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As human beings we must learn to respond differently to the people and situations in life that “turn our crank.”

This article is an excerpt from, Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time,written by Charles W. Sidoti.

Believing that it is possible to change, that it is possible to become less fearful and controlling and to become more trusting and free, is an important first step toward inner peace. My wife, Tina, helped me to see this truth in a new and interesting way. She once made the comment, “You shouldn’t respond to things that happen in your life like a Jack-in-the-Box!” I immediately received a mental picture from her simile and recognized it as a wonderful way to understand the responsibility that we have as human beings to grow. I pictured in my mind the Jack-in-the-Box children’s toy, the familiar colored box with the crank on the side that plays music as you turn the crank until the top flies open and the “Jack” springs out and surprises you. The point is that when you turn the crank you get the same response from the toy every time. As human beings we must learn to respond differently to the people and situations in life that turn our crank. We are not Jack-in-the-Boxes.

The day after my wife shared her Jack-in-the-Box observation with me, the chief executive officer of the hospital where I work announced her decision to resign and go to work at another hospital. I had known the outgoing CEO for many years and knew that she valued my position as hospital chaplain. I was not at all sure that the new CEO would value my role in the same way. I was worried that I might lose my job.

As soon as I heard the news I went into the hospital chapel to mentally process the information. I felt the familiar sense of panic begin as I thought about all the possible implications for my job with a new CEO taking over. Then the Jack-in-the Box story popped into my mind. I literally found myself asking God to help not to respond like a Jack-in-the-Box. This helped me to open up and realize that there were many other possibilities that lay beyond my own negative thoughts about the situation. It freed me from the endless cycle of compulsively focusing on what “I thought” needed to happen. With the help of the Jack-in-the-Box imagery I was able to respond differently than I normally would. I decided not to panic, but instead to wait. I allowed the situation to take its course as I looked for evidence of God’s hand in the unfolding events. This experience affirmed for me that there really is a higher power at work in my life, a power that I can trust in, that remains in control when things happen in life that are outside of my ability to control.

Connecting Point: Think for a moment about your own responses to the events and people in your life that turn your crank. Do you often respond in the same way to them? Choose to live in the dignity that is yours realizing that you have a choice in the way you respond. Exercising your right to choose your responses instead of just going along with your same familiar knee-jerk reactions can be the key that unlocks the door to a whole new way of approaching life’s circumstances, and a whole new level of emotional freedom.

Prayer: Loving God, thank you for calling me to grow as a human being. I do not always live out the dignity that you have blessed me with by calling me to be your child. Help me to live in the freedom for which you created me by responding to the events and people in my life thoughtfully, and not like a Jack-in-the-Box. Help me, Lord, to believe and to trust you enough to wait and allow your work to evolve from within each situation of my life. Amen.

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living-at-gods-speed-healing-in-gods-time

View it on Amazon! http://www.amazon.com/Living-Gods-Speed-Healing-Time/dp/158595831X

Contents: http://pastoralplanning.com/23rdBookParts/LivingGodsSpeed_TOC.pdf

Read the Introduction: http://pastoralplanning.com/23rdBookParts/LivingGodsSpeed_Intro

Visit my LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/charles-w-sidoti-bcc-0ba9b244

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