Life is Full of Surprises

Some surprises are welcome, and some are not. When things happen that are unexpected, how will we respond?  Response is the issue isn’t it?

Unfortunately, much of the time we react, as opposed to respond. What’s the difference?

Everyone has had those moments when they acted without thinking. A person’s child was running at the pool, and they fell and hit their head. The frightened parent starts yelling at the child. A coworker makes a teasing comment about how tired a person must be after hosting a family reunion. The person snaps something insulting back because they actually spent all weekend fighting with their father. A person comes home to find that their new puppy has chewed up the couch. They start screaming at the dog.When a person acts without thinking, they are reacting. They do not think about the long term consequences of their actions or how their reaction will effect those around them. Reactions are normally defensive. People who are reacting often feel, at least subconsciously, like they are either at a disadvantage or at the least, uncomfortable.

They snap at coworkers who accidentally stepped on their insecurities. They get angry at their children for accidentally breaking things, or they use anger to cover up the fact that they were frightened and helpless when their child got hurt. Such reactions are natural, but they are emotionally driven and can easily hurt those around the person. Even though they are understandable, reactions often do more harm than good in the long run. 

If a person thinks through the consequences of their actions before doing anything, they are responding. When a person responds, they are still spurred to action by an external event. They proactively decide to do something. They are answering another person’s actions with their own. Responding is far more logically driven than reacting. 

Reactions and responses can also lead to the same actions, but the motivations may be wildly different.

Responding instead of reacting is obviously easier said than done, but this intentional behavior will help a person cut down noticeably on regrets and face the world with a more centered mind and a greater sense of control. They will be less likely to feel as if they are at the mercy of outside forces because, even though they cannot control what happens, they can control what they do in response.  

James 1:2-4 The Message (MSG)

Faith Under Pressure

2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

BH/ Source: Beliefnet

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