Sitting Down on the Inside

forestA number of years ago, I selected an audio recording to take on a trip and I didn’t get what I paid for. I got much more.

I thought “Sitting Down on the Inside” would be about stress management and learning to relax. What I got instead was a lesson on pride. As I listened to the speaker, it was if a flashlight was shining on a piece of wood infested with termites. The infected piece was an attitude that had taken up residence in me; a spirit of being right.

It’s stressful to have to be right all the time. It’s a sure deterrent to effective communications with others. Maybe you’re too young to remember Archie Bunker, but his know-it-all attitude was ridiculous. Granted, my attitude was much more “polite and sophisticated” than his. Yeah, right. Wrong is wrong, no matter how you dress it or what tone of voice you give it.

The conviction I felt when I realized the damage I was doing to people I care about through my attitude of superiority is a lesson that is still fresh. That still doesn’t make it easy or natural to sit down on the inside. But experience has taught me that things work out faster if I relenquish my need to be responsible for everybody. (In other words, my need to be in control!)

Sitting Down on the Inside set me free. Here’s what this phrase means to me:

  • Forgive, even if the other person is wrong.
  • Say “I’m sorry” first, even if I’m not the cause of a breach in communication.
  • Walking in love is far more valuable than being right.
  • I don’t have to defend myself.  It’s not about me, whatever “it” is. 
  • What’s especially intriguing about this lesson is that a year later, when I re-listened to the same recorded message, I didn’t hear what I’ve just outlined! It was as if it was a different recording. That’s when I knew that God had used that time when I was listening and “tuned in” to get a message to me that would be an anchor to my soul and a life raft to relationships. That was a bigger Stress Management tip than I had bargained for.

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