Are you a person who sometimes has a hard time regrouping and collecting yourself once you have been upset about something? I certainly am! There can be an incident or a conversation or a reaction from someone else that so startles me, so stuns me, that I have a hard time letting it go. Not only can I not let it go immediately but I sometimes struggle with it for twenty-four hours afterwards. Not a prescription for peace and tranquility, is it?

 

Perhaps you can relate but maybe you cannot at all identify with what I am saying. If you fall into the latter group, then I envy you. I truly admire folks who are seemingly so easy going, so laid back that even when there is a true offense, they appear to be un-phased. I have known people like this and have in the past, inquired as to what their secret is. Some just shrug their shoulders and share that they just don’t consider a lot of things to be a big deal…sounds simple and I honestly wish that is how I am built, but I am not.

 

I have earnestly prayed for God to help me to let things “roll off my shoulders” so to speak and believe it or not, I have actually become somewhat better in that area over the years. My family and close friends who know me well may contest that last sentence although I contend that some progress has been made. ( Maybe that is wishful thinking- ha!)

 

The areas in which I have consistently blown it are areas involving and surrounding my children. We all know the saying “ Call me or do to me whatever you want, but don’t mess with my children” or something along those lines. I would have to raise my hand and plead guilty to proving that statement to be true on more than one occasion. I am not always proud of it and ask the Lord to help me in that area all of the time.

 

I can also be thrown for a loop by an unexpected reaction or incident with someone. For example, if someone else dismisses me or disregards me in a willful manner, I can be so affected by that one action that it literally consumes me. I have a hard time focusing or concentrating on much of anything else for a long while afterwards. When I really stop to think about that, I have to ask myself ...Why is that? It is probably a combination of reasons, however one glaring one would have to be that I am probably too self focused or absorbed. It just makes sense that when one is dwelling for a long period of time on an offense that was committed against them, that that person is perhaps concerned a bit too much with their rights, their perspective, their own filter if you will of how they perceive the world.

 

I will never forget a guy named Steve Marjenovich who was another student at my college. He was a committed Christian, and he was just very different in so many ways. I can remember sitting talking with him one time when another of his friends approached us, sat down and repeated to him something of a negative nature that another of his friends had apparently said about him. I remember him listening and then when the person was finished talking to him, a slight smile formed on his face and he shrugged and said “ Oh, they must have just been having a bad day to say something like that…they didn’t mean it.”  I marveled at his spirit and attitude. His gracious response basically diffused the spark that this person was attempting to light and I have never forgotten that incident.

 

This is not to say that I have fully learned from it. It is a continual struggle for me to shrug off or not let something inwardly affect me especially if it is an offense or slight toward me or anyone in my family. The problem is that is not the Christ way or the Christ mentality. When we react and do not respond, we are like the majority of the world which usually behaves in the same pattern. The challenge is to stand out and be refreshing like Steve was to me that day many years ago.

 

This is an area in which I do not think I would achieve very high scores on a report card , how about you? Our lives present us with daily conflicts, tensions, and disagreements. The person who successfully knows how to navigate their way through such times is one who will have smooth sailing as the days go by. For me, I am fighting upstream half the time…do you see yourself in that peaceful sailboat or paddling furiously along side of me in that treacherous rowboat?

 

If you are rubbing elbows with me, let’s endeavor to pray and ask God to get our focus on other’s needs and desires and only then will the offenses not seem so monumental.

Just some food for thought ...