Tell the truth. You have that one friend (or maybe several friends…or maybe it’s you) whose whole life has been a series of unfortunate events. Whether it’s a mountain or a mole hill that one friend turns it into a volcano. At first, you used to feel so sorry for all the tragedies that befell her, but the more you listened, the better you got to know her, with clarity you began to realize…It’s not what’s happening. It’s how she is responding to it.
I used to be that reactionary, impetuous girl, but one day my granny told me, “How you respond to anything in life reflects your character. Your response shows what you REALLY believe.” It took me some time, but I finally saw there were some gaps in what I said I believed about God and what I was actually displaying. I wasn’t responding to the situations in my life; I was reacting to them. What would your answer be today if you asked yourself, What do my responses in life say about who I am?
Am I a Xerxes? In a drunken rage, Xerxes kicked his wife to the curb. According to historical accounts he also went to war, cut a man’s son in half and set the body on the road for the army to march through, whipped a body of water, and numerous other Crazy events. In reference to what he had done to Vashti, the Bible says Xerxes remembered what he had done after his fury had subsided. Now I cannot say for sure what he felt, but I remember a time I said something horrible to someone I loved. The next day I felt atrocious and though I tried to apologize, to make it up, our friendship was never the same. Xerxes is the person we become when we react impulsively to issue in our lives, and it’s a dangerous place to be. Whether it’s in relationships, financially, in regards to your health, or even time management, those decisions you make based on the RIGHT NOW FEELINGS aren’t always as easy to change as your feelings. Take heed for the consequences before you react hastily.
Am I the Council? Feeling bad for their boy, the council does not encourage Xerxes to make any attempt at amends. Instead they encourage him to fill his emotional void with someone else. “On, on to the next one.” It is ok to feel insecurity, lack of purpose, desperateness, fear, loneliness, or any of the other sentiments that come along with the human experience. However, we become the council when we avoid confronting those emotions and instead choose to fill the void with someone (or something) else in a negative way. For example, I have an associate who recently broke up with someone she loved. Mind you, she broke up with him because she didn’t ever see him being able to “compliment her lifestyle.” Like Xerxes, she made an impulsive decision behind a plane ticket and a Prada bag. Also like Xerxes, she realized too late the magnitude of what she had impulsively done. As an alternative to facing up to her feelings and doing the real work that needed to be done, she started sleeping with what she terms “the something to do guy.” I’ve never seen her be so unhappy. But here’s the thing, if you react to the issues in your life with empty pursuits you will always come up void.
Am I a Queen? Enter Esther. This young woman was pretty much drafted into an army of concubines. She walked into that palace having no idea of what would become of her life; yet the Bible repeatedly refers to her as one was pleasing and found favor. Now Esther could have chosen to react to these circumstances she never asked to be thrown into in the same way that some of us do. She could have been bitter, moaning, complaining, telling anyone who’ll listen about her baggage and woes, #RBF all day every day. She could have used that excuse we use, “I had a dreadful childhood, so now I get to be a dreadful adult.” But instead she RESPONDED lovingly and she was favored. Esther listened to her uncle, took the advice of those who knew what preparations were required, and trusted the Will of God. From life’s difficult situation, arose a Queen.
We all have challenges, but I can guarantee that if the majority of your days have been “the worst day ever” that it’s not what’s happening in your life; it’s how you’re responding to it. It is in our minds that we experience life’s experiences. If you perceive every hurdle as the universe’s personal vendetta against you instead of as an opportunity to jump even higher, you will never have peace. If you react foolishly to every conflict instead of learning to respond wisely, you will always be at war. If you swallow empty capsules to ease the pain of your void, I promise you will not be cured. But if you believe that everything is not happening to you, it’s happening for you; if you believe that God and the Power of His Purpose in your life will turn your Xerxes into an instrument of Providence; if you believe that God is preparing you “for such a time as this,” you will always be a Queen and even when your crown is crooked and your throne askew, you will always reign.