React or Respond
Do You Know the Difference?
by Olga Hermans
Sometimes the biggest challenge in dealing with our problems is understanding what to do and how we should respond. To find the answers, we must seek God and His perspective on our situation. It is not the time to run away from God because we fear that He will be disappointed in us.
He understands that we will make mistakes along the way, and He promises never to condemn or turn His back on us. He is always there; ready to guide us to the next step in our lives.
When circumstances in our lives cause us discouragement or worry, we have to make a choice. Either we’re going to let it get the best of us by giving all our attention to it for the next days, months, or years, or we’re going to respond rather than choose to react.
Take the Back Seat
When we choose to respond, we give the steering wheel to God and take the back seat. I say the back seat because too often we take the passenger seat and are tempted to co-pilot. God doesn’t need our help to navigate through the storm; He is more than able to handle it. Remember, God already knows the end from the beginning.
Once we give God the wheel, we have to trust Him. For example, let’s say you were planning a road trip that you have never taken before. Your brother, on the other hand, is very familiar with the drive because he has traveled it many times.
In a case like this, it would be in your interest to let him navigate the trip. Through his experiences, he has learned all the detours to take to avoid traffic and construction and is, therefore, the best person for the job.
But if you sit in the passenger’s seat with an open map to co-pilot and begin questioning his judgment and telling him what the map says he should do, you’re going to frustrate him. Eventually he will stop the car and let you drive.
Then you’ll be in the same position you were in at the beginning – navigating the trip alone and needlessly exhausted by the experience. Had you allowed your brother to drive, and rested in his ability to do so, you would have arrived at your destination sooner, feeling refreshed and energized.
How Do We Treat God?
This is a good example of how we treat God sometimes. We ask Him to get involved in our situations, then, we begin telling Him what we want Him to do and how we want Him to do it. In our minds, we know just how the problem should be resolved.
When God’s plan appears to be different from our own we are tempted to take over the wheel. As a result, we become frustrated and disappointed with the outcome. Sometimes, without even realizing we have taken the wheel again, we blame God for the things that could have been avoided, had we given Him complete control.
To respond appropriately to the troubles in our life, our first decision should be to give all our cares to Him and leave them there! You see, responding and reacting are two different things. When things happen to us, it is natural to react.
What Happens When Our Emotions Get Involved?
When we react, our emotions get involved like crying, getting angry or taking revenge. It is okay to cry or to get angry, but then release it. Don’t seek revenge. Take control of the situation. God has given you the authority to speak life into your circumstances by responding with the faith you possess as an overcomer.
Even though He has given us emotions, it is not His will that they control our lives. When we stay in reaction mode, it leads to trouble. That’s when bitterness, envy, depression, and self pity set in. It is virtually impossible to have a positive attitude when these feelings overtake us.
Don’t let emotions fester for long periods of time. Let them go, and release your faith and start saying things like, “I know I’m coming out of this situation. This is a test that I am well able to pass. No matter what it looks like or how I feel, I trust God. He will never leave me or forsake me!” Before you know it, your situation will start to turn around.
God Desires To Guide Us
The second response is to allow God to guide us through difficult times. Being in constant prayer about the situation and reading the Word will give us the peace and direction we so desperately need. They help us to remain positive when everything inside of us wants to focus on the negative.
You will be surprised by how your perspective about the situation can change when you get God involved. There is no point in overreacting, questioning God, or feeling sorry for yourself. Reacting is never the best solution.
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