iHope You Don’t Get Set Back
August 30, 2012
Throughout life its natural to grow and mature and sometimes there may be moments where we have “setbacks” that make us revert to an old way of thinking or doing something before we arrived at a certain level of maturity. How do we come to a place where we can go through a very agitating, challenging, or tough situation without losing our composure and/or handling a situation with an immaturity that leads to regret afterwards? In our minds we can conjure up these ideal ways to handle a challenge with grace, wisdom, tact, patience and calmness; but none of those character traits will flow out of us unless we are filled with them in the first place. Luke 6:45 says “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” What ever we fill our hearts and minds with will inevitably overflow and spill out of us through our words and actions.
True character always surfaces in the midst of a challenge. Romans 5:3-5 “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” With that being said, the truth is that the only way we will truly develop the kind of character those traits is through our suffering. But what better time to use them?! This is something that comes with practice each time we are agitated, anxious, frustrated or upset. But at least we know that through our perseverance the character and hope will be revealed through our actions and will then become a habit and eventually a way of life.
Everyone has “buttons” or at least one button. You may not know what it is until someone actually presses it. Some people may press our buttons more than others without even really trying, whereas some people do it intentionally. Nonetheless, different people can bring up different issues or emotions that we have to face at one point or another. That’s just a fact of life. Sometimes a button may be pressed that makes us explode…sometimes we implode or simply let our minds spiral downward to a deep dark place where thoughts of anxiety and hopelessness send us into a depression. What ever the case may be the important thing is discovering what those buttons are and deciding if you are truly ready to either remove it, or in the meantime, learn how to deal with having that button pressed and adjusting your behavior in a way that reveals the glory in our sufferings that the scripture speaks of.
Don’t give anyone the power to knock the wind out of your sail. Your life is about the power of your choices. I choose to have a good day today despite of the fact that I don’t want to be here. I choose to influence this negative atmosphere with my positive outlook instead of allowing this atmosphere to influence me. I am going to remain hopeful even in this seemingly hopeless situation that probably won’t get better any time soon. Maintaining a sense of joy that sustains you is a goal worth obtaining and will surely change the trajectory of your life and your prospects of happiness, even when a situation is unfavorable or dismal. “The joy of the lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Off all things to draw from as a source of strength, Nehemiah used the joy of the Lord. What a positive mindset! God freely gives us HIS joy and that is really what we need to draw from in times where we would otherwise be weak or defeated or allow emotions to set us back. We are strong enough to suffer without being set back into our old ways. Be positive. Persevere. Be hopeful and joyful! Your good character shall stand the test of time.
Exercise: Ask yourself questions like: When ________ gets under my skin/upsets/agitates me, I react by ________. What thoughts surface when I think about how upset/agitated/emotional _________ makes me. How can I change my thoughts in order to change my reactions? When was the last time I became disappointed about how I handled a situation and how can I build character by handling it better next time?