Thursday, June 3, 2010

No Longer Flying On Auto-Pilot

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:43-45, NIV)

I'll go to my grave telling people that the Lord Himself writes these entries that I share with readers. I'm merely the pencil. The exchange that takes place between the Lord and I as each post is written is an interesting one. He makes me aware of what He wants written in some of the oddest ways at some of the oddest times. It always makes me laugh because it only affirms that these words are not merely my own.

The other day I was getting ready in the morning when I had to stop cold wondering if I had completed one part of my routine that was needed in order to proceed with what remained. The Lord brought to mind how much of our lives we go through out of habit without giving it a second thought. He showed me through the disruption of a silly, automatic, daily ritual that He has some lessons for us to learn.

What if we didn't fly around life always on auto-pilot? What if we challenged some of the things we do without a second thought, especially when it comes to special needs parenting?

For example, what if we found a way to respond differently to doctors or educators we disagree with? What if instead of launching into that automatic defensive position, we took a deep breath and held our tongues? What if we pulled back for a minute and reassessed things, so we can come to a reasonable resolution? What if we tried to put ourselves in the shoes of those who are causing us angst? What if we prayed for those who irritate or persecute us? What if the outcome were better as a result?

Another example of snapping out of that auto-pilot habit -- What if we changed our routine when our children's behavior frustrates or angers us? What if we tried to see the cause behind their behavior? What if we took a deep breath before we responded to them? What if we were more longsuffering with our children, got down to their level and showed them what mercy looks like? What if we spent more time praying for our kids than losing our cool with them?
Life improves for us and everyone around us when we trade-in the default of irritability and strife for kindness, gentleness and humility. It's not to say that we can exercise these skills perfectly, but what if they became the usual response to our triggers rather than the aggressive habits we have naturally? We do many things each day by reflex that may not be God's best for our lives. If we begin by building an awareness of what it is that we are doing today without giving a second thought, these habits can change. Challenge yourself! The peace that awaits you as a result may surprise you!

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