"Cool headednes, self possession and restraint." I pondered these qualities, mentioned in a devotional book I was reading, with longing.
I realized that if they were the benchmark to shoot for, I had recently failed yet again. Another person had clearly done something wrong and I corrected them, but I was ashamed that I had done it out of barely contained hot-headedness and anger that simmered not far beneath the surface of my words.
I found myself doing another "What if?" exercise. Here's what I came up with:
- What if next time I waited before responding; allowing time to calm down before saying a word?
- What if I listened, seeking to understand the one who had offended me?
- What if I asked myself whether I am the best person to respond? Am I jumping too quickly before thinking things through sufficiently?
- What if, having heard the situation or concerns that prompted the words or action that offended me; I made my focus addressing the concerns rather than defending myself or others.
- What if I paused to pray before doing a thing?
2 Timothy 1:7 (New International Version)
7For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.