February 19, 2009
Pause Before Reacting
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)
A few years ago, Art and I hit a rough place financially. Some investments we'd made went bad and we lost nearly our entire life savings. I was knee deep in 3 small children at the time and hadn't a clue that financial danger was looming on the horizon.
That is until Art came home one day and the look on his face spoke of utter defeat. How could we have lost so much? He'd been wise with our finances. He'd done his research. He was a faithful saver. I stood stunned in our foyer that day, as Art told me the news.
There were many different directions my reaction could have gone in the minutes that followed. I was upset. When Art first talked of making these particular investments, I shared with him that I didn't have a good feeling about it. But, in the end, I let him make the final decision.
So many times in my marriage, I've chosen the wrong words - words that were tainted with bitterness, words that were emotionally toxic. But I'm so thankful the Lord had been working on preparing my heart for this moment and instead of reacting immediately with what would have been a disastrous response, I paused. I allowed the Holy Spirit a few seconds to interrupt my natural flesh feelings.
Then, because of God's Spirit working in me, I was able to wrap my arms around my husband and speak life-giving words into his weary heart. "I love you Art. I loved you yesterday when we had everything. I love you today when we have nothing. I love you for who you are, not what you have."
A few years later, Art and I were on Dr. Dobson's Focus on the Family radio program. On the show Art was asked, "I know you and Lysa had a rough start to your marriage. But what happened that made you know you'd stick by her forever, no matter what?"
Without hesitation, Art recounted my reaction over the lost investments.
Had I been left to my own flesh reaction that day, it could have set us on the road to marital disaster. But, because of God's response being stored up in me, this situation wound up bringing us closer together than we'd ever been.
I realized how crucial it is to always be aware of God's preparation in our lives. Because He stands in our yesterday, today and tomorrow, He sees all. And He knows the perfect way to prepare our hearts for every situation.
When we embrace His preparations, even a girl with firecrackers in her blood like me can have reactions that honor God and breathe life into relationships.
Dear Lord, remind me to pause before I react. Sometimes the stresses of life pull at my emotions, which cause me to have reactions that tear at my relationships. Please forgive me for poor reactions in my past. Thank You for second chances. Thank You for the way You prepare my heart for everything You see that I’ll be facing today, tomorrow and in all my tomorrows to come. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Visit Lysa TerKeurst’s blog
Capture His Heart by Lysa TerKeurst
The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst
Part of embracing His preparations are to pray prayers that make God my focus rather than my circumstances--- Here are a few I've been inspired to pray:
God, despite my circumstances, I will find reasons to praise You.
God, even when I feel disappointed by what life brings, I will trust You to bring good out of bad.
God, no matter what, I will hold on to You and Your truths.
God, my deepest desire is for more of You in me. And if that is the desire of my heart, I will never be disillusioned.
When hard situations arise, do I tend to react out of my emotions or out of a well-prepared heart of love? How might pausing help me to react better?
Proverbs 15:4, “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” (NIV)
John 15:4, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (NIV)
© 2009 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105