Today I stopped feeling like everything was going to be OK.
The alarm went off at 7:30 and I was on the road running by 7:45. A shower, devotions, and a hearty breakfast later I was ready to hit the day. Yet despite a 2nd cup of coffee I still cannot shake the weight of what happened yesterday.
Yesterday my daughter with leukemia lost her insurance coverage and I don’t know how we’re going to get it back.
Now I know I have plans for how we are going to petition this and action steps I’m going to take. Yet exhaustion, slight depression, and a headache lingered all day.
The most important choice I got to make a dozen times today was:
Will I react to life or respond?
Here’s the difference:
When I hit my finger with a hammer my reaction might be to say something I regret. My response is something I choose to carefully put the hammer down and go get some ice.
A reaction is something that automatically happens because of something else that happened. A response is something I choose on purpose to do.
My reaction to our insurance crisis is depression, exhaustion, and a headache.
If I choose to respond, then I choose to trust God. I choose to intentionally call the people I need to call. I choose to recognize what I can and cannot control.
20 minutes at an open house.
I got to go to an open house for someone I know who graduated from high school. I shook his hand congratulating him. In my mind I couldn’t help but think of the difficulties that life will throw his way home. How he chooses to respond to life will determine his career and relationship successes.
Sitting down for some barbecue and chips I spoke with a couple other friends about a woman we knew who passed away this last week. (I wrote about her funeral a couple days ago.) Most of our conversation was about how our friend chose to love her family well. She lived more than 80 years and buried one of her daughters. I’m sure her life was full of times when she chose to respond to life.
Looking across the room I saw a baby who could not have been older than a few weeks. How many choices will she face? She gets to live with family for about 18 years. Then, she will have to learn to respond to life instead of just reacting.
Right now as a baby she simply responses to her urges. We excuse that automatic behavior in babies because we expect it and it’s kind of cute. It’s not cute to see an older child and much less an adult simply reacting to what happens in life.
On the way out the door I got to wait a second while an elderly gentleman made his way out the door. I know he has a number of health problems of afflicting him today. His choice every day will be whether he reacts to his pain or responds with intentionality.
So here it is, the most important choice you will make today:
Will you react to life or respond?
Will you be an intentional parent, husband, friend, worker, and believer?
Here is why I am a pastor at a church
In a local church more than any place on earth you will be reminded how to respond instead of react. And I and you can become people that respond like Jesus did we will change the world.
I believe the church is the hope for the world. The church is the epicenter of the love of God. Here is what Jesus said, let’s choose to respond like this:
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And … ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22:36-39
Everything I have written still doesn’t mean I feel like everything’s going to be OK. It means that with writing this I again am choosing to respond with confidence and trust in God. I am choosing not to react and give in to how I feel. I am choosing to love God first and love my neighbor as myself.
What’s your choice today?