How many times do we act instead of react?
What I mean is, how many times we go on auto pilot and just snap at what we heard, saw or experienced?
I am guilty of doing that time and time again. Now I pay more attention to what happens and think before I speak. My kids will testify that my fuse used to be quite short.
Now…I have changed a bit. They are getting use to the change still. My son had an incident this past week and he was almost in tears because of how scared he was of what my reaction was going to be. Which was completely different from what he expected. Instead of blowing up, I asked questions and got answers.
Does it take work? Sure. However, instead of blowing up, stop for a second and think about how you would feel if you were at the receiving end of your explosion. Would you enjoy it? Would you learn something from it? Would it make you a better person for having received such a blast of choice words?
So, before I start to react now days, I think it through and the choice of words is way different.
If you have kids around you, things are going to break, disappear, be mangled or show up missing pieces. When we let go of the ownership of things, we do much better. The way I see it, God allowed us to be stewards over his stuff for the time we have it. In Brazil we have a saying; “coffins don’t have drawers.” Meaning, when we die, we can’t take anything with us. Our spirit and our knowledge is all we’ve got. So, when this ownership thing is clear, we can react a lot less. The Lord knew it was going to be broken, disappear, be mangled or show up missing pieces. What I do with what happened is important. Are things more important than people?
How about when people say something that goes all the way to the bottom of your heart and takes a piece of it? Is it ok to hurt them just as much as they hurt me? Of course not. Does it do any good? Does it make things better? I don’t think so.
I am learning day in and day out. It gets easier as it becomes a habit. Instead of “shoot…aim” phylosophy, I am more of “stop, look, aim and then shoot back something good.”
And you know what else? It actually empowers you when you act instead of reacting to whatever happens to you. It frees you from guilt, resentment, anger and pain.
My invitation to you today is that you think about things as they happen and take charge, give back something that is not a reaction, give back something that enlightens the situation, that takes the tension away, that brings peace into contention. Give it a try. It is amazing what it does to your heart!