Reaction or Response

As I sat here in my semi-cleaned kitchen, chomping on baby carrots (straight from the bag because I like to live my life on the edge) and sipping my sparkling water, I came across a thought-provoking post on a social media outlet. The question posed to the readers was, do you mindlessly react to situations or do you thoughtfully respond? A rather deep question, it would seem, for a person in my current state who was just asking herself the equally deep question, “…should I get some ranch to dip these carrots in?” In all seriousness, this question did beckon a response from myself. I felt the response I gave wasn’t all too shabby, so it sparked the decision to blog! Here was my response,

“I would agree, reacting can be this reflex action sometimes, but I try to be more mindful. As you said, some days we will be more successful with responding than others, but at least we are making the effort to self-correct! In certain circumstances, reacting can be momentarily gratifying but that is always short-lived. It goes back to the old saying, ” Two wrongs don’t make a right.” I try to reflect what I want seen in the world. Although our mind may tell us, “react, they NEED to see my reaction!” I think simply responding speaks volumes. Our mindset can change many things in our lives, and the beauty is, it can always be reset! ❤ “

I would like to elaborate more on my response.

Certain times throughout our days, people may disrespect us or try to provoke us and if you’re like me, your mind tells you REACT REACT REACT. We can’t fathom sometimes the act of just thinking before reacting. Instead of taking a breath and contemplating a more intelligent and graceful response, we want to show we can go toe-to-toe with this person and possibly one up their actions. We don’t believe we should be disrespected, so we think we will teach the other person a lesson by beating them at their own game. While I’ll agree that I don’t usually extend respect to someone who isn’t extending it to me, we can most certainly stop and think of a better way to respond. I’m often hearing a voice in my head reminding me, ” …quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger…” which comes from James 1:19-20.

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Sometimes, this appears as a weakness in the eyes of others. They believe if we don’t meet a negative with another negative, that we don’t have any self-respect and we allow people to walk all over us. Not true! There is a healthy balance where you can respectfully be assertive while thoughtfully responding to what has just been done or said. As I mentioned in my response, there can be a momentary sense of gratification after “putting someone in their place” and trust me, I KNOW some people seem to need that reaction or don’t seem to be receptive to anything unless you do choose to react, but those same people also get gratification out of provoking you; when they see you react they know they have the ability to control your emotions. Although they may be somewhat offended by you putting them in their place, they still feel pride that they were able to disrupt your inner peace and joy. Those individuals will love knowing that although they may not have gotten what they set out to get, they still caused you to react which will likely spill over into the rest of your day and onto others you come in contact with. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t seem worth it. It’s also worth noting that these individuals are prepared to meet reaction with reaction, so a thoughtful response rather than a mindless reaction can truly throw a monkey wrench into their plans and really throw them off their game.

Some people we encounter may not even intentionally set out to provoke a reaction from us, so once their mindless reaction is met with a thoughtful response, this serves as a wake up call and reminds them that grace is better than retaliation. This could also serve as a reminder to believers that we are to be a reflection of God to others, and extend the grace He freely give us to others as well. To reiterate, you will be more successful some day than others, but the important fact is that you are acknowledging and putting forth the effort for self-correction. It will not happen over night, or even all at once, but over time you will see that the little corrections here and there will retrain your mind. I am in no way telling you not to stand up for yourself, but choose a wise way of doing so. There are usually always those extenuating circumstances, but normally those aren’t  occurring on the daily.

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I loved what I had to say at the very end of my response and I think God gave me those words in that moment! “Our mindset can change many things in our lives, and the beauty is, it can always be reset!”  We like to believe that we don’t have the power to retrain our minds, but this is simply false. I can tell you that from personal experience with extreme anxiety, panic attacks, depression and more, that I truly have felt with all my being that “I cannot come back from this. I am too far gone.” Something I want everyone out there reading is to know you are NEVER too far gone! You can always come back to center and reset. Trust me, anyone who would have witnessed how bad things got for me, would have said there is no way to recover from this and certainly not without being heavily medicated. While I am in no way condemning getting help in the form of medication, what I am saying is you CAN get back! God allowed me to get so lost that once I was able to find my way back, I knew how to help myself and more importantly, how to help others! I found understanding and purpose! So, if you’re someone who feels that you cannot retrain your mind to be more positive, that it’s impossible for you, hear me tell you IT IS ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE and if you truly desire to, YOU CAN DO IT! Self-correcting once a month, once a week, or once a day is all equally productive! It starts off small and over time will multiply and before you realize it, you are thoughtfully responding rather than mindlessly reacting! It takes no effort what-so-ever to impulsively react, but it takes true strength and character to be mindful of how you will respond.

Much Love and God Bless XO

Words, Words, Words.

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I woke up today with a message on my heart! I love when this happens!  I hope you beautiful people have all been feeling amazing and I pray we all have a great day and I also pray over these words that God may help us through me.

We have all heard the proverbial saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” This is an older saying, often proclaimed on a school playground to a bully or between adolescent siblings, in response to being teased. While I completely agree with the sentiment, we should never let the words of others have any control or power over us,  all too many times words have done much harm. Words may not “break your bones” but they can break you. They can break your spirit; the essence of who you are…IF you let them! The beauty of it all is that we have the power to rise above and know that things said about ourselves by other people are mainly said out of jealousy or to simply get a reaction. To disturb out inner peace.  Trust me, I do know some words are hard to ignore and even more so when they come from people we love deeply, have known for years, who are friends and even family, but even those closest to us have the ability to harm us through negative words.

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From my personal experiences, I truly believe in “hurt people, hurt people.”  Those who don’t deal with their inner pain and demons project their unhappiness, negativity and pain onto everyone around them. If they’re not happy in life, everyone else must suffer with them. Be wary of people like this. I’m not saying don’t love them, but I am saying don’t play their game; refuse to engage! These people feed off of your reaction, they love to see their words have provoked you. If you’re anything like myself, you can struggle with holding your tongue when people talk about you or others you love, or they’re just being plain hateful and rude to others. Sometimes, I do feel it is necessary to speak up and defend not only yourself, but the others around you, just choose your battles wisely.

I wish sometimes I didn’t respond so quickly out of anger or aggravation, but I’ll admit I do more often than I’d like. We all have the ability to be short-tempered, but to myself that’s just a foolish way to act. Childish. I often feel convicted after being snappy or short with my children or husband. They may not have done anything wrong, but my own internal issues are causing me to project onto them. I am allowing my own issues of the day to make me a person I don’t want to be. On the other hand, they may have provoked me in some way! My children may have just done something I tell them daily not to do or my husband could have given me attitude, but they’re all human. They are allowed to make mistakes just like I am. Instead of responding back to them in the same way, I should stop and think about why they have just acted that way. I should ask myself, what’s bothering them? How can I help them? I shouldn’t have a knee-jerk response and throw gasoline on the fire! What good does that do anyone? That is only going to make me ashamed a regretful later on.

How about people who blame other people for what their own life decisions have brought into action, or people who hold on to so much past that they allow it to wreck their present or even the people who use their past to justify their questionable behavior in the present. We all know people like this. I often wonder about why people act they way they act. I question what’s happened in their life to make then respond in certain ways or to act and speak certain ways. Although there may be past experiences that have caused them to be the way they are, there is a time in life where you have to let go of your past, give it to God and allow yourself to live a life free from the prison that is your past and grow. Don’t let the negative actions and words of others control your life indefinitely. Don’t let them feel like they’ve won. Also, we can’t let our past dictate how we live currently. We can’t constantly blame others for everything that’s wrong in our lives. We must take responsibility for decisions we ourselves have made and realize we can’t use our past as a crutch. So many of us won’t cut the cord from our past because then we can’t place blame on anyone else but ourselves. We have to be able to take our bad past and learn from it; learn how NOT to be, don’t continue any cycles. Think before you speak. Be slow to anger because as I posted above, you can’t get the word back after it’s said and those words can only ever be forgiven, usually they’re never forgotten.

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Now onto GOSSIP.

gos·sip
casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.
I would venture to say speaking about anyone when they are not present, in which case almost all of us would then be guilty of gossip of some kind. Whether factual or semi-factual or twisted versions of what was initial said, it’s all gossip. For some of us gossip isn’t meant to be malicious, it just sort of manifests during casual conversation…however, some others thrive on gossip, they want to know every detail about everyone’s life or to just comment on everyone’s life. Some gossips can keep the truth intact or partial truth, but some like to take many words out of context with the intent to stir the pot or cause trouble between people. Why do they do this? Many people are jealous of other’s happiness or even their relationships or friendships. They want to cause friction, be a wedge or cause a disruption. They want their words to cause problems and they want a reaction. They purposely tell specific people things because they know it will get back to who they want it to reach; using gossip as a cowardly way to confront others or voice their issues. If any of you out there know what I’m referring to, do not engage! Don’t take the bait! Sometimes it’s difficult not to want to know what others say behind our back or to answer back gossip by gossiping ourselves, even if it’s truth you are saying. Whether truth or not, it’s all gossip. Let our thoughts be positive, our responses positive, our words positive and our actions be positive. Let’s concern ourselves less with what others say about us or other people and concern ourselves more by rising above and  building others up. May our words encourage others, inspire others, project love onto others and reflect God’s grace and understanding. If it’s not something helpful and positive, let us think about what we’re saying and if it needs to be said. Remember, those who gossip with you or to you probably gossip about you.
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God, I pray today for myself and anyone who needs this message today. Please let us all be mindful of what we think, what we say and how we act. Let us strive to be more like You and less like others in this world. Let us work on our flaws and allow us to be a better reflection of You and what you stand for. Help us when we want to lose our tempers, when we want to blame others and not own up to our own actions, when we want to answer back insult or gossip with more of the same. Allow us to be an example to others and show them that even when we are on the receiving end of harsh, negative or spiteful words that we can rise above and uplift others while overlooking the comments of the people with poisonous attitudes and praying that they too find peace in their lives so they don’t feel the constant need to tear others down. May we all focus on the plank in our own eye instead of the speck in someone else’s. In your name I pray, Amen!

Much Love and God Bless 💚

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National Suicide Prevention Day 1-800-273-8255

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1-800-273-8255 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. They also offer texts and online chatting prevention services. Light a candle at 8pm and place it near a window ❤
A middle school girl locked herself in her bedroom. She often cried behind closed doors so no one else would see her. She sat there, gun in hand, finger on the trigger and gun resting against her temple. With tears flooding her face, she desperately wanted to pull the trigger, yet something tugged at her heart and for a moment she thought of all the people it would impact. All the times she thought to herself that so many lives would be improved if she weren’t alive, they disappeared in that brief moment. Scared, sad, ashamed and alone she took her finger away from the trigger and slowly moved the gun away from her head until it rested on the ground next to her. Wiping her face, she got up and unlocked her door and snuck off to return the gun to where it belonged. No one ever knew and no one would have ever known. I know she credits God for that moment of clarity in such a chaotic time in her mind. I know she would have missed out on so much happiness, happiness she never thought was possible; a wholeness she never thought attainable. I know she would have never experienced true love, marriage and multiple pregnancies/birth. She would have never been called wife or mother. I know all these things because that middle school girl was me.

Even the people who seem the happiest and always go out of their way to help others need help too. You never know what storm lies within another, so be kind and always show others that you care and they matter.

The topic of suicide should be freely discussed without judgment. It should always be a safe topic. It takes only a few seconds to truly ask someone how they are and listen to them. If anyone reading this ever needs anyone to vent to, I am always available.

There is a story that only you can finish, so please keep going and hang on because as much as you don’t believe it gets better….IT DOES!

;    Your Story Does Not End Here!

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Random Acts of Kindness

Today I’m going to shift gears a bit. I have been blogging more on serious issues, which I have no problem with, but sometimes you have to break it up a bit 😊 I think today shall be about kindness.

I often challenge others to go out and compliment at least one person; someone you know well or even someone you don’t. We never know what anyone else is feeling or what they’re enduring in the moment and our one act of kindness can have much more of an impact than we could ever comprehend. A compliment is just the beginning, but I am an advocate for any act of kindness. We can pay for someone’s lunch without them knowing, offer our assistance to someone we see who may need it, say something positive to someone, hand out “blessing bags” to people we see in need, hold the door for someone or simply just offer a smile to everyone we come in contact with or even pass by. The littlest actions can cause the biggest influence. It’s never about being recognized for your good deed, but imagine someone noticed what you were doing, it could potentially cause a ripple effect! What a wonderful tradition for not only adults to adopt, but children as well! Kindness is never overflowing in today’s world, but maybe that’s what we can aim for!

Not everyone will show gratitude. Not everyone will be thankful for your kindness, but my advice? DO IT ANYWAY.  Be a blessing that someone else needs in their lives.

We grew up with not a lot of money. We were on welfare at certain times when my dad would be in between jobs. We used the assistance until we could get back on our feet, then we would not use them any more. When we were younger it wasn’t as convenient either…no card. We had what looked like monopoly money that you had to tear out individually when you paid for your groceries and I believe had to sign each “bill”.  We would have only one car, never a working air conditioner and living in FL in constant heat, that’s a bummer. My parents would sometimes wonder how bills would get paid, but God always provided. My mom always somehow “magically” made the little bit of money we had stretch to feed our family of 5. So we were thankful to always have food on the table. My parents would be unable to pay a bill and all of a sudden a check would come in the mail and again, God provided. I bring this up because random acts of kindness made all the difference to us. We grew up near another family, a family of 7 I do believe 😝 and they were and are some of the nicest people I have ever known. They are always willing to help anyone in need. We struggled with cars a lot and working, dependable vehicles. One evening the father of the family came by and said to my dad, come with me. So I and I believe one of my brothers went with him and couple of his sons to head somewhere unknown to us. We ended up at a car lot where my dad was to sign papers for a used car this family had purchased for us. One act of kindness can change your whole outlook on life and how you view the people around you. I have no doubt that not growing up with a lot and having been witness to this family’s random acts of kindness resulted in my passion to continue and return the same to others, especially those in need.

I am thankful every single day for the life I have been given, even with all the good and bad. I am grateful beyond words and don’t take any thing for granted. I am blessed to be able to help others when they need it, and that’s one more point I’d like to add. Random acts of kindness can cost us money in some cases or examples I have you, but there are also random acts of kindness that cost nothing. You can offer your help and your time and that smile never costs a dime 😊❤ I would love you to take that challenge and comment back to this blog and tell me about your random act of kindness and how it played out. 💚🙏🙌

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