Our REactions Reveal What’s in Our Head & Heart

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 12.02.23 PM“The remarkable thing is I have a choice every day of what my attitude will be. I cannot change my past. I cannot change the actions of others. I cannot change the inevitable. The only thing I can change is attitude. Life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it.” ― Charles R. Swindoll

Multiple credible sources say that life is 90% about our reactions. If that is so, it behooves us to learn to react in ways that are beneficial. To do that we have to decide ahead of time who we are because reactions come from that deep place. They may be flippant and short lived, or drawn out for months or years. . . but the truth is a reaction comes from what we believe in our hearts and in our heads.

Years ago, I reacted to a friends cutting accusations by reeling in hurt for far too long. The truth was she had seen right through me, but my pride kept me from realizing it and owning up to what she was getting at. My intent was mostly pure. I wanted to help. Had I been forthright and acknowledged the fact that she was right – I did believe she needed help because she was inadequate (ouch), things might have been completely different. Instead of lovingly saying, you are right, ‘I do think you are deficient, we are all inadequate in some areas – that’s why we live in community,’ I reacted with an uncalled for amount of hurt.

I’m not excusing her words – it was an attack and even upon my apology she ridiculed me telling me I was acting like an adolescent. But that is not the point.

The truth was, not only did I truly want to offer my help because I knew that my education had given me tools she did not have, I wanted her approval because she had status within our community and I believed she held power. Sadly, it took me a long time of reeling before I chose to examine my beliefs and change my reaction.

I know many a person, like me, who claim to believe that ‘all things work together for good’, or ‘everything happens for a reason’ but when things don’t go as planned they react in ways that that reflect quite the contrary. Why? Because they doubt the truth of what they say they believe.

If you are in the midst of a reaction that isn’t beneficial, I hope that you will not spend time letting the wound fester. I hope that you will re-examine your heart and your head and make the choice to change your reaction accordingly. As Swindoll says our attitude is something we can change.

If you have flippant, quick reactions that you are not proud of, I hope you too will get to the core of what is causing them – then do the work it takes to change your beliefs to what you know as right, truthful and beneficial for you and the world you influence.

Saving Relationships – Step #9 – No Time?


I have to confess in the past I thought “I just don’t have time to work on my marriage” – or excused my husband because he was just too busy. Now I laugh when I hear people say this.  I know from experience that when I don’t take the time to maintain a good marriage it takes a ton of time (and for us – it took money too!) to restore the relationship.

I do wonder why God made everything in life take so much maintenance! From our personal appearance to our homes, cars and relationships….everything takes maintenance!  And when I don’t stay on top of things, they end up overwhelming me. When I don’t keep up with my daily chores and let everyone slide on their daily chores the house becomes a wreck and I dread dread dread the cleanup! So it is with my marriage. A good yearly spring cleaning is still a good idea even when I stay up with the daily disciplines but it doesn’t have to be so intense.

Marriage takes daily discipline too. From the things talked about in Step #4 like listening, affection, affirmation, unexpected gifts, to the simple loving words and gestures that communicate a desire for a good relationship.  When we let these daily disciplines go, we’re in for trouble.

While a marriage retreat, counseling or coaching may do a marriage a world of good, life is a lot more pleasant when we take the time to regularly nurture our relationships then, do these things to enrich a good thing – making a good marriage great –  like a good spring cleaning on a well kept house.

If your daily disciplines have been lacking and you’re feeling that sense of overwhelm or hopelessness – don’t despair – just do something!You may be able to simply begin implementing good daily relational disciplines.  You may need to begin healing through counseling. Or coaching may be right for you. When you want a better future and consciously make the choice to do something(s) differently, realizing that you have the power to be greater than the problem, you can count on a future that is better than ever before. Whether your relationship is in shambles or just status quo – coaching can make a big difference. And it can help even if your spouse isn’t interested. As the saying goes, “it only takes one person to change the world” and all you want to do is change your marriage!

One of my mottos for life that has served me very well: When something isn’t working, try something different – even if I’m not thrilled with any of my options. . . different is always better because even if it doesn’t work, it leads me to the next step which is one step closer to my solution. As you take time to consider what step you’ll take, try…..

Step #9  
Spend a little time daily 
to save a lot of time later 


and sick if you ask me.
This is not what we’re going for.

Words Can Hurt But You Are Stronger! #1

strong-armEven the strongest characters, occasionally have their hearts wounded by words that come at them like flaming arrows.  How is it that some seem to deflect these flaming arrows, on a regular basis, virtually unscathed while others seem to be shaped by them?

A popular theory is that if parents, teachers and friends are affirming and positive that a child, when grown, will be a strong, healthy individual with great self-esteem. In a way, I wish that were true, but it only takes a minute to think of people I know personally who have overcome a terrible childhood and because of it, are now armed with a shield that protects their heart. And then there are others, like me, who came to depend on those affirming words heard as a child in order to feel good about themselves and be strong in this world but ….when the apron strings were cut, I wasn’t so strong.  Certainly every child deserves to have adoring parents and granted, it does affect a child positively, but there are no guarantees as to how a a person will survive once in the real world.

I guess it’s best that way. It keeps us all in the same boat with equal opportunity to grow into the strength intended for each of us.  So how do we do that? The strength of the Spirit within each of us is the same, yet some of us hold onto this weakness with a mighty grip quenching what the Spirit in us longs to give. Why not let go of that grip and be free?

Just imagine wearing a shield that could deflect flaming arrows. Now imagine those arrows as carrying words that have hurt you – and still do hurt you.  Wouldn’t it be cool to have protection from them? What if the only words that could penetrate the shield were words of truth? Truth, truth and nothing but the truth.

Yeah, I admit sometimes the truth hurts too – but those are the words I want to embrace, even if they hurt.  Maybe I need to do something with them – like ask for forgiveness – or take action so they are not true any longer or just learn how think about them productively.  Where the truth gives life – embracing lies can be deadly. Hurtful words are most often lies and lies, when believed, can be deadly.  It’s truth that makes us light in the world. It’s truth that sets us free. Understanding the power I have to control which words I allow to affect me has been intriguing, freeing and empowering, both in the spiritual sense and in the physical sense.  Oh, it’s good to be free from the power of unkind words!