Author’s note: This piece was first shared here on my blog, and has become the number one blog post I have ever written. I believe this is due to the fact many of us feel helpless when we suddenly find ourselves in situations without knowing how to handle them. He often reminds me of the lessons I learned in this post when I succumb to allowing my emotions to lead me instead of His Word. May He continue to direct us as we continue to invite Him in to every moment of our lives.
Be a thermostat & not a thermometer. Change the atmosphere around you with your attitude rather than just reflecting circumstances all day. –Sandi Krakowski
Tired of walking into a live drama?
Feel like you are stuck in a sitcom you can’t escape?
Sick of being a survivor?
If you are ready to take action, there are three ways to change the atmosphere wherever you are:
1. Own your part.
I have finally learned it is okay to get along with everyone. Being respectful, honoring and kind does not mean I agree with other people’s decisions or behavior. It means I choose to make relationship a priority, not agreement.
If I am in a crappy mood, or feeling low, I need to deal with my stuff before I am around other people again. Even if it’s a quick bathroom break to pray, refocus & find peace – make the time to name it, own it & deal with it.
It takes two to make drama. If you are calm, that alone can cool a hot situation down.
2. Shift the atmosphere.
I have learned from experience that we can sometimes pick up on other people’s vibes, even when they haven’t spoken a word. As an intuitive person, this can lead me to wild imaginative scenarios playing out in my mind if I am not careful.
If someone around me is irate, upset, depressed or cranky, I now immediately pause to pray, something like this:
“Holy Spirit, Your Word says You live in me, Your temple. I do not want to partner with anything that is not from You. I ask You to be my Shield right now, and I send this ____________(name what you are sensing) back to the person sending it out there. May Your peace reign in this room, right now. I invite Your Presence, and blessing, in the name of Jesus.”
I will share two examples of how I have seen this work in my life.
My hardworking hubby was really cranky about some last minute work changes to his day, and his displeasure & anger was ringing out loud in our car. I turned my head to the right, muttered a similar prayer to the one I wrote above. Lo & behold, within a minute, my hubby calmed completely down and was at peace again. My hubby & kids asked me later what I had done, so I shared it with them. Our home has been a lot calmer ever since, and we react more appropriately to each other when someone is upset now. God can change the atmosphere when we invite Him into any situation.
There was an irate customer one day who wasn’t being very pleasant with their language at work. I prayed the above first, then slid over to support my coworker on the receiving end of their unpleasantness. The customer immediately calmed down as I spoke back the “clean” version of what I was hearing, and they realized they were being heard. My coworker had become quiet in their shock. Now, this customer only has smiles on their face when they come in that workplace, because God broke off whatever was trying to target my coworker when I invited His presence to shield and go before us.
3. Don’t stay if you sense you need to leave.
You may be in a good head space, and have prayed the above prayer, and still feel a bit off.
This is either God or fear telling you it is time to leave.
Fear isn’t from God, so if you ask God if this impulse is from Him, and you don’t get an answer, you need to deal with this fear. Now.
Ask God to kick it out, and stop giving it a listen. You may need need to make a mental note to revisit this at another time and uproot it, but blocking its ability to speak in the moment is a critical step.
If God is telling you to leave, He is trying to shield you, protect you from something you may not be aware of, but He certainly is. Obey.
If you claim to be His follower, then follow where He is leading, even when you don’t know why.
In those moments when I have obeyed without knowing why, I have to trust He knows better and has good plans for me. I no longer worry if this may offend others. I used to, and realized my overdeveloped desire to please had left me exposed in situations I should have never been in, resulting in avoidable wounds.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 ESV
So to recap, to change a situation:
- Own your part. It takes two to tango. Take control of yourself by tapping in to his Presence to help you discern what’s going on.
- Shift the atmosphere by allowing the Spirit to shield you.
- Follow as He leads. When He says go, move. Every time, even when you don’t know why.
As you seek Him everywhere You go, remember His Presence is with you, always actively ready to guide & help as we tune in.
It’s time to show His reflection, instead of our reaction.