Sunday, April 27, 2008

Reflecting On "Responsible For Our Own Responses"

As you all know, I haven’t been online or blogging much for a variety of reasons. Everyone knows about my Grandma’s passing, my trip to South Carolina, and some of you even know more than that. Needless to say, I have been busy and not around much. I still don’t know how much I will be around, but blogging has always been a good outlet for me and it’s something I will continue to do here and there.

So, as I was reflecting about blogging, I thought of a past blog I wrote last December. It came to my mind last Wednesday as I was having a conversation with a helpful friend at church. I thought of it because we were talking about human behavior; self behavior as well as other peoples‘ behavior. She was saying that the only people we can control is ourselves (though, sadly, there are those that seem to have NO self-control - myself included at times!). Also, we can’t control other peoples’ behavior or responses. Sometimes, we expect certain responses or reactions from someone, and when we don’t get what we were hoping for, that sets us off in one way or another. But why? We can’t control another person’s feelings, thoughts, or actions. We can’t (and shouldn’t) live our lives based on assumptions, expectations, and false impressions that we make up in our minds about someone or something else. After all, why create extra stress for ourselves by attempting to control people/things that we can‘t?

In my life thus far, I have had my share of conflicts, difficult people, and circumstances. I hope that as I continue living life, I will improve more and more as I learn how to deal with people and things that come my way. God only knows how hard I try to adequately and nicely deal with the things that I am confronted with. Sometimes I do well, and sometimes I don’t. I’m human and I do make mistakes. Though, through it all, I strive to continue being “me.” My prayer is that both the good and the bad will make me a better person and that the “bad” things that come my way won’t change me for the worse. I have learned how to have compassion for those who behave badly and I pray for them diligently as my prayer life has increased over the past year. I have also learned how to handle bad behavior much better. As my friend has shown me, I cannot control anyone’s bad behavior through my own responses. How they behave is their problem, not mine. I’m responsible for my own self and how I respond, and if others choose to react badly (even when my responses are positive) that is out of my hands. I don’t always have to explain and defend myself to others. My life and my heart is its own defense and if I get misinterpreted, there‘s nothing I can really do to change another person‘s mentality or the way they filter and analyze things.

The things that people (or even Satan) think or say about me doesn’t matter so long as I am confident and secure with who I am as a unique and beautiful child of God. I am defined by the truth of God’s Word and what I know myself to be, and no amount of judgment, condemnation, negativity, lies, or anything else from any person or demon can erase the essence of who I am as a person and child of God!! Jesus knew this concept well. When the Pharisees accused him and lied about Him, he didn’t have to argue or defend Himself. Anyone that knew Jesus already knew who He really was and what was true and what were lies. There was no need for Jesus to try to convince his accusers of what they consistently refused to believe. They were under the influence of their own pride, arrogance, and Satan’s influence. Blinded people who are under the yoke of bondage cannot see the truth until they have surrendered, repented, and received deliverance. Jesus knew that. Likewise, we must also realize that there are people like that in our lives that have that same attitude and behavior. Some don’t even know they have it. Regardless, we are to have compassion on them and pray for them, because they are living lives of confusion, unhappiness, and misery. I know countless people who are in this state of being, and I pray daily for their eyes to be opened, their bondages to be broken, and that through humility and repentance, they will receive the deliverance that they desperately need. Like I’ve constantly reiterated, “surrender is a lifestyle.” Every day when I spend time with God, I surrender to Him, repent of any and all things I can think of, ask him to forgive me, and to empty me out and fill me with Him and the fruits of His Spirit. It’s a beautiful thing, and it always renews and refreshes me.

My prayer is that I can learn how to deal with people/circumstances in the best way possible and according to one’s needs and spiritual level. With God as my guide, I’m getting better at it. I am even learning when NOT to speak. ;) LOL (IMAGINE THAT!! LOL). It’s hard to bite my tongue sometimes, but that is often the best way of dealing with things when you know that no amount of words is going to make a person understand anything. In those cases, silence is best and all you can do is pray. Then, in other circumstances, a few (or more than a few) words are necessary. The Holy Spirit helps with discernment, and when I listen to God and not my flesh, things always work out so much better!!! Thank you God for always helping me!! Help me to choose your ways and not my own and thank you for teaching me when to speak and when not to speak. I still need work, but I’m getting there!! LOL

Anyways, sorry that this is one of my longer blogs. But, hey…..I’ve had a lot of build-up over the last few weeks. LOL It was bound to happen!! Ok, so here is the blog I was speaking about. It’s a real-life experience explaining everything I was referencing. I thought it was worth re-posting because we all need reminded of how GOD is in control……not US!! Re-reading it blessed my heart all over again my prayer is that it will bless you too!! GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU!! OXOXO

**********

December 06

Responsible For Our Own Responses

I was uptown today taking a few pictures of the Christmas decorations (and nativity scene) today when I recognized an acquaintance of mine. She looked a little sad and upset. I watched as she walked down the street and then sat down on the step of a local business.

By that time, I had walked back to the van and sat there for a moment. My heart was troubled and I felt like I should say something to her. I didn’t want to waste an opportunity if God was giving me a chance to help someone, so I ventured out to see if there was some way I could comfort her. I wasn’t sure how she would receive it, but the last time I had reached out to her when she was in need, she had accepted my help.

I went up to her and sat beside her for a moment and asked how she was. I got the standard “fine” response. She didn’t look fine to me. I told her I wanted to make sure she was ok and asked if there was anything she needed. She snapped and insisted that she was fine and that I was bugging her. So, I just politely said that I considered her a friend and that I only wanted to see if there was anything I could do for her. Then, I stood up and said, “Merry Christmas” and walked away.

As I sat in the van, I felt stupefied. I wondered if I had had any business trying to do anything in the first place. Was it God or was it me that wanted to talk to her? Had I forced myself into doing something that I wasn’t meant to do in the first place? It certainly wasn’t in my “comfort zone” to begin with, so one would think it was God prompting me to talk to her. Well, I was a little confused, hurt, and even a tad angry. I guess one feels that when something like that comes about (and being the Christmas season) people are just going to respond well and accept your good-natured spirit and everything will work out just like in some kind of sentimental Christmas special. Obviously, that wasn‘t the case this time.

So, after I uttered some prayers for her, I pulled out of the parking space and headed for home. All the while, I was teary eyed and even a little blown away as I listened to the announcer on the Christian radio station talk about living for Christ by loving people and doing good for others. Now I was the one who felt like snapping and saying, “Are you kidding me?!! Geez!! I just tried that and it didn’t do a bit of good!”

As a thought about it a little more, I realized that it couldn’t possibly have been a waste. You never know what impact you make; even if it seems like there is none at all. And, besides the fact, I felt like God impressed upon me that “How you respond is your responsibility. How THEY respond is theirs.”

As I thought about it, it also hit me that Jesus didn’t always get favorable responses from everyone either. People snapped at Jesus too. It’s not that God’s message is ineffective (because it’s NOT!) it’s just up to the receiver what they want to do: accept or reject it.
I am only responsible for my own response to God’s heart. I’ll do my part, God will do His, and everyone else is responsible for their own reaction to what God is telling them. I’ll do my best to be obedient and act upon what God lays on my heart, but the results are up to God because it’s not in my control. So whether this blog touches anyone or not isn’t my responsibility. God does all the touching of hearts; not me or anything I say, do, or write. All I have to worry about is touching God’s heart; just like the Jeremy Camp song “Give You Glory” talks about. So, here’s to hoping that God touches your heart!! God bless you!!

No comments: