God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
When I saw this on Facebook, it reminded me of the most important lesson in my day to day life that the Serenity Prayer taught me: I cannot control or change others, but I can with God's help control and change me. Change my outlook, change how I handle situations. Perhaps most important, since I had gotten to the point that I flew off the handle at anyone, about almost anything before I came back to Christ, it taught me not to react.
A reaction is knee-jerk, instantaneous. You react before any thought takes place. You react before you can breath a prayer. While a quick reaction while driving can save your life, in personal relationships, a reaction is often over-the-top. More than the situation calls for. It also tends not to include the other persons feelings at all.
So, more and more, my prayer became "Lord, help me not to simply react, but to respond." A response takes longer. A response allows time to think, time to whisper a prayer. A response quickly considers fallout and another's feelings. A response can ask a question for clarification. Overall, responses tend to be calmer, quieter than reactions.
Do I get tired, stressed, overwrought and sometimes revert back to reactions? Sure, I do. But now days, I blow up at someone maybe once a month, not three or four times a day. People who see me blow up, may shake their heads and wonder about me, maybe even doubt my religion. But God, those closest to me, and I know the vast difference from where I was to where I am. Truth is, no one, not the head shakers, nor I, will be perfect this side of Glory. We all are works in progress.
Do you tend to react, or to respond? Would you say you have or have at one time struggled with anger issues? If so, how does/did your anger manifest itself? (Me: yelling, cursing, slamming things).