Written with: EAGERNESS
good to you, why should you get credit?
Even sinners do that much!
~ Luke 6:33 NLT
If you were to describe yourself to someone, what would you say? Would you choose words such as kind, tender-hearted, easy-going, and patient? Or perhaps witty, sassy, and full of life? Do you think others would agree with these sentiments?
Typically, this is most of us on a nice, easy, breezy summer day. But what happens when a coworker dismisses your ideas, your character is questioned or maybe even your children are trying you in such creative ways? You know, all the times you are one second away from “losing your religion.” Who do you become then?
Pause right now, and jot down the answers to the following questions:
- Who am I naturally?
- Who am I in times of adversity?
As stated in Luke 6:32-36, it is natural to love when someone is loveable or do good to those who are good to you, but where is the maturity in this? How does God get the glory in these warm, comfortable situations? Our faith, patience, peace, and self-control are being tested when we are faced with adversity. It’s our time to shine and put into practice all that Jesus teaches us.
Try out these proposed solutions as you work towards remaining YOU in unavoidable adverse settings. Choose the one that closely relates to your personal situation. You might have to make changes to adjust to your style.
You experience an unwelcome interaction with a colleague, family member or friend, via text, phone or face-to-face.
- Become aware of your unexpected, unnatural internal response. Did you suddenly become defensive, annoyed, sad or angry? These are your triggers. They signify that a shift in thought is needed before it becomes a regretful outward response.
- Quickly try to focus your attention on something else – take an unnoticeable deep breath, look away/blink or write down your thoughts. If appropriate, you could excuse yourself to the ladies/gentlemen room. The goal here is to regroup and refocus.
- Ask yourself, what am I feeling, and why do I feel this way? Now granted, in the heat of the moment, you might not have time to think too long on these, but, at least, your response won’t be a knee-jerk reaction. It will also help you to recognize if your emotions are overreactions or legitimate.
- Once you determine your feelings are in fact legitimate, you can proceed with communicating in a productive manner. Start with a positive statement about the topic at hand. Then express your feelings without attacking the other’s character. And finally, make a recommendation or ask a question for clarity.
You have less than desirable thoughts about yourself or someone else.
- Be aware of the thought that just entered your mind. Was it positive or negative? Was it uplifting or demoralizing?
- Ask yourself, what am I feeling, and why do I feel this way? This brings life to your thoughts and forces you to own and settle them.
- Shift to a more positive thought. Express a positive attribute about yourself or your offender. You can also imagine a scenario that gives a benefit of the doubt, even if it’s not true or seems farfetched. Your goal is to get back in the right state of mind.
- Continue with your day. Don’t go back to the negative. Always end on a positive.
Practice Makes Better
Take your top 5 most recent negative encounters and write out how it would have looked if you had applied the steps above. You can choose from either scenario or both. The more you practice, the more natural your responses will be.
By no means are we suggesting this is easy. Quite the contrary. It will take you being diligent, determined, and intentional as you try to control these overpowering emotions. You will become frustrated with the process and want to give up. You may fail with different attempts. And you may go a while with no physical evidence that it’s working. But remember, you have a lifetime to get this right. So, relax and enjoy as you master “Remaining YOU through adversity!” In the end, you will get YOUR win and God will say, “Well done, My child!”