Reaction: an action performed or a feeling experience in response to a situation or event.
The kick of a gun. Pulling away from a hot surface. Laughing when you’re tickled. All reactions.
I live most of my life reacting, as do most of us I’m sure. Many of my actions come from a place of response to what I’m feeling or experiencing. Naturally so. But what happens when these reactions aren’t good? What happens when my reaction comes from my flesh?
Every reaction has consequences. You feel the gun lodge into your shoulder. Your hand may get a little bit burned. You try to avoid the source of your tickling. It creates a ripple affect. Some consequences are trivial. They lead to nothing and affect no one. But others, well those are the ones I’m learning about today.
My reactions can become habits. If I do this because I’m feeling this way in this situation, over and over again, it’s slowly becoming my instinct. I’ve created a fleshly response to a situation.
For example, when I feel rejected, my reaction is to find something or someone who won’t reject me. I put myself into a situation where I feel validated. Instead of dealing with whatever the source of the rejection or perceived rejection is, I search for acceptance.
I think we all do this. Our false gods of acceptance can be many things – shopping, people, food, working out, alcohol. And maybe part of the problem is that we don’t really look at the chain of events that happened. All we know is that one day, we’re in massive amounts of debt, or we’re tangled up in a relational situation, or we’ve got a problem with food or alcohol.
I’ve mentioned before that Counselor Kevin and I had a really good talk about my boundaries and identifying where I started crossing lines. The other day I saw the pattern. I saw what triggered me to fall down a rabbit hole, wake up on the other side, and shake my head in disbelief. I started inching my way towards the hole. Carefully peering down pretending that I actually enjoyed the free fall last time.
All the while my brain is quietly reminding me of the consequences. That His best is never down a dark rabbit hole. That at some point, these actions will affect other people, and to some extent already have. Forget the conversations that have to come because of them, think of the conversations that have to happen if they continue in a different stage of life.
My foot was slipping on the edge as I took a deep breath and prepared to fall. But it felt like someone pushed me down back onto firm ground. I landed with a thud, air whooshing out of my body, and my head slamming on the ground.
No. Not this time. Not again. My action will not be reactive to my circumstances. My action will be proactive.
Proactive: creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after.
Papa’s best for me is never reactive.