How do you respond?
When things don't go your way. When someone offends you, hurts your feelings, ignores you, or frustrates you. When someone pulls out in front of you while driving 50 MPH. When your spouse still hasn't unloaded the dishwasher. When someone is 30 minutes late meeting you when you only have 45 minutes for lunch. When unrealistic expectations are held over your head. When you are rushed and knock down the entire display at the store. When you miss your doctor's appointment. When your baby won't stop screaming while you are on the phone. When you are in a car accident. When there is no explanation. When the unexpected occurs. When there is someone to blame. When there is no one to blame.
One of the most important lessons I learned from natural childbirth classes, as well as experience, was not to fight the contractions. When you feel one coming, do NOT tense up, squeeze your muscles, panic, or hold your breath. Instead, you should let it happen and focus on it. Feel it; embrace the contraction. Why? Because it simply is your uterus stretching and preparing to get the baby out. It is a muscle working out -- feel the burn! To the baby, a contraction feels like a massage. Back to the point. As your uterus stretches and pushes the baby further down, if you fight the contraction, you are holding that baby up there and refusing to let the uterus do its job. Uterus pushes baby down; you tense up and hold baby up. Baby didn't move and is no less closer to greeting the world. You just had a pointless contraction. For every one you resist, you'll have to have another one. Childbirth will take that much longer.
Now, Aidan, how in the world do these two thoughts combine? Here goes...
Things happen. People make choices that affect you -- often negatively. Free will. But, if everything went my way and everyone did what I wanted when I wanted, if I was in control, then my character would suffer. If life was peachy, then I would not develop patience, long suffering, gentleness, mercy, kindness, forbearance, forgiveness, self-control, compassion, unity, heroism, grace, determination, wisdom, etc. I would have no need of these traits, but I'd be at a loss. I'd be missing out and never know it.
When something doesn't go your way and you fight it by snapping or losing your cool, by not showing grace, it was pointless. You just had another chance to grow, but you blew it. You resisted the refining of your character. God is trying to develop the character of His Son in you. Don't tense up, but embrace the situation. Thankfully, there are many, many chances :)
Remember: What Satan means for evil, God intends it for good. When you fight it, you are giving in to Satan and his plans. When you embrace it, you are siding with God and saying 'Yes!' to Him and His plan.
I totally do not excel at this. What a challenging thought for myself! I want to embrace these occurrences. Join me in saying Yes!
Click here for Part 2.