The dictionary defines reaction as behaving with hostility, opposition or contrary course of action. Interestingly, the definition of response is replying or answering in words or action. The differences are subtle but important. How many times have you caught yourself reacting to your spouse, kids or co-workers rather than responding? Have you reacted with words like: “What kind of grades are theses? Why can’t you pull it together?” or “Yeah. Well. Life isn’t fair” or “I’m done”? Instead of responding with comments such as: “You seem to be struggling with your studies. Let’s see if we can figure something out” or “I know the situation isn’t what you would like. Do you want to talk about it?” or “I’m frustrated right now. I’m gonna take a time out”. Choosing to respond rather than react is tough. It requires self-control over our thoughts and our tongues. But the reduction in tears and tension, broken hearts and broken relationships is worth the effort of learning how to build that self-discipline.
Here are a few quick tips to help you respond.
- Deep breaths really do help reduce tension. Take time to breathe deeply and collect your thoughts BEFORE speaking.
- Take a personal time out. This can give you time to really think about what you want or need and how to deliver that with care and compassion.
- Walk a mile in their How might your child, spouse or co-worker be feeling in this circumstance? Examining other perspectives often changes our own.
If you find you are still struggling with angry responses and would like to talk it through, give us a call.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call 1-800-273-8255
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 NASB)
We got a brick. Not just any brick but a special brick. Some of you may have done the same thing. It was the Summer Olympics of 1996. It was a fundraising opportunity for the Olympics and you could inscribe anything you wanted on this brick, as long as it was no more than 10 characters. The brick is still there in Centennial Park. What do you put on a brick that’s going to have your name and a phrase on it for decades to come?
We thought about “You ‘da man!” but it took too many spaces, besides I think that one’s been used before. Then we thought of abbreviating. MGIAAG “My God is an awesome God,” but only my wife Janet and I would’ve known what it meant. Then, only Janet would’ve known what it meant because, with my great memory, I would have forgotten.
We decided on Carpe Diem; short sweet and to the point. Isn’t that God’s desire for us, to seize the day? As I write this, several friends and friends of friends have died quite suddenly. One friend’s mother died at a restaurant. Another friend died quite suddenly of cancer leaving behind a wife and child. My sweet sister recently died in a car accident. You never know.
It’s got me thinking, how am I doing having that abundant life? Am I seizing the day? In our counseling situations, we often run into individuals that are paralyzed because of their past or are afraid of failure to the point they don’t move forward. I must admit, at times I struggle with the same issues. How many days, weeks, or even years are wasted because we are waiting for the right sequence of events to fall in place, to ensure success and not a failure? The reference in John says, “I came so that you might have life”. What does it mean to you to have a life? How would you define the second half of that verse, “to live it abundantly”?
Sometimes we’re so busy looking for that right sequence of events for that 100% guarantee, that we miss God speaking to us through the body of Christ. God has a plan for each of us. We are each gifted in unique and special ways. I believe part of having that abundant life is exercising those gifts He has given us.
What keeps you from seizing the day? For many of us it’s schedules and routines. We spend the majority of our time surviving, living from paycheck to paycheck trying to make ends meet. I believe one of the greatest ways that Satan undermines the family is through our schedules. It’s like that old story, “How do you boil a frog?” You put it in cold water and gradually turn the temperature up. As a result, the frog doesn’t notice the temperature change, but if you drop it in hot water, it’ll hop right out. I think in some ways, we’re the same. We’re ready for the frontal attacks of alcohol, drugs, pornography, etc. But we are not ready for the slow, gradual ways that our family can be undermined through our schedules and being overly committed.
Perhaps you have the same struggle that I do at times. How can I listen to the voice of God, if I’m not being still? Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” In closing, let me encourage you to examine your schedules and your life. Are you too busy, are you able to listen to God, are you able to be still?
Keith Niager LCSW