I have been practicing staying calm lately, and honestly, I have had a lot of opportunities to practice. I remember three summers ago listening to a sermon about being slow to speak. The verse is James 1:19 – “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” And not that I have always displayed this, but I have kept it in my mind and tried my hardest to practice this.
I notice that I talk too much (don’t agree with me so quickly) and too quickly. Most of my drama is drama that I created myself by having too many opinions and having them too loudly. When I think about what I love about some of the people I’m closest too, I always come back to this same thing. I like that they are quieter than me. I am thinking about two friends in particular that are just as opinionated as I am but have not hurt others in the ways I have. I know this is because sometimes I can’t just shut up. I am also thinking of one of my sisters that doesn’t just accept what others say. I think I have caused a lot of hurt in my own life because sometimes I don’t shut up long enough to think that maybe what I just heard isn’t right, maybe I don’t have to agree, maybe it’s not actually what I think at all, and maybe I don’t have to say.
My adorable husband and I had an interesting conversation the other day about not just taking something people say for the absolute, non-budging, truth. For instance, why do we all just say things like “marriage is wonderful BUT it is A LOT of work.” I know this sounds stupid. Because, yes, of course, marriage is work sometimes. It’s so weird to me that everything positive has to be followed up with, Yes, it’s great, BUT….What if we all just switched our thinking a little to not automatically follow things up with negative comments? I understand that we all strive to be open and honest people, and yes, you want to make sure that people are prepared and don’t think it’s wrong if they are struggling in their marriage and want to talk about some of the difficulties. But I just can think of way too many examples of wonderful things that are automatically shifted to the tight mouthed, “yes, but…..” feeling too quickly.
Okay, not everyone, has to take this challenge, but we are.
Because I started noticing that I am too quick to say these things and that I participate in this way too much. “Yes, I would love to run errands with you BUT I am really really busy and have to be back by this time exactly or the world is over.” Or, “yes, I would love to go fishing with you BUT I can only go on Saturday because I have this, this, and this to do Sunday and am way too busy and I want you to know about it.” Why not just say, “Yes, Saturday fishing sounds great!”
I have had a lot of opportunities lately to break down and panic. And every time I choose to break down and panic about something, the next day it’s not so much of a big deal or it’s gone completely. I was actually having a little anxiety about something at work (more on this at a much later date) and was distracting myself by reading Harry (which is quite a defense mechanism lately) and loved Luna’s response to a tense situation. “No, I think I'll just go down and have some pudding and wait for it all to turn up... It always does in the end.”
So right now, I think I will just go have some ice cream on my deck, or go read a good book or go for a long run, or just be quiet and listen to my friends, and wait for it all to turn up. Maybe if I slow down with my quick (and most of the time, stupid) responses to everything, and focus more on being positive I will feel better about the situation – or, at the very least, I will feel better about myself in the situation. I’m sure it will all turn up in the end.