Taming My Passive-Aggressive Tongue

Husbands don’t understand the nuanced language of passive aggressive. I learned this last night.

After watching March Madness for most of the morning and afternoon with Brodie, and later watching the Jets take on the Capitals that evening, sports overload started to kick in. If you want a girl to watch a game with, I’m there, but this was starting to become a little too much. In an instant, I became upset. He was ignoring me! He cared about sports more than quality time with his wife!

I picked up my Kindle and stormed down to our bedroom. I was going to make a statement and he was going to know I was mad. He was going to be sorry for this!

Clearly, this was a strategy that had worked so well for me in the past…………….

After a few minutes Brodie came downstairs. “Honey, whatcha doing?”

“I’m reading.” Stone faced.

“You don’t want to watch hockey?”


“Would you like to do something instead?”

“No.” (Obviously, I did).

“Ok, I’ll let you read then!” And he bounced back upstairs.

DIDN’T HE KNOW I DIDN’T WANT TO WATCH HOCKEY AND I WANTED TO WATCH A MOVIE WITH HIM INSTEAD?! How could he be so dense? I had made it so obvious with my reading and my stone face.

Brodie continued to watch hockey, happy as a clam, and I stewed in our bedroom, trying to read. After a while he came back down, and my passive-aggressive nature corroded, turning into yelling and obvious frustration.

“How didn’t you know I wanted to watch a movie with you? Couldn’t you see I was mad??”

“Well, I know you like to read, so I thought that was making you happy.”

I continued to tell him how stupid he was for not understanding me, even though I never actually told him what was wrong. How didn’t he just know? I believe “get a clue” was used. It was one of my better moments, for sure.

In a way only my sweet Brodie can, he said, “Honey, I’m awesome if you just tell me what you want me to do. I made breakfast, swept the house, went to the gym with you, hung the hooks on the walls like you asked. I’ll do anything you want tonight, you just need to be straight with me.”

I instantly regretted what I had said and done. We had the perfect day together. He’d been the doting husband, as always. Things weren’t going the way I had envisioned for a few hours and I was a passive-aggressive mess, ruining our evening.

This morning, a pastor named Quincy spoke at our church. Upon turning to the passage that he intended to preach on, I timidly pointed at the title and whispered “Me” to Brodie. James 3:3-12, “Taming the Tongue.” Sometimes sermons speak to you in particularly profound ways. This one screamed at me. There might as well have been a flashing neon sign. James has a way of teaching in “short, metaphorical blasts” as Quincy called it. You can’t miss what he’s getting at. The passage reads:

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

I humbly write this blog post, showcasing my own inadequacy, in the hopes of teaching others to learn from my repeated shortcomings. It’s by God’s grace and my husband’s forgiveness that I am improving each day. I am slower to argue, accuse, ridicule and lash out in passive-aggressive anger than I used to, but I still have a long way to go. I pray that “He who began a good work in (me) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”


For any guy reading this: Brodie got to watch the Jets beat the Capitals and PVR’d the UFC fights, so everything turned out ok.



When God Tells Me to Write

I’m a writer. I write tweets, Facebook posts, e-blasts, newsletters, blogs, speeches, radio ads, annual reports and Bible studies. I’ve even helped write a book. I just love it.

I’ve often told others that writing and editing feels like solving a math equation. In what order do I need to arrange all of these words and punctuation to create the best possible outcome? Scrolling through my internal rolodex of synonyms comes quite naturally. Numbers don’t make sense to me, but words do. It’s always been that way.

Sometimes, God says to me, “Get up and start writing, ’cause I’m only going to tell you this once. You better get it all down.” Does this ever happen to you? Perhaps, it’s speaking, or moving, or acting in some way.

On the few occasions this has happened – most recently, when I was desperately trying to have a nap after church – my writing is more poetic, more emotional than ever. On days like these, writing is no longer a math equation, it’s an art. On days like these, I know what God designed me to do. How empowering!

Unfortunately, I can’t share with you what I wrote that one day during my interrupted nap time. It’s top secret (actually!). But, trust me, it was awesome.

Funny how that works, eh? When we allow God to come alongside us in all areas of our life, including our careers, we excel in a way we couldn’t imagine. He provides the inspiration. He provides the words.

What are we capable of when we follow the stirring in our hearts to get up and move, write, speak, act? 


Don’t Underestimate Junior High Girls

Earlier this month, I packed up my sleeping bag, pillow and winter boots, and headed up north to Muskoka Woods for Getaway – a junior high church retreat. I’m one of the leaders for my church‘s awesome junior high group, Endeavours. I was the only woman from my church going on the retreat and, to be honest, was a little anxious about what it would be like to live with a bunch of 12-13 year old girls for a weekend. All week, the girls were posting on my Facebook wall: “Rachel, we’re bringing candy!!!!” So, needless to say, I was anticipating not getting very much sleep. I love these girls, but I approached the weekend with a “Lord, please just help me survive this weekend” mentality.

I’m so pleased to say that God, through these girls, blessed me greatly and changed my perspective completely.

Over the course of the weekend, the kids sat in on four sessions filled with worship songs, fun games and a sermon from Aaron Ottaway. With my judgmental 27-year-old hat on, I began to wonder (aloud) if there were too many songs, if the sermons were too long, if the teaching was too deep or profound for our 11 to 13-year-old kids. If I was losing concentration, how could they possibly be grasping everything Aaron was saying? After the evening session was over on the Saturday night, we went back to our cabin. I had already decided that the small group questions I was to ask the girls would be poorly received. The girls would be tired. The girls wouldn’t want to talk about what they had learned – if they had learned anything. So, I lay their on my bunk and let the girls chat and eat junk food. After about 10 minutes of hanging out, one of them asked, “Weren’t we supposed to talk about the session and answer some small-group questions?” Promptly sitting up I replied, “Why yes….yes, we are. I guess we should do that now.”

“Girls, what did Aaron talk about this evening?” I asked. “This should be good,” I thought.

Then, to my surprise, they proceeded to succinctly outline everything Aaron had taught: our relationship with Jesus impacts what we worship and how we worship. We had a thoughtful discussion on what we might “worship” or give too much attention to: social media, our phones, popular teen fiction, make up, clothes and boys.

I guess my theory was wrong. They were paying attention, and they truly cared about what Aaron had to say.

Throughout the weekend, while – yes – my girls were loud and hopped up on sugar, they never complained about all the activities they had to participate in while rain and snow poured down. They ran through the mud at the giant swing, played rumble ball, learned how to do graffiti and made new friends. I never had to supervise them. They were always where they had to be, and on time, without me ever having to ask. To top it off, when I said “Lights out!” the lights went out. They were a youth leader’s dream.

Needless to say, they earned the chocolate bars we bribed them with. That’s Youth Leadership 101, isn’t it?

Then yesterday, I approached one of our youth who’s on her phone pretty often (about as often as me). Out of mild concern, I asked her, “Whatcha doing on your phone?”

I was preparing myself for: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or SnapChat.

“Writing a book,” was her calm response.


I learned that this Grade 8 girl spends most of her time engrossed in writing chapters of her mystery novel on her phone through WattPad for her avid followers to read. “My readers always message me asking to add another chapter because I’ve left them on a cliff hanger!”

Now, that’s a social media platform I can get behind!

Once again, I had underestimated junior high girls. Once again, they proved me wrong.

To the girls that attend my youth group and will likely read this blog: you mean more to me than you know. I am so proud of all of you. I couldn’t be more honoured that God has entrusted you to my care every Thursday night. Please continue to prove me wrong. Continue to be the fantastic young women God has made you to be.






My First Social Media Seminar

Social Media Seminar at Capstone Community Bible ChurchOn Wednesday, March 19, I hosted my first social media seminar. Capstone Community Bible Church was kind enough to promote this event and lend me the space to host the evening. I had seven eager attendees who listened attentively and asked pointed questions for over two hours. I spoke on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn – the social media platforms that I believe are most useful for a 25+ crowd. We covered everything from “What is social media?” to “How is social media effective for Capstone’s ministry?” to controlling what we see and how often we see it, to little tips ‘n’ tricks that make our life easier on Facebook. Leading this seminar was as much a learning experience for me as it was for my attendees.

Offering social media seminars and tutorials is something I’ve been dreaming up for over a year now. I only – just recently – got the courage to try it out. What a positive response I have received! It turns out I’ve tapped into a need that isn’t being met. My parents’ generation (late social media adopters) is keen to learn about social media, but doesn’t know where to start. My peers are launching businesses and know how social media works for their personal use, but don’t know how to develop effective strategies and tactics for their start-ups.

I’m now developing many more social media seminars and private tutorials for all types of individuals and organizations:

1) Developing a personal brand for MMA and BJJ athletes (for real!)
2)  Privacy, security, anti-bullying and how-tos for pre-teens and teens – this will be piloted at Capstone for their Endeavours Jr. High and Lifesavers Sr. High youth groups
3)  Social media strategies for entrepreneurs and non-profits
4) Facebook Page how-tos
5) Setting up a LinkedIn account

I’m very excited to see where this dream will take me. If you’re interested in attending one of my seminars, or would like me to lead you in a one-on-one tutorial, don’t hesitate to contact me at rachel_mckee@rogers.com