Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls 911. He gasps, “My friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator says, “Calm down. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is a silence—then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says, “OK, now what?”
Spike Milligan wrote this joke years ago. Although funny, it does illustrate how foolish we can be when we act without thinking. A wise man once said, “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception” (Proverbs 14:8 NIV).
Life usually comes at me fast and stopping to think is not often an option—at least that’s my excuse. Unfortunately, this only complicates my life. My reactions to the things life throws at me are immediate, but the consequences of my reactions can be long term.
Slowly I’m learning that most things in life do not require an immediate response from me—even if others are demanding it. If I want to be self-governed, then I have to stop reacting. I need to start thinking and responding according to the wisdom gained from musing with the Lord about a situation.
The key for me is in my feelings. If I am feeling driven (which results from thinking that I need to resolve an issue now), then I am not “giving thought to my ways.”
Rarely does something need our immediate attention. Taking time to pray and process before the Lord allows our thoughts and emotions to gain perspective. Seeking to view a situation from another’s perspective brings balance, compassion, and a bigger picture than what our emotions and thoughts might be dictating. Slowly a godly response is embraced and a reaction is avoided. We’re “giving thought to our ways.”
So that’s my story. What have you learned from reacting instead of giving thought to your ways?
In Him together, Susan Gaddis