I was shocked, insulted, and angry. Someone had said and done something that hit me wrong in every way—and I instantly knew what I no longer wanted to do. That was my reaction. But my spirit gently prompted me to not jump to a hasty decision. In that moment, and for the hours and days that followed, I needed to put the brakes on my emotions and seek the Lord. I needed to ACT in faith, not REACT in frustration.
Waiting Is Necessary
In this troubled world, any number of things could potentially upset us. Cause us to have a knee-jerk reaction. Make us feel like we need to defend ourselves or our reputation. Push us to put someone in their place and make them regret ever saying or doing that cruel, thoughtless, or inconsiderate thing. But we must know that misunderstandings happen, even with those we know and love most.
My situation surprised me; it cut close and deep. This made waiting on the Lord (instead of immediately doing what my emotions were screaming to do) a challenge. Still, it was necessary to wait. Hear. Heal. Then and only then could I do what the Lord wanted me to do. So, I waited, resisting my impulses, and refusing to react in frustration. I asked the Lord to help me. Slowly, surely, He graciously gave me wisdom. Here is what I received: Don’t React—ACT.
- A cknowledge the Lord
- C arefully Listen
- T ake the Next Step
Walking through the Process
When we react, we behave in a certain way in direct response to a person or a situation. We may express hostility, deliberately taking a conflicting oppositional stance. The problem is when we react, we usually get negative results. So, the Lord nudges us by His Spirit to ACT. Choose a higher way. See the person or situation through the filter of His Word and His love. See beyond our own blind spots, whatever they may be. It could be that we may have said or done something which contributed to the problem.
That is why when we react, the Lord leads us to ACT. Then He walks us through a process, step by step, to produce the best outcome.
Step One: Acknowledge Him. Proverbs 3:5–6 says, “Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways, know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]” (AMP). When we are hurting, the Lord invites us to come to Him (Matt. 11:28). Acknowledge Him in our situation. When we do, we receive His promise—HE will straighten out the path that has become crooked. HE will smooth the rough, tattered road we have found ourselves on…by making His strength perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:8–9).
Step Two: Carefully Listen. Having acknowledged God, crying out to Him instead of venting our steamy emotions in a negative way, we receive the promise of His peace (Phil. 4:6–7). That is when we can LISTEN. Hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit guiding us into all truth (Jn. 16:13). At this point, we should remain still and take in every drop of wisdom, letting it cycle within us and go deep in our soul. Then we can rise from prayer, and if needed, write down what the Lord has told us before moving forward…in peace.
Step Three: Take the Next Step. In Hebrew, hearing is doing. The word, shema, for example, means to “hear” or “listen,” which includes obeying or doing what is asked.1 When the Lord gives us wisdom, blesses us with direction, it is time to take the next step. A step of faith, not of frustration. A step of wisdom, not of accusation. A step that brings healing and restoration because we have been healed. God can amaze us by showing how to approach a difficult situation or by revealing exactly what we should say to resolve, not inflame, a misunderstanding. After being in God’s presence, our next step can be one of trust (in the Lord); peace (in our soul); and purpose (to do what pleases Him).
In fact, this article is a step in a process for me to resolve a misunderstanding. When the Lord led me to write it, I knew that He would show me what I needed to do next. Some problems have simple solutions and others take more time and effort to resolve. Either way, learning how to ACT instead of reacting is our path to wholeness that can, by God’s grace, extend to others.
Would You Pray with Me?
At this moment, Lord, we come to You with an open heart to receive Your wisdom. You are all-knowing, ever-present, and all-powerful. Nothing is impossible to You. So, we cast our cares on You knowing that You care for us. We confess that we are angry, but we will avoid falling into sin. We confess that we want to do what You tell us (in Your Word and in prayer), and that by Your grace, we will not react in anger. We will forgive. Thank You for healing us, Lord. Thank You for helping us to wait upon You. In Jesus’ Name, we declare that we will obey You in this situation. We will take the steps You reveal to us, believing for complete restoration and a full resolution. We trust You, Lord. Amen.
Go in grace and peace, my friend.
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1 Tverberg, Lois A. with Okkema, Bruce. Listening to the Language of the Bible: Hearing It Through Jesus’ Ears, En-Gedi Resource Center, Inc., Holland, MI 49422-1707. Copyright © 2004, 2006.
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