Monday, May 4, 2009

Sitting Down on the Inside

A number of years ago, I selected an audio recording to take on a trip and I didn’t get what I paid for. I got much more.

I thought “Sitting Down on the Inside” would be about stress management and learning to relax. What I got instead was a lesson on pride. As I listened to the speaker, it was if a flashlight was shining on a piece of wood infested with termites. The infected piece was an attitude that had taken up residence in me; a spirit of being right.

It’s stressful to have to be right all the time. It’s a sure deterrent to effective communications with others. Maybe you’re too young to remember Archie Bunker, but his know-it-all attitude was ridiculous. Granted, my attitude was much more “polite and sophisticated” than his. Yeah, right. Wrong is wrong, no matter how you dress it or what tone of voice you give it.

The conviction I felt when I realized the damage I was doing to people I care about through my attitude of superiority is a lesson that is still fresh. That still doesn't make it easy or natural to sit down on the inside. But experience has taught me that things work out faster if I relenquish my need to be responsible for everybody. (In other words, my need to be in control!)

Sitting Down on the Inside set me free. Here’s what this phrase means to me:

  • Forgive, even if the other person is wrong.

  • Say “I’m sorry” first, even if I’m not the cause of a breach in communication.

  • Walking in love is a far more valuable than being right.

  • I don’t have to defend myself. It’s not about me.

  • What’s especially intriguing about this lesson is that a year later, when I re-listened to the same recorded message, I didn’t hear what I've just outlined! It was as if it was a different recording. That’s when I knew that God had used that time when I was listening and “tuned in” to get a message to me that would be an anchor to my soul and a life raft to relationships. That was a bigger Stress Management tip than I had bargained for.


    Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

    Great post! Truly words to live by. Being humble and saying I'm sorry is so difficult for some to say!


    Protege said...

    Absolutely loved this; I know the feeling when you suddenly realize that something needs to change. It is like an awakening.;)
    But realizing it and changing it can be light years apart; how wonderful that you seem to have walked that distance so gracefully.;)

    Sassy Granny ... said...

    You're right. We're definitely on the same wave-length!

    The whole concept of grace (receiving it as well as giving it) boggles my mind. When I attempt to comprehend His grace towards me, it's so much easier to "pay it forward". The more grateful my heart, the more willing I am to share what He's wrought there.

    Huge hug,

    sara said...

    thanks for this post...very timely.

    Merrie said...

    I love it when Father does that! He is so awesome! So many times my husband hears, "that message was JUST for me". When they go on to say what they got out of the message he knows it was the Holy Spirit because that was not the message he preached!
    What a great lesson you got from the teaching. It is sure one I can use and need to be reminded of constantly. I have been convicted of my critical attitude so often lately and realize it is my need to be right and in control...
    Thanks AGAIN for calling forth the Godly!

    Saleslady371 said...

    The message was not only an anchor to your soul, but to mine. I admire you for being so honest and vulnerable. I've had a lot of practice on the part about apologizing even if I don't think I'm wrong. Sometimes it takes a while but the other party comes around and the relationship is stronger. The world thinks that's weakness, but we know better.

    skoots1mom said...

    very well said!

    Mocha with Linda said...

    Ouch. This is something God has been teaching me and I'm trying to change in me . . .and trickle down to my kids. It's pretty much a generational issue with my family, and it makes me crazy.

    My ADHD Me said...

    Unfortunately, I live with someone that is "always right". And yes, it is difficult to be an imperfect person who lives with a "perfect, least they think they art" person.

    Renna said...

    I struggle in this area with my husband. Lately, I've noticed him rolling his eyes with a resigned look whenever I'd call to him if he were in the midst of a project. I realized, he's gotten so used to my telling him the best way to do things that he expects that's what's coming. :-( I am trying to step back and relinquish that control, but it isn't easy, when you always think you know best. (embarrassed face here). ;-Þ

    Greg C said...

    That book sounds like something I could use myself. I do like being right and first. Maybe I need to sit down.

    Rosezilla said...

    That is always so humbling to learn you have pride when you didn't think you did! These are good lessons. Esp. the part "it's not about me." Learning to submit to my husband was the best lesson for me, and the reward after 30 years is a phenomenal marriage!