Monday, July 19, 2010

Better or Bitter?

Do you ever wonder how different certain situations would be if only your response would've been better? I think about this a lot. One of my biggest struggles is my reaction to the negative/frustrating/ unfair things that come my way.

It may sound a bit ridiculous, but it's true. I can sometimes be too passionate about things, and instead of being a sane Christian woman I sometimes respond with an abundance of anger, annoyance, and frustration.

Well, Mr. Rick Warren has done it again. The email devotional I received from his ministry yesterday struck a major chord. You see, the title was "Influential Thoughts" and the focus scripture was "Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts." (Proverbs 4:23)

It went a little something like this:

My interpretation influences my situation -
It's not what happens to me that matters as much as how I choose to see it. The way I react will determine whether the circumstance makes me better or bitter. I can view everything as an obstacle or an opportunity for growth - a stumbling block or a stepping stone.

My beliefs influence my behavior -
We always act according to our beliefs, even when those ideas are false. For instance, as a child, if you believed a shadow in your bedroom at night was a monster, your body reacted in fear (adrenaline and jitters) even though it wasn't true. That's why it's so important to make sure you are operating on true information! Your convictions about yourself, about life, and about God influence your conduct.

My self-talk influences my self-esteem -
We constantly talk to ourselves. Do you run yourself down with your self-talk? Stop doing that: "As he thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7 NKJV).


I've known for a long time that my reactions and responses are not the best, and in fact they quite often make matters worse. Yet I continue to allow the worst of me to come out. The part that really stood out the most was "The way I react will determine whether the circumstance makes me better or bitter. I can view everything as an obstacle or an opportunity for growth - a stumbling block or a stepping stone."

Am I better or bitter after my response? It's that simple. My hubby is seriously one of the best "better" people that I know. He could be flicked off while driving, elbowed in the face, or yelled at by a stranger and he always responds in a Christ-like manner. To be honest It's kind of annoying because I wish I could be like this, (love you baby!) but I am so proud of him. I'm also jealous of his ability to always make situations better and not worse. He is always saying "What comes out when you're squeezed? If you fill yourself up with The Word, that is what will come out."

Not Lindsey, but God. When I am squeezed I need Him to consume my words. When I get frustrated and angry I need to take a breathe and try to make the situation better.

I am so thankful that I received this devotional. Life and death is in the power of the tongue and I definitely choose to speak life. I pray that this devotional helps those of you who struggle with this just like I do. It truly helped me remember that I do have control over my thoughts and words, and I don't want to be the "bitter" gal anymore. Let us be slow to speak and choose our thoughts and words carefully.


Staley Mc said...

This is a great post! What a great devotional!

Rachel Lillian said...

Lindsey, I SO needed this! You are totally right. The majority of the battle is in our own minds and I, unfortunately, have a tendency to over-analyze and view things inaccurately. When my thoughts and reason are grounded in His word, my thoughts and paths are much straighter. Thanks for the good word!

Mrs. Gentry said...

what a nice reminder...thanks for sharing! I often have to watch my words...and then I often am reminded that it's just as bad if I'm just thinking the thoughts in my head. I can be so incredibly patient with my students all day, but then so impatient with others. You're not alone int this! Hope you've had a wonderful day!

cait said...

So I accidentally just posted with my classroom webpage log-in.:)Just wanted to clarify so you weren't confused.

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