Communication Plan, Day 2: Technology, and why I Need to Use It Better

      I believe that some of the problems I have with communication are in the lack thereof-which can then result in misunderstandings, and wind up with me saying something I shouldn’t. 
     The situation that arises now is one with my therapist. Before we actually meet, he wants to see if his services are covered by my insurance. We have called back and forth-the actual talking has gone very well; he’s an amiable, pleasant man. He asked me to find out about my insurance, does it fall under this coverage or that plan and so forth. He needs it as soon as possible. I haven’t called back yet; we are supposed to meet this coming Wednesday. 
     Thinking about this, I wonder if this has an affect on my other relationships as well. Living in a digital age, there is a lot of asynchronous communication that I use, especially with my phone. I know there have been times where I have misjudged the tone of a text, or let time lapse before a response and then problems arise. 
I have a new situation before me. How shall I respond?
Well, implementing my plan…
   *  I am quiet right now. I am thinking about what I need to do. What do I need to do? Figure out the information he wants.
   *  I am going to call him, and leave a short, detailed message apologizing for my lapse in reply and giving him the required information. That way, the relationship we have can still have some cohesiveness. I don’t want him thinking I am somebody who slacks, or procrastinates. It is in my nature to be forgetful-which gets me in trouble. According to the media richness theory, telephone calls can have a decent amount of information that can be gleaned. I’m sure that when he hears my message he will understand.
     Today’s lesson is-forgetfulness now leads to conflict in communication later. I need to be better at remembering important details and how to respond in an efficient manner. 

 

VOCAB USED:

asynchronous: delays that occur in communication; each interactant must take turns being the sender and receiver of a message.

Media Richness Theory: describes communication channels by the amount of verbal/nonverbal information that can be exchanged through a particular channel. Ex: the amount of emotion that can be heard over a phone call versus through a text. 

Communication Plan, Day 1: The First Encounter

As I said, I have a blog for my Interpersonal Communication class that I must keep. I’m marking my progress as I try and get better at watching what I say.
Today was not such a good day. 
I was talking and joking with a group of friends, as we often do. At one point, one friend-we’ll call her Sally-happened to say something along the lines of “You don’t need to work out to play football. You just have to know what you’re doing.”
Immediately I said, “Shut up, Sally! You don’t know what you’re talking about. Of course you have to work out..” yadda yadda yadda. Everyone laughed, the conversation continued. I took a look at Sally’s face, however. She was kind of quiet and didn’t seem happy. 
Now, maybe I’m overreacting here, but it seems the feedback I was getting from her face was that she took my “shut up” harder than I intended. Immediately I felt bad, and I offered a quick but sincere sorry. After a while, she seemed okay. 

What have I learned today? That I really need to take time and think about the words I say. While the social context of the situation may allow for that kind of language generally, I have to think more about how individual people may feel about the language used. Some people don’t like those kind of words! I need to remember that.  Next time, I’ll refrain from saying things like “shut up” or slightly negative things that seem harmless. I’ll be better!

Until next time,
-Michael Wright, Jr.-

VOCAB USED (at the end of each post, I’ll put the vocab words-from the textbook-that are used):

feedback: a message (verbal or nonverbal) in response to a previous message, indicating whether and how the message was understood. Sally gave me nonverbal feedback that told me she wasn’t happy being told to shut up.

social context: the type of relationship that may already exist between the participants-in this case, friendships. 

I Want To Be: Listening (A Study On David)

 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from theLord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon. 2 One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle[a] near the Ark of God. 4 Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!”

“Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” 5 He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

“I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did.

6 Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!” Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

“I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.”

7 Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. 8 So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. 9 So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed. 

10 And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

Speak, your servant is listening.

Those are powerful words. It occurs to me that we each have these moments in our lives-where the Lord is speaking to us, yet we fail to recognize His voice and presence. We pass it off as our own conscience/our own voice in our heads, the voice of Mom or Dad or something we heard a preacher say. What we don’t realize is that God speaks to us, all the time. It’s a matter of listening. At first Samuel, never having heard from the Lord, relied on the wisdom of the one raising him-Eli. Don’t we do this too? At the sound of the Lord, we run to those we know and trust and ask them what’s going on, instead of God. This isn’t really a bad thing. There are people we trust who have wisdom way beyond out years. It’s only natural to talk to them when things come up we don’t understand, or we want an opinion on if THEY think God is speaking to us. Ultimately, though, a continuing dialogue with God is the best way to grow discernment. We learn to hear His voice better when we familiarize ourselves with it, when we talk with Him more and listen to Him more.

It’s only when Samuel answers the Lord for himself that the Lord can begin to do His work in the boy. And the same for us. While it’s not necessarily bad to talk to our pastor or parents or trusted leaders about what we think God is speaking to us on-or even to ask if He speaks at all-the best way to figure out what’s going on is to respond directly. God wants us each to have our own personal relationship and dialogue with Him. Fellowship is always great! But when we rely on others to discern what God wants to tell us Himself, that’s not so great. Like Samuel, we each need to come to that point where we say “speak, your servant is listening”.
Then what happens?
When we are willing to listen, God continues to speak. Verse 21 says that God continued to speak to Samuel, and his words always came true-people knew Samuel as a righteous prophet of the Lord. But that started because Samuel listened to God. When God sees that we are willing to listen, He’ll begin to pour into us and speak to us more-and we can watch those life-giving words pour out into the world around us.

In order to be a man after God’s own heart, I need to be His. I need to have my own personal relationship with Him, my own time with Him, daily; and when He speaks I need to come rest at His feet and listen.
Speak, Lord. Your servant Michael is listening.

I Want To Be: Humble (A Study On David)

“He will protect his faithful ones,
but the wicked will disappear in darkness.
No one will succeed by strength alone.
10  Those who fight against the Lord will be shattered.
He thunders against them from heaven;
the Lord judges throughout the earth.
He gives power to his king;
he increases the strength of his anointed one.”
-1 Samuel 2: 9-10

This is part of a song of praise that Hannah was singing as she rejoiced over the birth of her son. The next part of the chapter talks about the wickedness of Eli’s sons. (Eli was taking care of Samuel). At first, it doesn’t seem relevant. But when you look closely you see that the rest of the chapter outlines exactly what Hannah was praising God for. The Lord is a God that works through people who are humble, who are in low places; broken vessels. Even Jesus entered the world and worked humbly before God. Philippians 2:5-8 shows us why:

5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
6 Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
8 and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Jesus came as the lowest of the low. The Bible speaks of Him being even ugly to look at. He was nothing, as far as man standards. And that made Him able to do God’s work.
This isn’t to say we should go out of our way to be outcasts, to look different, to be “set apart”. Just living for Christ will automatically change our attitudes and how people see us. What we should do is just be HUMBLE in all that we do-we need to adopt an attitude of humility, to be gracious in all we do. It means not being prideful, not taking any glory for ourselves, even when we do great things. All glory goes to God. When we are in this way of living-giving God all possible praise, and being broken and willing to be used by Him-then He will use us. It’s when we begin to think we are something useful that we become useless. Eli’s sons thought they were the best of the best, but they end up dying horribly. Pride will kill us spiritually too, in terrible ways.

In order to be a man after God’s own heart, I need to be continually humbled before Him.  I want to be used by God-not for any glory of my own, but because I want to see Gods outpouring in my school and city and nation.

I Want to Be: Dedicated (A Study on David)

I have decided to do a study on the life of David, and the surrounding contexts. I’ll be starting from the beginning, with the birth of the prophet Samuel. In the coming weeks I’ll be posting the things I learn from what I read each day. Some may be short, some long. Each study will look at a different aspect of what I want to be, with the end result being I want to be a man after God’s own heart-like David.

“27 I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. 28 Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they[a] worshiped the Lord there.”
1 Samuel 1:27-2

In the same way, we ask the Lord for new life. When He grants it to us, we need to ask: are we willing to give it back to Him? Are we truly ready to walk away from the life we used to live completely?
The answer, hopefully, is yes. 
And while the struggle to do so may be very hard, and very real, the answer needs to REMAIN yes so that God can continue to pour into us-so we can continue to pour out to others. 
I thought of this illustration earlier this week: the water bottle v.s. the water fountain. 

You can be one or the other. The water bottle and fountain are both full of water. What’s the difference? The bottle, while full, is capped. It can be poured out for the benefit of others, to be sure. But once it’s empty it remains empty. Then there’s the fountain. It has a continuous flow of water coming INTO it, resulting in a continuous flow OUT of it. If we get content as Christians, we cap the bottle. This results in an eventual spiritual dryness that can be devastating. But if we continually give ourselves to Christ-all of our life-then He can continually work through us and bless others. 

So, first things first: In order to be a man after God’s own heart, I need to be continually dedicating myself to Him. Like Hannah, I need to give this new life in Christ completely back to Him. 

Communication Improvement Plan! Day 0: The Intro.

Hello! This little side blog is for my Intro to Interpersonal Communication class this semester. I’m going to be taking a look at a specific communication skill that I need to work on, and document my progress over the next few weeks as I seek to better myself. It’ll be an interesting introspective look into who I am, and why I do some of the things I do.

The Problem: I don’t always think before I speak. I have a terrible habit of putting my foot in my mouth; saying things that have a completely unintended consequence or meaning. I don’t ever try to hurt people, but I always seem to. For example, just recently some of the things said to my girlfriend almost threatened to end our relationship. I had simply misunderstood her and replied with that misunderstanding in mind-I had no thought as to how the things I said would affect her. I didn’t step back and make sure I had all the right information. I just jumped right in. I do this a lot more than I would like. I have really bad problems communicating my emotions.

The Goal: The goal is for me to take a look at myself, and figure out why it is that I have such problems communicating in general. It’s hard for me to get my point across-especially in an emotional context-and I’d like to figure out why and see if I can stop it.

The Details: I run into stressful situations all the time, where I want to jump to conclusions about things right away. Every time one comes up,
*1*I’m going to be quiet for a minute or two.
*2*I’m going to think through what I could say bad/wrong, and
*3*think through what I really want to communicate in that particular situation.
*4*Then I will speak, and be calm and thoughtful.

The Measuring Stick: I suppose I’ll only know that I’m doing good because I know myself. I will make it clear, however, if I succeed in any particular scenario-or if I fail.

I hope you all enjoy this! 🙂

~Michael Wright, Jr.

A Psalm of…Everything, Really.

Lord, I just thank you for all the marvelous wonders that you do, and for the marvelous unfathomable wonder that you are. 
You are a God who is more than loving; you ARE Love.
You are a God who does more than forgive; you ARE Mercy.
You are a God who is more than just perfect; You ARE Holiness, and Justice.

Lord, who is there that can compare to You?
Can material wealth, and things, ever amass the riches that your Kingdom possesses?
Can sex and pornography and lust fill me, 
when the touch from your Spirit sends my mind reeling and my heart bursting with Your joy and love?
Can I escape from the world in alcohol and drugs as well as in the worship of my King?
To whom else can I pour out the depths of my soul, only to have You know my every cry before it happens?
And yet STILL you hear my cry;
you lift me from the depths and put me on your solid ground. 

I cry out to the Holy One, “Save me!”And You are there. 
I cry out, “Forgive me! I am a sinner. I’m not worthy of Your love” And Your blood spills over my forehead, washing me clean. 
The Gospel is not foolishness to me, but I believe with everything I am that it is the power of God. 

Let me proclaim Your name to the nations!
Let me shout it from the rooftops, a cry from the depths of my soul
that the world may know Your precious name,
and what You did for them. 
Let them be in awe at Your death,
and let them be shouting for joy at the news that
Christ is risen from the dead,
seated at the right hand of the Father!
Death will have died at the end of the age,
and I will sing the praises of my Lord and Savior 
forever and ever.
Amen.