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Different Reactions

Blog – 1-26-21

This was our belated Christmas celebration with the crew that lives in Arizona, including our adorable little grandson, Paeson! I had ordered Christmas pajamas for us to wear at our Christmas celebration in Iowa, but, of course, they arrived the day after Christmas. Go figure! We decided instead of sending them back to have some fun with it and bring them to Arizona. It would be Christmas in January! My youngest son, Sam, and his girlfriend were completely on board with the whole pajama thing. They thought it would be great fun to dress up in our silly matching pj’s before we headed to our son Jason’s house so we could walk in and surprise them. Let’s do this thing right! My son Christopher, however, did not share our enthusiasm. He thought this was another really stupid thing his Mom was forcing him to do, and he grumbled and complained. This was not enjoyable to him….not even a little bit. We refused to let his negative attitude dampen our fun. We even stopped at the grocery store on the way to Jason’s house; and Sam, Ashley and I traipsed into the store decked out in our Christmas attire. Chris choose to stay in the car. We got lots of funny looks and laughs from people in the store, and we took some great pictures, like the one at the top of the page. The best part was when we were leaving the store and a man asked us, “So, who lost the bet?” We laughed pretty hard at that one! I was a little frustrated at Christopher’s reaction, to be honest, because I felt like he missed out on the fun. I realize this was definitely outside of his comfort zone, and yes, we looked completely ridiculous, but that was kind of the point. Two brothers…Two totally different reactions to the exact same situation. As I reflect on this vacation memory, I wonder how many times I have missed out on the blessings and “fun” God has in store for me because of how I have reacted to a situation. I think about times when I have been forced out of my comfort zone and have reacted negatively and complained rather than given thanks for the opportunity to grow. If you’re anything like me, you like to get your way and want to go pout in a corner when you don’t. You enjoy things going the way you plan and get irritated and frustrated when they don’t. You love it when things are easy, and you get crabby when life feels like a constant struggle. But here’s something God is drilling into my spirit lately: I can’t control what life throws at me, but I can control how I react to it. I can react in fear or faith. I can react in anger or grace. I can react negatively or positively. I can react with anxiety or trust. I absolutely always have a choice in how I react. That’s hard to swallow at times, I have to admit, when it feels like anger is the only reasonable reaction to someone who comes at me with anger. But if I am truly striving to live my life the way Jesus taught us, I would be much more willing to react to anger with grace. I know, easy to say, hard to do. I am finding that the more I am grounded in His Word, the more I feel like I can actually exercise that positive choice in how I react. When I am listening to the Spirit, I hear it prompting me to guard my tongue, offer grace, and not fight fire with fire. There’s a lot of reacting happening in our world these days, especially on social media. And unfortunately, the vast majority of it is extremely negative. I encourage you, my friend, to take a moment to think before you react. Remember, you can’t control what happens in life or what people say or how they act, but you absolutely can control how you react to every situation. And who knows, you might just have some fun and find the hidden blessing if you choose to react in a positive way.

Something to think about. Hugs and love, Jill

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