I know each of us has experienced our fair share of trials and difficulty, and we’ve each been presented an option, how do we choose to respond.. This choice, this decision, this opportunity is ours and ours alone. It’s incredibly difficult at the moment to realize, but in all scenarios, we are given a choice to react or respond. What’s the difference? Why would it matter which we choose? And how does this impact how we proceed?
The difference (in my opinion), in reaction vs response, is taking the time to process the situation and select the appropriate action or simply acting in a instinctive-emotional way without considering the outcome of such actions. This can be incredibly challenging, especially when the circumstances are extreme, however, taking just seconds to process before reacting can make a significant impact.
I am currently walking through the most difficult season of my life, facing the tragic loss of my child, unexpectedly. My wife and I are taking it day by day, and even moment by moment. But I can say from this trial, I’m learning that how I process and respond significantly and directly impacts everything to follow.
I have to take each moment as it comes, but I have experienced a significant difference in how I choose to react or respond to them. The heaviness and difficulty remain, regardless of my handling, but the following moments have proven vastly different.
In the times I do not process, but simply react, the following moments seem to become heavier and harder to manage. When I allow the emotion of that moment to guide me, rather than guide the emotion, I am at the mercy of circumstance and have little to no control over the way my mind processes the situation. When I take the time (as difficult as it may be in the moment), to think over the feelings, emotion and gravity of the circumstances at hand, I am better prepared to decide how I proceed, thus leading to a greater level of control over my thoughts and feelings. This practice is absolutely something that becomes easier with time and is in no way something that is done naturally and without intention. It can seem overwhelming and nearly impossible in the moment to assess my state (emotions, thoughts, feelings and desires), but I know it is well worth the attention and effort. When I choose to neglect this process, I am immediately met with a negative response and it almost certainly makes the existing situation more difficult to manage.
In my current state, as I’m writing this, I am faced with the challenge of sharing a very vulnerable and fragile piece of me, which is incredibly challenging for me personally, or the option of navigating this quietly and alone. I feel the benefit of sharing and encouraging the use of these strategies is well worth the temporary struggles of the process. I cannot put into words the heaviness and heartache I am experiencing, but I can say with certainty that God has been with me and my wife every step of the way. I believe it is He who gives me the ability and awareness to appropriately navigate this tragedy and blesses me with an inner piece only He can provide. I know there is no solution or cure to absolve all of the pain I am facing and will encounter, but I do know, with every part of my being, He is with me and will be there.
Whatever your struggles, whatever your challenges, understand that you have at your access, power and hope greater than the finite human mind can grasp. The Lord is able and willing to provide all we need in the moments we face. We do not, and are not entitled to know how or why, but the situations are ahead to be faced, it is our choice of how we navigate them. I personally, choose to use them as opportunities to learn, grow and become who He has created me to be. I choose to allow the pain and heartache to have a greater purpose. I choose to lead my emotions instead of following them. I will put forth the effort and intention required to allow the circumstances become impactful for reasons and a purpose much greater than myself.
For this temporary grief, pain and heartache is not the end, I know there is and will be future glory.