Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Changing the Emotional Response Default

Changing one´s default is not easy…ask anyone who has ever tried to make a new healthy habit stick. Ask anyone who has ever tried to break an old, bad habit…

Anything from eating right, stop smoking, exercising more, drinking less to changing the way we react to our circumstances, becoming more eternity minded, increasing our faith, seeking Him first takes a great deal of effort to accomplish. It surely does not happen overnight. Of course, God is All-Powerful, so He can change us instantly if that is part of His plan. I’m a witness to that! He has removed the veil from my eyes in certain, very special occasions in order for me to see the truth at a moment when I was headed for a disastrous ending. In those occasions, God chose to reveal Himself to me to create a radical change in my life upon impact.

Most of the time, however, He has chosen to go the slow-and-steady route in me, to develop my character and to create a lasting change in my life through perseverance. He gives me, this way, the opportunity to guide my steps through every decision, through every mistake, through every victory. I imagine this is closer to the road that Martha had to walk.

Mostly, by our own doing, this is not a smooth road. It is a road marked by the obstacles and hurdles that our stubborn nature and our strong-will place on our way for us to have to jump over and evade. But it is a road of learning lessons that stick. It is a road of awareness. It is a road of intimacy. And it is so, because as we walk on it, we can’t help but to see and feel God’s hand holding ours through every step we take.

Travelling on a reduced-speed road, however, makes changes happen slowly. Therefore, my default reactions when facing challenges are still fret, fear and panic. I’m a work in progress, though. For as long as I can still draw breath, I believe God is not finished with me yet. He is still refining me as He transforms my heart and teaches me to trust and surrender:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6

That is the ultimate key to seeking Him first. We seek Him because we trust Him. And as we trust Him, we surrender.

Like Martha, I’m still dealing with fret, fear and panic: “O no! What am I going to do? All these people?” (fret) “I can’t do this! What’s going to happen?” (fear) “I need help! Where’s my lazy sister? Lord! Make Mary help me!” (panic)

What if both, Martha and I were to react to the challenging situations of life with faith, forgiveness and prayer, instead: “Wow, lots of people coming in with the Lord today…phew! Good thing I’m not in charge here. You are on, Lord, You will provide!” (Faith) “Would you look at Mary? She sure was quick on finding herself a good sit by Jesus. Gotta love her.” (Forgiveness) “Please, Lord, may this house and whatever we so imperfectly offer to you and to your people be pleasing sacrifice, in your Name and for Your Glory.” (Prayer)

I want to keep an attitude of faith in every situation…an attitude that instead of making me fret, makes me trust. I want to be able to forgive, especially me, when at times I will fail at whatever it is I should do and don’t. I want to go to the Lord in prayer always…rather than go on a mad, panic-induced tail spin that depletes me of strength and drains my peace.

Above all, I want to change my emotional reactions to problems so I see the things that make me anxious as growth opportunities that would get me closer to Christ in an attitude of trust and surrender. It is not easy…but with God, nothing is impossible!

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