for all of my relationships.

A few years after college, while attending the Kanakuk Institute, I read the amazing book The DNA of Relationships by Gary Smalley.  This book took me back to my programming class at Hastings College.

How can a computer programming class revolutionize your relationships?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

We’ve all heard or used the expression, “She sure knows how to push my buttons!”  Smalley’s book profoundly changed my life and my relationships, when he told me that I was the programmer of my own buttons.  I can’t control when someone pushes my buttons, but I can control what happens when my buttons get pushed.

I can decide if when someone offends me, I scream at them, ignore them, address the issue calmly, or have any number of responses.

I write the code for my emotional buttons.

This changed my life.  Immediately I began seeing that my reactions were out of control.  I would fly off the handle if someone made me mad.  If someone struck one of my core fears, I would become defensive, feeling like a failure on the inside.

However, realizing that I could change my reactions by reprogramming my “buttons” now allows me to enjoy healthy relationships.

Thankfully, I read this book about five years before I got married.  I used those five years to practice reprogramming the code to my heart’s sensitive buttons.

One of my buttons is a fear of failure.  When someone does something that signals to me they think I’ve failed, I have a difficult time responding well.

Not long after reading this book I instigated a HUGE argument with my mom over chicken broth.  Yes, you read that correctly: chicken broth. Here’s what happened.

Living in Branson, MO had its ups and downs.  Although we had more entertainment options than we could ever enjoy, we paid the price at the grocery store.  Our groceries were marked up due to the heavy tourism.  So when my mom came to visit and realized how expensive a can of chicken broth was, she said, “If I had know how expensive chicken broth was, I would have brought you some from Kansas.”

Now, most of you reading that think, “What a sweet mom!”

What I heard was, “I think you are financially a failure and can’t pay for your own groceries.”

When this hot button and core fear was struck, I reacted terribly.  I threw a fit.  I was ranting and raving about who knows what; I was so angry that she would have the AUDACITY to buy me some chicken broth!

I know, I’m a little crazy.

Finally after my temper tantrum stopped, my mom took a much-needed nap, and I went to the kitchen.  I remember sitting on the floor and thinking to myself, “What in the world just happened?”  How could I be so upset over chicken broth?  I realized then that she had VERY MUCH UNINTENTIONALLY struck a hot button with me…feeling like a failure.  At that point, I could have realized what happened and chosen to respond differently, but at that point I wasn’t aware enough of my buttons to really control my response.

I could have realized that she was simply trying to be nice and not insult me.  But in the moment I was extremely offended at her kind offer. {Please note, I have learned to graciously accept her offer to buy me groceries without being offended.)

Since then I have tried to be more aware of my hot buttons and how I respond.  Sometimes when my buttons get pushed, the one pushing my buttons is intentionally trying to get me to react. {Unlike my mom who was completely innocent in the about situation.}  Sometimes people are mean.  Sometimes people do things that offend or hurt us and the issue is much more serious that chicken broth.

But even in these situations, we can control our response.  We can still write the code to our heart’s hot buttons.  Even when someone intentionally hurts us, we get to choose and program our reaction.  We can choose to response with the fruit of the spirit or with anger and rage.  Which will you choose?

There are times in my marriage that I still throw temper tantrums when my buttons get pushed, but I am much more aware and try my best, through God’s strength, to program healthier responses for my hot buttons.

Whether you are married or single, I recommend two things.

1  – Consider reading The DNA of Relationships to learn more about this life-changing technique.

2 – Think about the last time you were really upset.  Think through these questions:

What happened to upset me? (Did someone say something to you?  Were you affected by someone elses actions?  Etc.)

What was my response to being upset or hurt?

What was my desired outcome of the situation?  (Express my self, reconciliation, peace, get my way, etc.)

Did my response bring about the outcome I desired or did it bring about more tension?

If faced with that same situation again, how could I reprogram my response to achieve a healthier outcome?

Practicing this reflective activity will lead to a change in your emotional code.  Which will result in healthier relationships n every area of your life.

I pray that you will spend time reflecting on your own heart…not the heart of the one you want to read this blog.  Look at your own heart.  Ask God to show you where you can improve your heart’s code to more reflect who He is.

Read the following encouragement from Paul and ask yourself if you reflect these attitudes when your hot buttons are pushed.  If not, spend some time in prayer asking God to help you reprogram your heart’s code.

22But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful 23and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind.
24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their sinful nature to his cross. They don’t want what their sinful nature loves and longs for.
25Since we live by the Spirit, let us march in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become proud. Let us not make each other angry.
New International Reader’s Version. 1st ed. Zondervan, 1998, S. Ga 5:22-26a
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but lrejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.
The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. 1 Co 13:4-8a
Photo by digitalart

I've been a follower of Jesus for over 30 years, and have been teaching God's Word to students and women for nearly 20 years! God has brought me through some difficult chapters in my own life, and now my passion is equipping women like you with tools to embrace your own unexpected chapters in life with grace and truth.

2 comments on “WW! Reprogramming your heart’s “code”

  1. really cool insight … I definitely need to work on this … I’m not the slow to anger person I need to be – with my hubby or my kids. I like the visual of “marching in step with the Spirit.” I’m going to take that with me today – thanks!

  2. speakinginfaith

    Hey, Mela,

    Thanks for stopping by. I am continually working on this. It’s easy to respond quickly with a snide remark or anger, but that tends to get me nowhere fast. A slower response filled with the love of Jesus is always a better way to honor and cherish the ones I love.

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