Choosing to control my reactions.

21 Aug

I briefly noted in my last post that we have the choose to react happy, loving and kind even when the situations naturally leave us feeling sad, hurt, annoyed, or angry.

Let me first say that emotions are a gift from God.  We know that God Himself tells us numerous time in scripture that He felt all kinds of emotions.  He felt pleasure, satisfaction, joy, sadness, anger and jealousy to name a few.

Having emotions is not wrong or sinful in any way.  However, when we allow our emotions to define reality, truth and our reactions … that’s when we get into trouble.

Just because I feel something, does not mean it’s true.

There are times when I feel annoyed that people are not on time.  My natural reaction is to assume they are completely unconcerned with my time and don’t appreciate me enough to put the effort in to be on time.  That may or may not be true.  (Some people really are selfish in this way) HOWEVER, that may not always be the case.  There are times when something has come up, when a personal issue is happening in their life that they are unable to share so they cover with a blanket apology about being late, or when they legitimately got behind and are truly sorry for the inconvenience it caused me.

If I follow my gut reaction, I might damage the relationship.  I might think negative thoughts about the person that just continue to grow with every further interaction as I *assume* automatic ill intentions and feed my judgmental nature.  When I feel hurt and abused, I became less of a friend and wind up hurting the person right back. I am tempted and will often accuse the other person of wrong-doing and grow hard-hearted and unwilling to offer grace, mercy or even accept the response I’m given if it feels like they aren’t owning what I’m positive they are guilty of doing.  When that person feels wrongly accused, they either put up walls or they attack back.  Before we know it, we’re mad, fighting, bitter, unforgiving, and left with a broken relationship.

I’m using a pretty safe analogy here so everyone can relate, but stop and take a few minutes to put your own real life scenarios in here and see if this pattern doesn’t hold true.

– He intends to treat me like the maid.

– She doesn’t trust me.

– He thinks it’s fine to take advantage of me.

– She thinks I don’t do anything.

– He doesn’t care about my feelings at all.

– She wants to control me.

– He is so selfish.

– She is so critical.

Our feelings are meant to be a guide.  When we experience hurt, sadness, anger, jealousy or any other “negative” emotion – it’s a sign to us that there is a problem.

But this is where the choice comes in to play.  Will you choose to believe that “the other person is the problem and it’s intentional?” Or will you choose to believe that “there is a misunderstanding and it’s most likely accidental?”

That one question will give you the power to control your reactions.  IF – and this is a BIG IF – you’re willing to stop, ask, and choose to act on the true answer.

It’s MUCH easier to be happy, kind, patient, and loving when I’m fully believing that even if something hurt me, it wasn’t intentional and I can calmly (without accusation) state my feelings, which almost always results in the other person being remorseful for unintentionally hurting my feelings and puts something in place to keep from doing it again.  Where if I accuse and attack, I rarely get an apology and we often end up in the same cycle of the same hurts!

Practical Application –

Maybe it’s time today to evaluate some of our negative reactions and ask ourselves is we possibly allowed ourselves to react to our emotions based on assumption – or if we allowed our emotions to be a guide to the right questions and put in the effort to uncover the truth.

** I’m guilty and needed this post  for myself today.  I reacted without pausing to answer the question last night – and worse of all, I thought about asking myself the question and decided I didn’t feel like it.  Guess what… today, I’m disappointed I didn’t stop and ask the question and trust the true answer.  I’m needing to repent today.

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4 Responses to “Choosing to control my reactions.”

  1. respectthyhusband August 21, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    I struggle with this on many occasions, I struggle with this mainly when I’m cooking dinner and my husband isn’t home when I think he should be from the time he called to let me know to start cooking. I get upset, because maybe he’s at a friends house and he’s continued to talk to them instead of heading home as he said. I feel like I’m not as important at times, and not to mention he inner demons babbling in my head during this time. But I can say with God by my side I can do anything, he has helped calm me on many occassions. I know that I’m the most important person in my husbands life next to God. But my flesh tends to get the best of me sometimes, they say light and dark can’t exist together. I say it does, the light of our soul is in constant struggle with the darkness of our flesh. Light will always conqour the darkness. God Bless, Thank you for sharing this post.

    • Kayla Gulick August 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

      I TOTALLY relate to those feelings of wondering how important I really am — or if he really cares about me when it seems like in my mind he’s do xyz at exactly this certain time in this certain way. I mean, that’s what’d *I’d* do, so he should do.

      It’s been hard for me to accept that men are NOT women, and they do things so differently. They simply don’t think or value the same things as we do in the same ways, and that doesn’t mean they have ill intentions.

      Thank you for sharing! It’s so good to know we have other women to walk this road together!!

  2. respectthyhusband August 21, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

    They are definitely different, but in a good way. It’s hard to understand them at times, mainly because us as women run off emotions. And once a month I must say they are even harder to understand, lol. Even though it’s us going through the rough time, we tend to think something is wrong with them. I’m right beside you on this bumpy road of emotions, I pray God gives us the strength we need to stay strong and to move forward in Our journey to be respectful wives.

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