Saturday, February 11, 2006
"So, Like, How Am I Doing?"
Somewhere along the way I discovered some things, namely:
It ruins my day to get my feelings hurt about little things.
It takes a lot of concentration and energy to hold a grudge.
It requires too many idle words to gossip about how others treated me.
My life became so much better, sweeter and more peaceful when, instead of automatically getting upset with other people, I chose to ask God, "So, like, how am I doing?"
"Have I spent this whole day under a cloud because of what was said to me? Am I toying with becoming a recluse?"
"Was my verbal reaction to that criticism something you, Lord, would have said?"
"How about my emotional reaction? Are my feelings headed down, down into a spiral?"
"Am I considering sneaky retribution? Am I considering never trusting anyone again?"
"Am I learning the lessons I'm supposed to be learning through all this?"
I'm unable to even start telling you what a difference it's made to concentrate more on my own reactive behavior than others' shoddy behavior toward me.
And no, I'm not talking about wallowing in the mire of my own guilt and condemnation--heavens, no! If you want a guaranteed way of slowing down your spiritual progress, just dive into a big vat of guilt and condemnation. Just constantly feel bad about yourself and your weaknesses, like I talked about here.
No, I'm talking about switching what my eyes see. They used to see only the mistakes other people made, but now, I try to see where I, myself, am failing. Where I, myself, still need the improvement only God can bring.
And there is always something. Always some area which I need to let God change however He chooses. It then becomes up to me to listen to His correction, His wisdom and then walk in His ways. And that takes time and energy and obedience and dying to one's self. And I can't afford to waste all of that by staying mad and hurt and offended.
The fact? God gives me the power and energy to change, but He does not give me power to stay upset with people. So that's what wears me out.
The difference is like the blackest night and the most golden day. I cannot change others, but I can let God change me.
And there's enough hope in that to light strings and strings and strings of good days.
"Love hardly even notices when others do it wrong." 1 Corinthians 13:4
"One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life." Chinese Proverb