The morning sun glistened on the surf as the cerulean sea lapped gently on the sandy shore. My chilled feet in the water was balanced by the long sleeve shirt I wore over my shorts. All around me, people of all ages splashed, dove beneath the surface, and played joyfully in the crisp water of the Irish Sea.
Having just arrived, I discovered that Ireland was experiencing a heat wave. On this particular day, that meant 75 degrees and low humidity, and with a quiet, breeze blowing.
I had traveled from the Midwest of the United States, where we had been experiencing summer temps in the 90’s. The "heat wave" temperatures felt refreshing. Even more so because our weather consisted of sticky, muggy air that made the 90s’ feel like it was in the lower 100’s.
For me, it was delightful weather. For the Irish, though, it was nearly unbearable. Air conditioning and fans could rarely be found in the mild climate on the Emerald Isle.
Temperature and weather are often a matter of perspective. What felt like fantastic weather for me and my traveling companions, was actually a challenge for those who rarely see this level of heat and humidity.
The same seems true for me when it comes to dealing with challenging people and situations. When I’m tired and overworked, conflicts can unhinge me. I tend to overreact and blow things out of proportion.
When this happens, it puts a strain on me, and on those whom I love. I also seem to want to shut down and run for the hills when conflict occurs. For me, avoiding the hard things and stressful conversations is the preferred setting over facing them. Tears replace helpful conversations, and negative body language makes helpful interactions almost impossible.
These reactions are based on my perspective of the situation, and it may not actually reflect what is happening. And, my perspective changes when I try to do things on my own. When I choose not to pause for a moment of centering prayer and mindful breathing, I tend to get myself into an inner monologue that actually doesn’t reflect well the current situation.
The same is true when others react to me. Outbursts tend to feel personal, even if they are not intentionally directed toward me. My perspective of the situation may actually be quite far from the reality of what is happening.
God promises to “not let me down or abandon me” (Deuteronomy 31: 8). Yet I often abandon God, forgetting to, or refusing to reach out. Without God’s guidance ,my default is to react out of anger instead of compassion, forgetting what God has taught me.
This narrow perspective can create difficulties for me. People misunderstand me. Those closest to me start to push away. True intimacy is not able to occur under such circumstances.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
Fear not, my friend. There is hope! It comes from changing your perspective. Whomever or whatever, is in your midst, is creating ongoing opportunities for you to look at it from a different perspective. To see anew what's happening around you. Just take a moment of quiet, and a gentle calling out to the Lord for guidance, and it can make all the difference. Give it a try!
Loving Lord, day to day life is hard, and it gets worse when I view things from my narrow and inexperienced perspective. Please help me to broaden my perspective in order to see more of the big picture, which I know You always see. Remind me to pause and pray before lashing out verbally to those whom I love, so that my words and actions will be transformative. Allow me to reframe my thinking to further reflect the reality before me. Thank You, Lord, for always sticking near to me when new challenges arise. Amen.
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