By Christie Love, Founder and Executive Director of LeadHer
This month our LeadHer Local chapters have been discussing a hard topic: the difference between reacting to a situation and responding to it. In our teaching video this month I shared ten difference between reacting and responding– one of foundational differences was that reactions are emotional based and responses are wisdom based. I stated that, “Emotions need to be our indicators but not our directors. God’s truth and the wisdom of his word needs to guide and direct us in how to handle and respond to emotions.”
With this foundational difference in perspective, I want to challenge you with one final contrast between reacting and responding as we wrap up this month’s theme in our chapters. Reactions reflect our human nature in us. Responses give us a chance to reflect God’s nature through us.
Romans 3:23 makes it clear that we all have a human nature that is sinful, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard…” (NLT) Our emotions are not sinful– it is when we react to emotions that we often sin and fall short. It is our determination to handle a feeling OUR way instead of GOD’S way that results in problems. Here is the biggest problem with emotionally reacting to a situation, problem, or struggle: Your reactions often look NO different from anyone else in the world.
As believers- followers of Christ, we are called to what Paul called “God’s glorious standard”. Jesus himself illustrates the importance of living life differently in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world- like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” (NLT) Here is a thought to ponder: How can we be a light in a dark world if we react like everyone else in the world?
This is why this discussion this month is so critical… responding to a situation, instead of reacting to one, is all about discipline. It is all about allowing God to mold us, shape us, restrain us, and use us as an example of another way to live… His way. When we are willing to bite back sarcastic remarks, wait to have tough conversations before our tempers have cooled down, and ask for time to pray and seek God’s wisdom before engaging in a conflict… we reflect God’s nature not our own.
Each and everyday you go out into the world and encounter people that test your patience, situations that seem unfair, and struggles that are hard. If you profess to be a Christ follower- there are people that are taking notice of how you handle each of those moments. You witness and influence others around you every time that you stand at the crossroads of reacting and responding- they notice the path that you choose. The next time that you find yourself standing in that place, take a moment to prayerfully ponder the question, “Who do I want to reflect in this moment– Myself or My God?”
The way that answer that question consistently in your life will shape both your life and your leadership with those around you that you impact daily.
I invite you to connect with us if you are not involved in a LeadHer Local chapter- learn more about how you can start or join one in your area here.