A Quiet Pause

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;

                                                James 1:19a

 

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

 

                                                James 4:7-8a

 

I have to admit that I had quite the challenging week at work last week. In between too many tasks, pending deadlines, office politics, and a co-worker who seemed to commandeer the majority of the focus in a couple of team meetings onto her work, I found myself at what seemed to be a Planck Length away from the devil’s fingertip spinning chaos into my work environment (side note: no, I didn’t know what the smallest possible measurement of length was until I Googled it. A Planck Length is equivalent to around a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter across. Give me a shout out if you use this information on Jeopardy). My pesky co-worker made a comment that she said was in jest to me; my reaction after a white hot bolt of angry energy went through me was to turn heel and walk quickly away, but not before tossing a defensive retort. I’m sure I left her quite stunned, as that is not normally how I react. I texted a mutual friend and co-worker who witnessed the exchange and her one word response: “Breathe”).

 

An hour later (only because we were both in a meeting with our leadership team), I knew I had to apologize to her for my reaction. I walked to her desk and apologized, but only half-heartedly, as I was still a bit irked. She started smiling as I tried to explain my reaction. When I asked why she was smiling, she explained that she didn’t want to poke the proverbial bear. We were at an impasse and I walked away in all my bear-ness. I was still perturbed as I worked a little bit more, ire growing as I pondered the environment that led me to react as I did, even as I left work and drove to our prayer meeting at church. Yes, I nursed what I perceived to be a hypocritical slight into quite a healthy grudge against her and others in various offices at work, all while I drove to spend time with my brothers and sisters in Christ communing with our Creator. Boy howdy, was I in a snit.

 

I shared a little bit about the thundercloud that danced around my head with my fellow Jesus followers as we talked. I knew that my mood was overblown, and I knew the origin: the enemy. He got the better of me as I reacted to my co-worker (who, it should be said, is one of my dearest friends. I don’t think I would have reacted in such a way with someone I didn’t know as well as I do her, if that makes sense?), and then he continued to feed my rancor by pointing out to me all the ways I’d been wronged, and I let him. My annoyance dissipated as the evening unfolded, through the discussion and prayer that happened that night.

 

As I prayed about it the next morning in my communion time with Him, He showed me some of the “opportunities” I had to preempt my resentment and reaction, and reminded me that His word provided solutions to them at the micro- and macro levels. His solution: quiet pauses.

 

At the micro level, that moment in which the white hot bolt of anger went through me, instead of allowing that anger to focus my response, I could have called to mind the words of James 1:19 and been slow to speak and slow to anger. In order to be quick to listen but slow to speak and to anger, one has to pause to allow the Holy Spirit to guide the reaction and response. (The inspiration and beauty in my other friend’s admonition of “Breathe” right afterward really drove home the point of calling on the Holy Spirit, the Breath of God).

 

Then at the macro level, the message in the above James 4 scripture comes into play. I also should have acknowledged my need for the Holy Spirit to enable me to stop giving the enemy a foothold in my thoughts and feelings. I could have called upon Him to redirect my emotions and not allow the continued fueling of my irritation. I should have submitted to His authority and sovereignty, which would have enabled me to resist the actions of the enemy, causing him to flee from me. In so doing, I would draw near to God, and He would reciprocate. Ahh, what wonderful lessons His Word provides, if we would just avail ourselves of them.

 

Prayer Requests

  • For us to realize our dependence on Him, both individually and corporately
  • For the victims of natural disasters, violence, and other aspects of living in this world
  • For us to be the light that this world needs so the lost can glimpse the love of Jesus in each of us

 

I’m thankful that my Lord and Creator teaches me how to cope with the challenges that this world throws at me, all the while walking with me through them. He bears my burdens with me, when I allow Him to. Do you let Him bear yours?

 

Quotes

 

“When the Holy Spirit lays something in your heart, move without hesitation. You have no idea who may be depending on your immediate obedience.”

“Jesus didn’t have to agree with people to be kind to them.”