Disappointments occur almost daily. Maybe an unkind word meant to be a joke but it still hurts. Disagreements, shaming, unequal treatment, frustrating politics, troubled past or feeling miserable for you cannot change the outcome of your bad decisions.
Yet, I have learned that our response to the hurt would make it worse than the hurt itself. In reality, the past is for redemptive reflection, not for blaming or collecting. Why should we go about collecting “garbage” when there is no obligation to do so? Why must we expect perfection when there is simply no such thing? Why let pride dictate your response when pride always leads to a fall? Some responses like resentment, bitterness, envy, scoring, self-pity and self-doubt can eat us up. We could eventually find ourselves lonelier, weaker, shackled and perhaps dumber.
What to do now? Should I quit or move? Maybe not. It is not “where” but “what.” It could simply be realizing that we become what we respond to and how we respond to it. What if we choose to respond to what is true “and” eternal instead.?
Maybe it is easier said than done. In a way it is depending on what we are responding to. Remember Joseph who was sold to slavery by his brothers? He named his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim. The names mean “God has made me forget” and “God has made me fertile in the land of my affliction” respectively. These name remind him over and over what is true, what he chose to respond to. What a creative way to control his past and his own response.
For more on this, check out my book “Counseling the Heart” chapter 3.