Saturday, August 16, 2014

What are you soaking in?

Wisdom is supreme so why do we pay attention to anything and sometimes everything else?

The loudest voice at the time distracts us and at times it can certainly feel gratifying like a worn sweatshirt, something we are used to putting on. In fact it fits us so comfortably it must be good, right?

Maybe the static noise is now and present...or just maybe it has a shadow of our past that flips on our "personal irrational tantrum switch". What is a tantrum switch you ask? Have you ever had one of those reactions that you think at the time are caused 100% by the other person present. Well, they said something that was rude to me or how dare they do that to me...they know I don't like___, fill in the blank. In our personalities the switch is flipped and lights and sirens like a panic alarm are going off- but there is one problem, most of the time I am convinced there are several people who realize we are past the point of no return and sadly we are not one of them. Oh no, we are usually the last to know! Others see our obvious panic sirens going off in the form of the tantrum we are having, that by the way we feel justified in and simply do not see our true selves in the heat of it all. This reaction may take the form of pulling inside ourselves to cope, maybe we become short with others, maybe we have a certain something we go to to help us deal with the injustice whatever it is. We are the ones "wronged" and therefore "they" should know better. But we are the last ones to know about our own real problem which is our reaction and the other person has no idea what the issue is (but they sure know we have an issue) or they have figured out they did something wrong and may not be comfortable in how to handle it with the suddenly morphed child in front of them. So what exactly is the answer, maybe a question...have we at all listened to the unwise voice inside of us and are now offended, hurt, bitter and full of emotion, convinced after all it is not our fault?

Lets take some wisdom from Proverbs 4: 1-4 which says:
1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.
For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.
He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

What can we truly take with us? All around there is tragedy and hopelessness. And yet still we live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. Sadened are we by what we see in our great Nation, the hurts, suffering and pain. Yet strikingly, we have so much that others are not privileged to have. Families raised are products of the attitudes of their home- some for good some for bad, but still each of us has a choice. Reciprocate the bad we saw or live differently.  So if we can act the part of the child we may want to take instruction as a child of our God and Father, as in Proverbs, a child should attend, pay attention and be present to know understanding. It is a good thing, while we are still little ones, to be taught to take instruction, to "let" to allow our hearts to receive, no retain, the words, to keep the commands...and what then... we live says verse 4. Little ones are so pliable teachable, we lose that as adults with our "panic switches" our reactions out of having lived life and "knowing it all" but children they are so different, they have not formed the hard and fast ways of life. And sometimes to our discredit we are not accurate in our views and reactions, our strained reactions out of self preservation can hurt us and keep us from LIVING.

So you want to live, then follow the model in the Word. Be open to teaching, that means we don't know it all, let in the words of the Lord into our hearts and let them be retained, that means we purposefully control what goes into our hearts- coming from our minds. And then keep- we need action to follow through and do or change a behavior or thought pattern.

If you are a visual person like me this picture reminder may help you catch yourself stuck in reactions or on others negative words. Picture what you are carrying, those things that you should not be- as a rest situation, what is it that you have picked up that is not yours, that you are laboring to carry. Simply put, if you were soaking in a claw foot tub, water perfect and steamy and a beautiful picture window view next to you....but you look down to find that someone dumped putrid, muddy, dark colored water- rather, sludge...with floaties in it...(not floaties!) yes, and there you are basking in it! You may be laughing right now but don't we do this, who is guilty with me of this "soaking retreat" in life's offenses. So I ask you what are you soaking in? What is it that you have made your retreat instead of getting out of the tub. We can stop thinking about offenses, about terrible attitudes copped to us by another, about a snide remark from another, about that look, you know the one. All those little subtleties in life, we know what they are....but do we is not ours to carry or to soak in, it is the other persons issues we are allowing to spill over and affect us. Sometimes we are the guilty party spilling onto others.

Next time someone is nasty to you, smile and say good morning, their problem and negativity is not your reflection. It may not have a single thing to do with you- their behavior is theirs so don't try to own it, and even if it what? Does that mean you are entitled to behave like them, chances are if you don't like the way "it" looks on them, you won't on you either.

In my own family I have witnessed the circle of strife, yes strife not life passes on even more easily. I, being a crabby mama passed onto my son snideness, he passed onto brother, brother to dad and I witnessed the circle of crud spread in a matter of minutes like a virus. Truly happy people have caught one thing repeatedly in their life and that is this: you don't have to stay stuck on the negative, on the dreary. If you feel like a jalope car on its last legs, bolts and important pieces falling out onto the road behind you and not much longer can this go on.....then fine, admit it to the Lord and move on. Choose to focus on the truth in Christ, picture a brand new (or whatever is your favorite model and age of car) shiny, waxed and ready to run! Things change around you when you allow your perspective to be the way God intends you to believe. The catch is we need to focus on true wisdom and not our learned truths, we need to get unstuck and think the best, pressing into true wisdom. Attend (as a garden is watched for weeds), allow (light and water to reach you), retain (only what is good, get rid of the bugs), keep (a little plowing and pruning) and live (growth occurs)!

So get out of that tub when you see yourself start to get into it!!! True rest of the mind is an act of purpose.

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