I cry when I hear my almost 13 year-old grandson's changing voice,
or when I say the pledge of allegiance to the US Flag,
or hear the National Anthem.
I also tear up when I see a recent photo of my new grand baby wearing a sweater I made for her when she was born.
I know I wear my reactions on my sleeves. I wouldn't do it, or I couldn't do it, gamble, that is, because I've been told all my life that I wouldn't be good as a poker player, my face is too easy to read. But I'm not sure I agree 100%.
I know that I keep a lot inside, don't voice it or show it. But I've learned through the years that as long as I recognize those things that confront me, shock me, stop me in my tracks, challenge me, surprise me or break me, all the while aware that each are different ways God can teach me, if I purposefully let my reactions be pure, I'm the victor.
I learned a hard lesson about my reactions in my early 30's. As a guest in a stranger's home I was complaining about my new boss. After a great deal of drama, causing much discomfort on the part of our hostess, it was revealed that my new boss was her relative. I was so devastated, humbled and ashamed. I apologized and the conversation turned. I received wise counsel, heeded it, and was handed a little booklet, "Your Reactions are Showing."
The booklet was an in depth study of Joseph, in the Bible. His coat of many colors, his favor from his parents, his dreams and how he handled them, and of course his brothers and the antics that nearly cost Joseph his life. Instead of living his dreams the way he interpreted them, he was left for dead, lied about, sold as a slave, became a prisoner, accused wrongly, promised freedom and forgotten.
The story goes into great detail in the book of Genesis, but in chapter 45 Joseph has the opportunity to react well, maturely and with grace: verses 4-8 “Come closer to me,” Joseph said to his brothers. They came closer. “I am Joseph your brother whom you sold into Egypt. But don’t feel badly, don’t blame yourselves for selling me. God was behind it. God sent me here ahead of you to save lives. There has been a famine in the land now for two years; the famine will continue for five more years—neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me on ahead to pave the way and make sure there was a remnant in the land, to save your lives in an amazing act of deliverance. So you see, it wasn’t you who sent me here but God. He set me in place as a father to Pharaoh, put me in charge of his personal affairs, and made me ruler of all Egypt." The Message
There it is. His reaction to his brothers who, well, the list of wrongs is very long. Life and his deceiving brothers had not been fair to Joseph, but Joseph's reaction is the whole story.
So now, when I remember, life isn't fair, and people don't think, and disappointments are always lurking; I also remember, I must control my reactions.
My secret? I pray a blessing over the offender. Not immediately and not 100% of the time, sometimes I have to process it a few minutes, or hours or even days, occasionally, but as soon as I get in a frame of mind that allows me to bless the offender, I'm FREE!!
I like it when my reactions show!!
September 6, 2012