Susan yelled at the kids. She didn’t like doing it but it seemed to be happening a lot lately. She sat down for a cup of coffee after supper. A Bible verse on the back of a magazine that was with today’s mail caught her eye.
“A soft answer turns away anger but harsh words stir it up.”
She thought about her own responses lately. She knew she often used the stirring spoon of harsh words and raised voice and needed help to put a soft response in its place. She knew she needed to be firm at times but with a gentleness that God could give her.
We need to keep our focus on modelling Christian character, yet we are all dealing with daily life and its challenges too.
Here is a simple exercise that can help us move from “reacting” in our own lives and circumstances to “responding” in the character of Jesus.
Grab a child’s hula-hoop, stand in the middle of it and hold it around your waist. There…that circle that surrounds you represents your area of control. It is your own thoughts, your feelings, your ideas, your passions, your decisions, your words, all that you are responsible for.
Now envision a second larger circle outside the hula-hoop. This is the circle that represents other people’s thoughts, emotions, decisions, passions, ideas and words. You have no control here, only influence.
Think about what’s been happening this week inside your hula-hoop. Have you been reacting to life’s pressures with the stirring spoon of harsh words, raised voice or angry tones? Are thoughts or emotions spiralling you down?
Invite Jesus into the areas of life where reactions are abrasive. He will give His strength where yours is weak. Then you will be less inclined to reach into the next hoola-hoop and try to control the decisions, ideas, words and feelings of others. You will be more aware of the gentle influence you can have when you “respond” with Jesus’ help rather than “react” in your own sandpaper humanness. (Galatians5:22)
Tend carefully what is happening in your hula-hoop and be less concerned about what is going on in others. It will enable you to walk in a freshness of spirit that will impact and influence all your relationships.
Turn your reactions into chosen responses by the power of the Holy Spirit.
By Gail Rodgers
Used by Permission