This week I was playing an educational game with my grands. The 6-year-old wasn’t getting his way and I could see the emotional storm brewing. He’s usually a sunny kid. Although it wasn’t a competitive game, his perception was that he was being undermined and the thunder rolled in! After the wind and rain and a full-on emotional storm hit, I gave him the option to calm down away from the game. It didn’t help much, so I tried to bring some peace to the winds and waves with more choices. The one that included a snack did the trick. Grandparents can pick their battles, too!
I’ve written books for kids about choices and how much they matter. We talked about who he really is, strong and courageous. And that it’s his choice in how he responds to these feelings.
I had to give myself the same ‘choices’ talk yesterday. After a grueling 90-minute commute, I needed to make one stop for an item I’d forgotten to get for my husband. A woman brazenly cut in front of me in the check-out line and her attitude riled me. What was that about? I got the impression she felt a lot of superiority as she stepped past me and set her goods down. Perhaps a childhood insecurity was creeping up on my part, but the rudeness of her behavior was obvious. So, I stepped across to the only other checkout, but it had an upside-down closed sign, so I asked. The young man growled that he would go ahead and take me, making sure I understood my few items were an inconvenience to him personally. I tried to be sympathetic, asking if he’d had a long day, beginning to feel like I needed my own pity party. He literally roared NO and that he shouldn’t even be there anymore.
That stormy moment with my grandson came to mind as I faced my irritation head-on the rest of the way home in my car. These were really small incidents. Why was I affected by them? One of the things I used for the 6-year-old would also help me with immediate emotional well-being. Food! I hadn’t taken the time to eat well. That, and some Quiet time. It’s so easy to get sucked into the emotion of the world around us. There’s plenty of opportunity for irritation, taking on another’s ‘storm’, feeling undermined or offended if it’s not ‘our way’. We also have choices.
We can choose to become a part of the storm and continue it or choose to be a conduit of peace with the ripple effect it brings. It begins internally. We cannot give what we do not have. My well-being doesn’t come from outward sources. Not from circumstances or emotions. Not from others’ validating who I am or any insecurities from my past.
I believe we partner with beyond-human power one way or another. And we’re created with free will. We get to choose what we partner with.
There is only One who is the Prince of Peace. What He says about me is what matters. One can never have true peace without allowing Him to be The Source of Truth in our lives. And unless we believe that Truth, we don’t understand who we truly are. Like my grandson, my response is a choice. (We both chose peace, although it might have taken me longer to get there!)
When we choose to believe the truth of the Bible, we become truly free. I won’t rise above the injustices of this world unless I live with His Truth. Letting go of offenses and not having my way is the ‘dying to self’ that He taught.
Recognizing His truth will bring freedom to live with the conscious awareness of what matters most – my identity comes from One Source, the God in whose image I’m created. That brings peace to any storms I have.
My books that teach kids (and adults) about how much our choices matter, are available on Amazon. Or you can go to my Books page.
Copyright 2019 Nadine Patton
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