Friday, February 5, 2010

Playing It Out

Anger is one letter short of danger
~Author Unknown

In hushed tones that could only be the Lord's, the question dangled before me:

How do you want this to play out?

I awoke that day with a certain unease. As the morning progressed I realized it had much (everything) to do with a long ago hurt, a betrayal.

There was now a new situation; one with a familiar bent - a deja vu, if you will - that disturbed my soul to it's very core! The scar tissue of that long ago wound burned, as if it had only formed but a few short weeks ago.

Both my head and my heart readied themselves for battle. As my thoughts progressed I found little relief from the internal conflict raging within. It seemed to grow as the seconds passed; and with it's growth my sense of well-being vanished.

Why is it when one emotion threatens to flood, it unleashes a dam of all other emotions along with it - most of them cruel? Anger begets self-righteousness; self-righteousness begets worry; worry begets sorrow; sorrow begets self-pity. They don't always arrive in that order, but when they do arrive - in whatever order - they assert dominion.

That's when the whisper interrupted the conflict within: How do you want to play this out?

Before I continue, let me confess that my way as a young woman (last week) was to react first, then consider how I could have said/done something better, or different. I call it my "clamoring phase". Tactics include (but are not limited to ...) open/overt or internal/covert
aggression (the silent sort, ostensibly the martyr syndrome), accusations, faulty fact-finding, resentment, anxiety, defensiveness, a bunker mentality and attack-dog approach.

I can also tell you it's a ridiculously foolish method of resolving conflict.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
1 Peter 3:3-4

"Gentle & quiet spirit", huh? That, in my opinion, is the exact opposite of "clamor"; and it's exactly what I needed in those moments of conflict, when my flesh longed to react in a way my spirit could not abide.

So I answered that question, "How do you want to play this out?", with this:

"With a gentle and quiet spirit, Lord; one that allows me peace instead of conflict, and that brings Your approval, and well as honor to Your name. More than vindication or retribution, I want to trust You to have both my front and my back; and to bring about resolution in Your way, and in Your time."

The particulars aren't all that important, but I can tell you that within minutes my peace had returned, and within another 48 hours the unsettling matter that had disturbed it/me in the first place was resolved. What's more, the resolution came in such a way as to be undeniably God-crafted. It left me speechless.

I'd like to think my days of clamoring are over once-and-for-all. Likely they're not. But what I do know is this: my days of living with and in the gentle & quiet spirit that is so precious to Him are increasing - not because I'm so good, but because He is!

He alone is able to bring about the conditions for "gentle & quiet" if I'll but cease to clamor.

It's how I want to play it out.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The LORD will perfect that which concerns me ...
Psalm 138


manthano said...

Hey sis. Great post. Just wanted to mention
one man's view.

For one I am so tired of; noisy, loud,
demanding, pushy women that seeing
"a gentle and quiet spirit" in a woman
is a thing of great beauty. A hole lot
more beautiful than a lot of paint.

I know. A man's view don't count.

Beth E. said...

Wonderful words of wisdom, Kathleen. Worthy of printing and saving. I plan to keep this post where I can refer to it frequently.

There is a hurt in my life that resurfaces from time to time. While I don't recall the details of the situation in anger, I do struggle with other strong emotions...definitely not part of a gentle and quiet spirit.

Thank you for a great message. It has blessed me.


Tammy@If Meadows Speak... said...

Yep, Gentle and quiet spirit. One He's been training me on ever since I ran headlong back to Him. Because, honestely, my not-so-quiet ways required my not-so-tasteful foot. :) Now I can be silent and rest in Him. With gentleness I'm able to answer when needed. And the once uncomfortable silence, is now my Friend. HIM.

Loren said...

Kathleen ~

This message is beautiful even with the pain being what provoked you to write. In my Bible Study yesterday Beth Moore talked of being offended. She shared how the enemy BANKS on us being STUCK in that offense and losing ground with God. How quickly that happens too! Our life does come with pain, offenses but IN Christ we can go forward even in the pain by doing just as you have shared .....SEEKING IN TRUTH the Lord Psalm 145:18. He knows how we feel and will help us everytime!

Bless you my sweet friend! Happy Friday

~*~KIMBERLY~*~ said...

Kathleen, you said: "my days of living with and in the gentle & quiet spirit that is so precious to Him are increasing - not because I'm so good, but because He is!

He alone is able to bring about the conditions for "gentle & quiet" if I'll but cease to clamor."

It's how I'd like to play it out also. Praise God! Wonderful post!

Nel said...

As usual wonderful words of wisdom. Thank you for sharing what was on your heart and your thoughts. You are such a blessing!

until next time... nel

PS Did you get your post about your award?

Andrea said...

Good morning, Kathleen! We must have been walking on the same path! Surely we have passed each other along the way.

I share in your conflicts of flesh vs. spirit. Oh, how many times I have clamored! But, just as you, God's grace poured through me, bringing me to the gentle and quiet. And, yes, I am sure that that war is not over, but as I decrease and Jesus increases, surely they will be fewer!

Thank you for sharing your beautiful spirit and heart and your dynamic, thought-provoking words, which always give me comfort.

Much love and many blessings,


Denise said...

Much wisdom here.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

How do you do that? How do you know exactly what message I need to hear and when I need to hear it?!

One of the hardest lessons I'm learning is to be quiet, to wait on the Lord and to ask that all important question, "How do you want this to play out?" And then let Him take over and direct me on what to say and the way to go.

Karen Lange said...

Wow, this is good. Battled a small challenge earlier today along these lines. That exact question didn't roll through my mind, but very similar. Work in progress about sums it up. Mind if I borrow that question for future challenges?
Happy weekend,

Rosezilla said...

Lovely post and such a gentle reminder. The longer I live, the more I see that God's ways are the only ones that truly work in our lives. The more I trust and obey, the happier and more content I am. It is no great surprise that He really knows what He is talking about!

Terri Tiffany said...

Oh you convict me with your words. A week ago, I was clamoring all over the place and determined to play it out in the worst way. It took me a day to calm down and realize I needed to forgive and offer grace. Still working on it and this helps!

sonja said...


Just finished reading this and then read the comments. It is a familiar battle ground for many of us. I love the progress you are seeing, and the lessons you are learning. I think they are lessons that apply to so many of us. We don't change these things in an instant, but through the years and the lessons, God 'gets us there' more quickly, and yes, He changes our desires too. Could we ever say it enough...Amazing Grace!

Thanks for these honest and challenging words!



Rebecca said...

How reassuring to know that your peace returned and the unsettling matter was resolved in an unmistakeably God-crafted manner as you chose to respond in a gentle, quiet manner!

You've written with great insight here, my friend. The dam of emotions you describe is something I can identify with along with painful experiences in my past.

But the grace of God, wisdom of friends, and power of the Holy Spirit, I want to respond more grace-fully the next time I have opportunity!

Just a little something from Judy said...

Each post. Each comment. Each ping of conviction. Each reminder of God's grace...I find them all here expressed more lovingly and eloquently than I could ever be able to express. God has gifted you my friend. Thank Him for using you to bless me. Over the years this lesson has been pounded home to me, and yet so often clamoring surfaces.

What a beautiful gentle reminder. Seriously, you need to write a devotional book.

The comments shared here offer peace to my heart, realizing that it is an area many of us struggle with.

Joan Carr said...

I think we all have been in these situations if we have lived very long. What a God we serve, that keeps us reminded of HIM, and that we are to strive daily to be more like HIM than the day before. I would have thought as an early Christin that this walk with HIM gets easier, but I must confess I still struggle daily to be like HIM.

But one day, I will be with HIM, and these early struggles will be behind us all.

Very well thought out and written, so glad God is still taking care of us ALL.

Rita said...

I too struggle with anger from time to time and it is hard to have that quiet, gentle spirit that the Lord wants us to have when you are dealing with anger. But, thank the Lord, if we follow His lead, He will help us! Great post!

beBOLDjen said...

As a young loudmouth I desperately need this example!! Thanks for the reminder that things don't have to play out according to our emotions.

I feel privileged to know you in "real" life and I can say with certainty that your gentlesness IS evident to those you come in contact with; alt least it is with me. Just the other day, when I saw you in the office, I was struck (literally) by a sweet quality that was in your voice when you spoke to me and Jonas. I suppose what struuck me was the juxtaposition of a fiercely wise woman who is so strengthened by Truth and the gentleness heard in her voice. - Not that the two are mutually exclusive, but that they are so rarely seen in conjunction!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Thank you for bringing clarity. When our first instinct is to go for the jugular, it's time to get quiet and seek the Lord for direction.

Susan :)

Technonana said...

Yes, Yes My Precious Friend!!!
He changes me... everyday... as Paul said... the good that I would, I do not!! My Jesus calms my spirit and makes me the woman HE wants me to be!!!

christy rose said...

Isn't it amazing? That peace that passes all understanding? If we will cease to clamor and listen to Him. I am just in a state of awe right now!

Rita said...

Would you care if I posted some of your comments that you left on my blog about your memories and linked them back to you blog? Oh, you brought back such memories that I had not thought of in a very long time. Thank you for your thoughts. I would like to do my next post on your memories.

Yolanda said...

This truly spoke to my heart as I have a situation that happened over the summer where the enemy found someone to be used by him. They shot fiery darts, and it landed right at my heart. This very same person about three weeks ago walked through the doors of our church, and I'm like, no Lord, no. I can't do this, and I became anxious. I wanted to vindicate myself, but I was able thus far to not really have to be face to face with this individual. Until...yesterday morning, and I smiled, spoke first and called the person by name when I said Good morning. It's a step, the step that would show God to this person. I pray that I continue to do so and allow God to vindicate. A long comment, and I'm sorry for that, but I felt safe in pouring out my heart here. With love, Yolanda

Diana said...

Peace in the midst!

Thanks for some great words.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Been there... recently. Didn't handle things as well, but am learning. Perhaps a few more hard knocks and humbling along these lines will bring me into further alignment with God's heart. I wish I could get all of this on the front end without a field trip, but like you, I don't plan on these excursions. They find me when I least expect them, and then I am forced to put my knowledge to the test...

That's when I know if that knowledge has made its way into my heart.

It's hard being a Christian some day. Hard, but worth it.