SEEKING THE RIGHT REACTIONS
A MESSAGE OF SPIRITUAL INSPIRATION FOR WORKDAYS
Our minds and emotions can be sparked in a million different directions by a thousand different stimuli, so how do we know when to light a fire and when to leave something undisturbed? How do we know which people and environments will ignite the best reactions in us? In order to find our best life, we have to engage in a thoughtful process of trial-and-error, and we have to invite God to be an constant part of that process.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 ESV
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 ESV
Research has shown cigarette smoke to be an often toxic mix of up to 7,000 chemicals that are formed through reactions occurring as the cigarette burns. A pile of tobacco by itself isn’t going to harm anyone—and holding a dozen cigarettes in your hand isn’t dangerous—but when fire is introduced to the equation, reactions are created that change the situation in so many ways.
How and why do the situations in our lives change? Our minds and emotions can be sparked in a million different directions by a thousand different stimuli, so how do we know when to light a fire and when to leave something undisturbed? How do we know which people and environments will ignite the best reactions in us?
Some people think of God as a puppet master, as some divine showman who is pulling the strings of both our lives and world events at all times. However, God guides us rather than controlling us, so we have to remember how important the decisions we make really are. And we have to welcome Him into our decision-making process. Not only do we have to listen for God’s knock, but when we hear Him, we have to make the decision to open the door. God gives us countless opportunities via the people and environments all around us, so we have to do our best to embrace only those surroundings that complement our unique personality.
Unlike the dumb chemical reactions of a lit cigarette, the cause-and-effect chain regarding human choices can be different for every individual. For example, a workplace that sets off a toxic plume of anger and bitterness for one person might spark fulfillment that radiates kindness in another, and relationships with people can operate in the same way. We have to discern when something is or isn’t working for our particular needs. God gives us the freedom to experiment with the situations of our lives and then accept or discard them as needed.
Today, begin to pay closer attention to the reactions that the atmospheres and people in your life are creating for you, then make a decision to either embrace your current situations or start down new paths with God’s protection. Examine your daily relationships. Do they create positive reactions in your life or negative ones? Examine your working environment. Does it make you hopeful or cynical? Does it give you energy or consume everything you have?
The above sorts of questions can be confusing—and they might take a good amount of time and patience to answer accurately—but you will benefit from going through them honestly with the goal of improving your quality of life.
Today, pray for God’s guidance as you start thinking about who you are and who you want to be. Pray for the courage to discern which environments are capable of producing the best reactions in you. Give thanks for the people and environments that are blessing your life, and then ask for the wisdom to transcend or leave those that aren’t. Give thanks for the blessings of free will and imagination, and then enjoy the process of using those gifts to seek your best life.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You for the all of the choices that are available to me. Please help me to continually seek out the people and environments that are best for me.
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Thanks so much for checking out this week's message of spiritual inspiration for workdays. I hope that you'll sign up for The Lovely Grind so that you'll receive every message every week of the year. Take care of yourself and your loved ones, and I hope to see you again soon.
Michael S. Priebe, Lovely Grind author & web creator
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