You Always Have a Choice

Brick WallThis is something that I often forget when the heat is on.

I feel like I need to step in and take control of the “wall” I’ve just hit. I think that by wagging my boney finger in that walls face, it will move or, better yet, bow to my commanding voice!

I think that I’m showing the wall who’s the boss! I’m convincing the wall of my superior logic or dazzling it with my lightening speed and clever comebacks. I’m expecting that the wall will crumble at my feet or cower in the corner—but instead the wall looms ever bigger as I hit it even harder.

The problem is, when I try to control the wall, I’ve already lost the battle. The only thing I’m convincing the wall of, is that I’m reckless with my words, my emotions and, simply put, out of control.

What I need to remember when I feel up against the wall, is that controlling the wall is NOT my only option.

I need to remember that I have a choice to turn a chaotic, out of control situation into one that is yielded—in controlbecause I can yield myself to God who is always in control.

Christ wants me to intentionally choose to surrender to His power, so that He can bring His grace, peace and redemptive touch to the chaotic situation.

What does that look like, you say?

It looks like …

  • A humble admission of my failure.
  • A whispered prayer rather than a word spoken in anger.
  • A focus on what I can control, instead of trying to control what I can’t.
  • A willingness to examine myself, rather than examine my offender’s actions.
  • An offer of forgiveness, even if my offender never admits his or her wrong.
  • A gentle, loving example that perseveres through this unfair moment—shouldering the wrong, even absorbing the wrong—because that’s what Christ would do.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” –Romans 12:21 (NIV)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” –Galatians 5:22 (NIV)

photo credit by Steve Snodgrass

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Joining with NOBH, Works for Me Wednesday, and To Love Honor and Vacuum

WW rules:

    1. Write in any way you feel inspired about marriage, parenthood or anything that reflects Christ’s redemption in your life.
    2. Be sure to include a link to Wedded Wednesday or add the WW button to your current blog post and/or sidebar.
    3. Visit and comment on at least one other person’s blog that’s linked up here.

    Optional but encouraged:

    • Consider setting up your Gravatar profile and Disqus Profile with a link to your blog … it makes it so much easier for all of us to find those of you who blog!
    • If you have the time, visit those who visit your blog and comment at their place as well … sort of a “Say it forward.”
    Come join our Wednesday Link-up!

    • Beth … I love that we get to choose to respond instead of reacting, be empowered rather than feel powerless, be strong in our decisions rather than be victims. This is good stuff, girl!

      • You worded that exactly how I feel, Linda. I used to live like a “victim” many years ago and sometimes still fall back into that trap. It’s so very easy to do, but God just keeps on reminding me of how strong and powerful He is to deal with any of the “walls” in my life! Thanks so much for stopping in to encourage me, sweet sister!

    • Beth … I love that we get to choose to respond instead of reacting, be empowered rather than feel powerless, be strong in our decisions rather than be victims. This is good stuff, girl!

    • bluecottonmemory

      I love this – I need this:

      An offer of forgiveness, even if my offender never admits his or her wrong.
      A gentle, loving example that perseveres through this unfair moment—shouldering the wrong, even absorbing the wrong—because that’s what Christ would do.-

      My question is what do you do with the hurt? How do you stop it – or do we still live with it loving through the pain – because it can be a lifetime of pain.

      • Yes, forgiveness is such a hard concept to wrap our brains around, especially when we are repeatedly hurt by an offender.

        For me, giving that hurt continually–moment-by-moment–to God is what I “do” with the hurt. And He has been faithful to comfort me. I may still hurt, but alongside that hurt is God’s joy, peace and grace. When I stay focused on Him, I’m able to bear up under the pain.

        But let me be clear, even though I believe we should forgive our offender, that doesn’t mean we should let them take advantage of us. Proper boundaries need to be put in place … but that’s a post for another day!

        It’s all about the “surrendering” of the hurt to God that I’m talking about today. I hope that helps clarify, my friend. If you want to ask me more, please feel free to email me. My contact tab has my email address. 🙂

    • bluecottonmemory

      I love this – I need this:

      An offer of forgiveness, even if my offender never admits his or her wrong.
      A gentle, loving example that perseveres through this unfair moment—shouldering the wrong, even absorbing the wrong—because that’s what Christ would do.-

      My question is what do you do with the hurt? How do you stop it – or do we still live with it loving through the pain – because it can be a lifetime of pain.

    • Nan

      This is so true. We can’t control others. We aren’t responsible for their behavior, but we are responsible for our own response to their behavior!

      I remember when my kids were younger and telling me about their conflict with a friend, and I would ask “Well, what did YOU say? What did YOU do?” I wanted them to focus on their part of the conflict.

      As you said, we need to look at our behavior and apologize for OUR part, whether their forgiveness is offered or whether OUR forgiveness is accepted.

      It hurts to hit that wall. We need Jesus to help us keep on loving and keep on forgiving because we certainly can’t do it on our own! Thanks for hosting today.

      • I love how you are encouraging your kids, Nan, to see the value in taking control of what each of them can do … especially as we rely on Christ to work through us. I wish I had been taught to look at my contribution and what I could do about it when I was a kid, but God has been faithful to be my teacher all along the way. One thing I was taught by my parents – how very much God can help me in times of trouble. For that I’m so very grateful! Thanks so much for coming by and linking up, my friend! It’s been a joy to get to know you better. 🙂

    • Nan

      This is so true. We can’t control others. We aren’t responsible for their behavior, but we are responsible for our own response to their behavior!

      I remember when my kids were younger and telling me about their conflict with a friend, and I would ask “Well, what did YOU say? What did YOU do?” I wanted them to focus on their part of the conflict.

      As you said, we need to look at our behavior and apologize for OUR part, whether their forgiveness is offered or whether OUR forgiveness is accepted.

      It hurts to hit that wall. We need Jesus to help us keep on loving and keep on forgiving because we certainly can’t do it on our own! Thanks for hosting today.

    • Sherry- Intentionally Yours

      What an AWESOME perspective on controlling!! I love it and can’t wait to share it with others… THANK you for sharing this, Beth…I’m sharing it on Intentionally Your’s Facebook page!!

      • I’m so glad you found it helpful, Sherry! You’ve encouraged me greatly, my friend. And, as always, I appreciate all of you over at Intentionally Yours, linking up over here! You each have such powerful stories to tell of God’s redemption. Love it!

    • Sherry- Intentionally Yours

      What an AWESOME perspective on controlling!! I love it and can’t wait to share it with others… THANK you for sharing this, Beth…I’m sharing it on Intentionally Your’s Facebook page!!

    • I have often tripped up on the “focus on myself instead of others” part — for years. Lots of sad years. I could tell my children, as Nan mentioned, to focus on what they contributed to a problem, but didn’t practice what I preached.

      It both hurts and heals and humbles to do so.

      Thanks, Beth!

      • Yes, I’ve found that to be true, Amy. It’s one thing to know this is what you should do in times of conflict, but another to have the faith and will to do it! I wrote this post out of my own frustration with how silly I can be when faced with a “wall.” I still think I have more power than I do and unfortunately, that also means I feel God doesn’t have enough power to deal with it. I’m learning, very slowly, to trust Him more and more. And He’s never let me down! Thanks so much for sharing such a vulnerable disclosure, my friend. And I love having you link up here as well. 🙂

    • I have often tripped up on the “focus on myself instead of others” part — for years. Lots of sad years. I could tell my children, as Nan mentioned, to focus on what they contributed to a problem, but didn’t practice what I preached.

      It both hurts and heals and humbles to do so.

      Thanks, Beth!

    • Ah, self-control. Do you know what really kicks me in the pants, Beth? When I’m pounding the wall, and my six-year-old says, “Mom, that’s not good self-control.” To be more like Christ… And to see him in my kids. I’m grateful for the chance to do both.

      • Even though I totally get the pain you’re feeling (because my kids have called me on my behavior too), it’s so wonderful that they:
        1) Feel safe enough to confront you (probably because you are a loving and receptive mom)
        2) That they know what acting like a Christ-follower means and looks like–so you must be a great teacher, albeit, human and flawed “model” at times. But then who isn’t? 🙂

        Thanks so much for linking your incredible blog up here each week, Becky! Wedded Wed wouldn’t be the same without your smiling face!

    • Ah, self-control. Do you know what really kicks me in the pants, Beth? When I’m pounding the wall, and my six-year-old says, “Mom, that’s not good self-control.” To be more like Christ… And to see him in my kids. I’m grateful for the chance to do both.

    • You worded that exactly how I feel, Linda. I used to live like a “victim” many years ago and sometimes still fall back into that trap. It’s so very easy to do, but God just keeps on reminding me of how strong and powerful He is to deal with any of the “walls” in my life! Thanks so much for stopping in to encourage me, sweet sister!

    • Yes, forgiveness is such a hard concept to wrap our brains around, especially when we are repeatedly hurt by an offender.

      For me, giving that hurt continually–moment-by-moment–to God is what I “do” with the hurt. And He has been faithful to comfort me. I may still hurt, but alongside that hurt is God’s joy, peace and grace. When I stay focused on Him, I’m able to bear up under the pain.

      But let me be clear, even though I believe we should forgive our offender, that doesn’t mean we should let them take advantage of us. Proper boundaries need to be put in place … but that’s a post for another day!

      It’s all about the “surrendering” of the hurt to God that I’m talking about today. I hope that helps clarify, my friend. If you want to ask me more, please feel free to email me. My contact tab has my email address. 🙂

    • I love how you are encouraging your kids, Nan, to see the value in taking control of what each of them can do … especially as we rely on Christ to work through us. I wish I had been taught to look at my contribution and what I could do about it when I was a kid, but God has been faithful to be my teacher all along the way. One thing I was taught by my parents – how very much God can help me in times of trouble. For that I’m so very grateful! Thanks so much for coming by and linking up, my friend! It’s been a joy to get to know you better. 🙂

    • I’m so glad you found it helpful, Sherry! You’ve encouraged me greatly, my friend. And, as always, I appreciate all of you over at Intentionally Yours, linking up over here! You each have such powerful stories to tell of God’s redemption. Love it!

    • Yes, I’ve found that to be true, Amy. It’s one thing to know this is what you should do in times of conflict, but another to have the faith and will to do it! I wrote this post out of my own frustration with how silly I can be when faced with a “wall.” I still think I have more power than I do and unfortunately, that also means I feel God doesn’t have enough power to deal with it. I’m learning, very slowly, to trust Him more and more. And He’s never let me down! Thanks so much for sharing such a vulnerable disclosure, my friend. And I love having you link up here as well. 🙂

    • Even though I totally get the pain you’re feeling (because my kids have called me on my behavior too), it’s so wonderful that they:
      1) Feel safe enough to confront you (probably because you are a loving and receptive mom)
      2) That they know what acting like a Christ-follower means and looks like–so you must be a great teacher, albeit, human and flawed “model” at times. But then who isn’t? 🙂

      Thanks so much for linking your incredible blog up here each week, Becky! Wedded Wed wouldn’t be the same without your smiling face!

    • OutnumberedMom

      I like what that looks like, Beth. Painting a picture for us with the practicals. Thanks.

      • Thanks so much, Laura Lee. I appreciate you coming by to encourage me, friend!

    • Hey Girlfriend, grab the popcorn! You WON the ‘Ring the Bell’ DVD! Email me your address … and ENJOY!

    • Hey Girlfriend, grab the popcorn! You WON the ‘Ring the Bell’ DVD! Email me your address … and ENJOY!

    • Uggh.. so much conviction here. ABSORBING the wrong- that’s a powerful reminder. And a hard one. Thanks for never letting me settle for a mediocre marriage, Beth!

      • Yes, those are convicting words to me too, Alicia. It’s a daily act of surrender to our Savior that I’m challenging myself to do as well. And my prayer is that, in these acts of faith, our marriages would be magnificent and never mediocre. 🙂 Thanks so much for encouraging me, my friend. I love seeing your link in the WW line up as well.

    • sue

      Love this! A new Linking Party begins THIS Saturday over at
      Thet2women.com and we would love if you would link this up there on Sat!
      Thanks! Here’s the link:
      http://thet2women.com/welcome-to-one-sharendipity-place/

      • Thanks, Sue. I’ll look into it. And thanks for your encouraging words as well. 🙂

    • sue

      Love this! A new Linking Party begins THIS Saturday over at
      Thet2women.com and we would love if you would link this up there on Sat!
      Thanks! Here’s the link:
      http://thet2women.com/welcome-to-one-sharendipity-place/

    • Thanks so much, Laura Lee. I appreciate you coming by to encourage me, friend!

    • Yay!!! Thanks for your great giveaway, Linda!

    • Yes, those are convicting words to me too, Alicia. It’s a daily act of surrender to our Savior that I’m challenging myself to do as well. And my prayer is that, in these acts of faith, our marriages would be magnificent and never mediocre. 🙂 Thanks so much for encouraging me, my friend. I love seeing your link in the WW line up as well.

    • Thanks, Sue. I’ll look into it. And thanks for your encouraging words as well. 🙂

    • rboerner

      Walls are super hard but for some crazy reason I love to spar with them! I can relate to the forgiving even if they don’t apologize for their wrong. I hold myself back from experiencing God in control when I get hung up on others wrongdoings and their need to admit their own faults

      • You and me, both, Becky! Those walls just beckon us to come at them. haha! But God is faithful to teach us how to surrender to Him whenever we get tired of hitting that wall. Just wish I’d get tired of it sooner. 😉 Thanks so much for coming on over during an especially busy month. I appreciate it, girlfriend!

    • rboerner

      Walls are super hard but for some crazy reason I love to spar with them! I can relate to the forgiving even if they don’t apologize for their wrong. I hold myself back from experiencing God in control when I get hung up on others wrongdoings and need to admit

    • Unfortunately, all too often I finally come to that place after I have beat myself senseless on the wall. Love that verse from Galatians. It’s always a great reminder for me. 🙂

      • Even though we don’t give up soon enough on our foolish pursuit of “sparring with the wall.” I’m so glad God doesn’t give up on “us” either, Kim. And yes, that verse is a constant reminder of the Christ-like character I long for too. Thanks for your encouragement and so excited to join forces with your “Share Your Story” here in this place, my sweet friend! You make me feel “too darn happy!”

    • Unfortunately, all too often I finally come to that place after I have beat myself senseless on the wall. Love that verse from Galatians. It’s always a great reminder for me. 🙂

    • You and me, both, Becky! Those walls just beckon us to come at them. haha! But God is faithful to teach us how to surrender to Him whenever we get tired of hitting that wall. Just wish I’d get tired of it sooner. 😉 Thanks so much for coming on over during an especially busy month. I appreciate it, girlfriend!

    • Even though we don’t give up soon enough on our foolish pursuit of “sparring with the wall.” I’m so glad God doesn’t give up on “us” either, Kim. And yes, that verse is a constant reminder of the Christ-like character I long for too. Thanks for your encouragement and so excited to join forces with your “Share Your Story” here in this place, my sweet friend! You make me feel “too darn happy!”