I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the word response. The word simply means (amongst other definitions), a reaction to stimuli. Ha. It’s quite an interesting word too, because when we respond to something, when we react, it’s usually quite spontaneous and immediate.
I can think of so many times when I have ‘responded’ to a situation, a ‘stimulus’ and later thought of a hundred ways in which I could have ‘responded’ differently. But it’s too late then, isn’t it? Our words are out there, our reactions, our emotions, have been sent out and whether we like it or not, our ‘response’ has now become a frequency of sound that inadvertently hits those in it’s path…
Over the years, it has slowly dawned on me that I can actually choose my response to most circumstances, situations, challenges, etc, even those that would normally instigate a fly away reaction. How? Well, it’s finally occurred to me that my responses to stimuli are governed by what I believe about myself. Yep. Pretty simple…?
You see, how I view who I am, what I stand for, what I believe, how others view me, how approved of I am, etc, directly impacts the way in which I ‘spontaneously’ respond to stimuli. So if the stimuli is challenging, and my internal view of who I am is shaky, fragile, vulnerable and ultimately breakable, it’s not too hard to see why I might be reactive instead of calmly considering the mental and by default,the verbal path I am about to take.
So how do we govern this? Well, my personal experience has been one where I have had to make the choice to take a good hard look at ‘me’ on the inside. Do some diagnostics so to speak. Take the time to approach those ‘cobwebbed’ memories and clean house in my mind, my emotions, my thought processes, my points of view, etc.
It takes time. It is hard. And it can be painful. I won’t lie. But the results are extraordinary! Regardless of what your faith is, regardless of what you and I believe, we have the capacity as human beings, to internalise, to digest, to recalibrate our mental processes and therefore, establish new pathways to travel on when issues and challenges come our way. We have the ability to set that path in place and practice using it!!
I have a friend who, for about the past 5 years, has been dealing with ovarian cancer. Chemo – currently in the third round. This woman is not only indomitable, she’s beyond reason!! On the very rarest of occasions, I have seen her falter, but for the most part, this incredible woman speaks about her journey and shares the revelation that has kept her in such unbelievable peace.
She chooses to walk this journey from an altogether ‘other’ perspective. She chooses to allow joy, peace and love to govern her mood and her responses to her circumstances. I am sure that in the privacy of her home and relationships, she may allow herself the freedom to respond in other ways, but in her outward impact on the world around her, it is only an impact of love. She is a major inspiration for sure 🙂
I’m not saying it’s easy. Gosh, it’s such a battle. The mind is the place where we really can make a difference in how we approach the world around us and it’s no wonder that Romans 12:1 says to renew your mind. There is such great power in having a mind that chooses how it’s going to respond, how it’s going to control the reactions of the emotions, the will, the spirit and soul.
I hope that you find yourself in a place of choosing how to respond today, rather than being in a place controlled by the life around you. Be of good courage and choose. It’s worth the effort.
In love and honour,