While in the middle of preparing breakfast, I ran upstairs to get my glasses. As I passed the bedroom, I noticed an open window. The bright morning sun was warming the air in the room. I didn’t take time to close it because my sausage was cooking. I didn’t want it to burn.
I said to my husband, “Will you please go upstairs, close that open window, pull down the shade, and close the drapes?
“Sure!” he said. “I’ll be glad to.”
“Will you please ” weren’t the words that first popped into my mind. This is what I thought of saying:
“You left the window open, again! Can’t you ever remember to close it on a hot morning?”
I’m glad I did not say those words. It would not have made for a happy breakfast conversation. Or good digestion.
That conversation illustrates one of the ways I’ve been learning to reduce resentment. It’s a four-step process.
- Recognize my expectation
- Convert it to a desire
- Make a request
- Accept the answer
Expectations are demands or laws we place on others, as well as ourselves. They are the shoulds of life. For example, my husband should remember to close the window. He should not need a reminder. I should not have to tell him what I want. He is obligated to meet my shoulds. When he doesn’t, I resent it. Hold a grudge. That’s how a wall of resentment builds.
Desires are different than expectations. They are my wants rather than laws. Neither my husband nor God is obligated to meet my desires. Yet, both of them often want to. That’s where making a request and prayer come in.
God respects me so much that he doesn’t automatically grant my desire. He waits for me to make a request. When he gives me what I ask for, I feel grateful. I thank him. When he denies that request, I have a choice. I can resent it or accept it.
To accept someone’s “No” does not mean I agree with it or like it. It simply means to recognize that person’s right to make their own decisions. I can disagree (have a different opinion) without getting defensive and ugly.
As I’ve experienced more and more of God’s love, the easier it’s become to accept his “No” answers. I don’t want to insist on having my own way so strongly that God gives it to me but I end up with dissatisfaction.
This happened to a group of his followers who insisted on having their way. Finally, God “gave them their request, but [he]sent leanness into their soul”.(Psalm 106:15 NKJV)
When I build resentment I starve my soul. My invisible inner self shrivels and begins to die. That is why I need to recognize my expectations, turn them into desires, ask for what I want, and receive grace to accept the answers I receive.
If you would like to learn more about reducing resentment and increasing joy, you might like to read my book Emotional Freedom: The Choices We Make. It’s available in e-book, hardcover, and softcover formats.
TO LEARN more or ORDER, Go HERE
“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. (Luke 12:6,7 NLT)
Let go of expectations
The laws you place on others
Your father and your mother
Your sisters and your brothers
Release them from these burdens
And find release yourself
Confess your hypocrisy
Gain peace of mind and health
Don’t make demands on God
As if he owed it to you
Can someone made of dust
Tell Heaven what to do?
Match your heart and words
Turn from duplicity
Honor Christ as he deserves
Then go to him with your request
Having confidence he hears you
God provides for and protects
Those humble, like the sparrow