Have you had a hard day? I can so identify with that, except not only have I had a difficult day, mine turned into a week, then a month. Challenging would be the word to describe it. One strange event after another has happened. I would call them coincidences, but it has almost like a little gremlin (if I believed in them) has been following me around causing one little calamity after another, for not just a few days but a month. It is almost laughable; however I still have had to solve repeated issues.
Isn’t it like life to do that? You are rolling along day after day, just thinking life is grand and then wham, the challenges keep on coming. It is almost like you have an audience waiting to see how you will respond. In reality, we actually do have people watching us, waiting and observing our reactions or responses. I make a distinction between these two for a reason. I like to say that a reaction is a reflex, like a knee jerk, an automatic movement to a trigger; the first thing that just blurts out of your mouth or a physical action that can be quite unbecoming. A response is more considered, thought out. It often comes following pondering the issue or Prayer to our Lord for Higher Wisdom.
Reactions are seen daily on our roadways, in grocery checkout lines, walking down the street, on buses and subways. Road rage is reactionary. We are often the victims of reactions. They leave us cringing and uneasy and even fear filled.
Responses are vastly different. They may be preceded by silence, sometimes by hurt looks, but seldom more than that. Responses do not always take days to manufacture. It is a challenge presented to us to refrain from giving into the reflex action of our flesh.
If we can look at it as a test and not an assault, we have made the first step to overcoming it. What do we rely upon when presented with such a problem? If we solely trust our instincts, we will likely fall and fail. I find that I can only surmount the obstacle by looking at the issue through God’s eyes. He is the only one who truly knows all the things affecting the situation. He alone has the Wisdom with which to deal with it. In our limited perspective and perception, we will always have incomplete understanding and thus faulty reactions. Stopping for a moment and asking the Lord for Wisdom will never be a waste of time. The Holy Spirit is always ready to provide insight not readily available by observing the outward appearance of a circumstance. Based on His Wisdom, He is always ready to Provide that little extra we need to respond with Compassion and Love.
The next time you experience a challenge, or series of challenges, pause and Ask the Lord for Guidance before you say a word or do anything. It takes but a moment, but it can save you tremendous grief. Like they say when finding you are on fire (in reality or figuratively), "stop, drop and roll." Stop your flesh from reacting. Drop your preconceived notions. Roll the care of it onto the Lord. He will Provide Wisdom, Understanding and Discernment and often a gentle word or action to diffuse the situation. We do not need to have all the answers when our Lord has all the Answers we will ever need. Just ask and He will Respond for us and through us.
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Judith Utman is the author of Voices in the Wilderness.