Ever struggle to get dish soap out of a water bottle that has a narrow opening? I used to use so much water swishing, swirling, dumping over and over and over again–just to be frustrated that it only seemed like the water would run out, leaving the suds behind, trapped in the bottle. One day I saw my mother- in-law solve this problem by simply overflowing the bottle until the suds were gone.
Ever try really hard to stop being afraid? It doesn’t seem to work very well–in fact it seems like fear can lead to a downward spiral that only gets worse the more you try to stop. I think displacement is a much more powerful force than merely “trying to stop.” What are the most central and powerful displacement practices available? The first I’ll mention is love–because the Bible blatantly states that love drives away fear. The Bible teaches us to love our enemies. Sounds pretty hard. How? It starts by praying for them. Second, is thanksgiving. It’s hard to maintain a grumbling attitude when you’re actively doing the work of being specifically thankful. Third, is curiosity. Curiosity is a shortcut to empathy–which is especially needed when we are experiencing all the negative emotions that can accompany conflict. It’s hard to be angry with someone when you are genuinely curious enough to consider their point of view.