I procrastinated writing this post. I did not want to admit, after writing two chapters in Emotional Freedom on how to identify resentment and replace it with joy, that I still struggle with it. This means that now I know how to identify resentment and how to resist it. I don’t feel helpless and remain stuck in it. As my husband would say, “you might not be able to keep a bird from landing on your head, but you can keep it from building a nest there.”
After a very enjoyable few days in which John and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, I walked into my office, saw the clutter that I’d left there, and wanted to go on another trip. I felt resentful about my messy office. Until I realized I had a choice. Several choices.
I could ignore the clutter, or I could pick it up.
I could blame someone else for the mess (maybe God), or I could admit that I was responsible.
I could forgive myself, or I could hold a grudge against myself.
I could feel overwhelmed and do nothing, or I could brainstorm–think about possible solutions.
I could procrastinate, or I could make one small step to change my situation.
I started picking up the clutter in my office. At first, I felt frustrated–angry at myself for the lack of order there. I began to feel overwhelmed. Then, I made one change that gave me a completely new perspective. I took the recliner that sat in the corner of the room facing all the clutter and turned it around so that it was facing a large window.
I sat down in my recliner, looked out at the graceful birch tree and beyond it to my flower garden, felt the cool breeze, and relaxed. It was refreshing to my frame–body, soul, and spirit. Having the recliner turned toward the window will make it convenient for me to take the necessary breaks that I need to take from my computer.
By periodically sitting there, I’ll be able to escape the clutter and confines of my office, focus on the bigger world of nature, feel the cool breeze, and meditate on the goodness and grace of God. This will help me reconnect and (remain) with Jesus throughout the day. But, again, I have a choice. When I am feeling stressed, I could choose to sit in that chair and relax, or I could choose to stay at my computer and push myself into mental exhaustion.
It’s when I feel as if I have no choice (or when I’m forced into a choice that I don’t want to make) that resentment can gain a stronghold in my life. Even then, there is one choice that I can always make. Just like I can turn my recliner 180 º, so I can turn my attitude 180 º.
I Can Choose My Attitude
Discontent or gratitude,
I can choose my attitude—
Select just what I want every day.
Impatience when my friend is late
Is a choice that I could make,
But it will effect the actions I display.
If I stamp my foot and curse,
Throw a fit or something worse,
Will it really help our friendship grow?
Let me stop and think awhile.
Perhaps that’s not the best of style.
Is there another way I could go?
I could choose my attitude,
Give my friend some latitude,
Refuse to take offense when he is rude.
I could hold my temper back.
I could decide to not keep track—
Do my part to stop this silly feud.
If I pause before I act,
Discover what is truly fact,
I won’t become a victim of my rage.
Just like I choose my food and drink,
I determine what I think.
And I could leave the past, turn the page.
I can decide just to cope,
With my moods simply float,
Or I can learn to swim and progress make.
I can grow a bitter root,
Or I can choose a Spirit fruit,
It depends upon the attitude I take.