Act or React?

Today’s scripture: Psalm 37:1-9 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (John Seksay):

Distraction. If there were ever a term selected to describe modern life, this would head the list. In a society where it is possible to be superficially connected to a much wider circle of “friends”, we pretty much top the list for the history of man. We have more people in the world, and many of them are connected and interwoven in ways unimaginable before the internet. It used to be that what happened half way around the world was of little concern. It was so far away and had played out its impact more locally long before distant parts of the globe heard abut the event, if they ever did. Now global news, and global economies, mean that when the U.S., or China, sneezes, the whole world seems to catch the cold. It also means that local crises, that once played out in short order locally, now have international participation that seems to drag them out interminably. We never lack for anxieties to grab our attention!

While the order of magnitude may be different, the key situation in today’s reading is very much the same. Uncertainties are not unique to the age we live in. To what level do we let outside distractions pull our attention off our focus of a calm, spiritual existence? How often do we respond to perceived provocations with envy, fear, anger, or even wrath? Do we pause for reflection to see how real the concern is before we respond to our perceptions? When we feel moved to respond, are we deliberate in choosing a course that reflects our spiritual goals? The directions in the psalm urge us to trust and be still before we allow these situations to draw us out! When we pause to center ourselves before we act, we are free to act from who we are rather than yield control of ourselves to others by reacting. When we react, the world is in control of us. When we act, we are in command of ourselves.

Our behavior tells those around us a great deal about how we will deal with stress or uncertainty. Listen to the guidance of the psalm; you will be surprised how your actions differ from your reactions!

Thought for the day: Lord, help me abide in Your peace. Help me act out of Your centering Presence and not be misdirected by the stresses of the world.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.