Overcoming Our Impulses

I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD;

be strong and take heart 

 and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 27:13-14


Have you ever noticed that a great many scripture verses speak to us about "waiting" on the Lord?  Many, many times in my life, prior to surrendering to God, I did things impulsively that I came to regret later.


In the process of renewing my mind for Christ, I began to see where I reacted to things too impulsively, that lead to me having a lot of regrets of how I handled some things. I would look back and regret something I had said or done, out of my emotions.


God began to impress upon my heart the need to control my impulsive behavior pattern. I have learned that we should never make a permanent decision based on a temporary situation.


Recently I got an email from someone who also reacted out of impulsiveness and then later regretted it. He was extremely stressed one day and had been working massive amounts of overtime, when his boss came into his office and started nit-picking one of his reports and pointing out errors. Well, the man had just about had it. He lashed out at the boss, "If I am not doing a good enough job for you, then find someone else, I quit." Now the man regrets it because he is out of a job, and running out of unemployment.


The Jet Blue pilot that went "postal" probably acted out of impulsiveness too. It was funny on the surface, but it shows that he actually has a problem with acting out of impulsiveness.


By the time I fully surrendered to God I had been through a lot of heartache, brokenness, and betrayal. I tended to take anything, anyone said to me that sounded the least bit negative, personal. Then I lashed out at them. I said and did things I later regretted all because I was way too sensitive to criticism.


God began to show me a way to rise above negative situations by reacting to them, not as I felt like doing, but in the way I believed I should react to them. It was hard at first, and it felt sometimes as if I was "acting", but it changed my whole life for the better.


For instance in my first example, the man involved should have said; "I am sorry, you are right I will watch that on my next report." It was the "sane" way to react. Impulsiveness always gets us in trouble. Instead of being impulsive and mouthing off the first thing that comes into our heads we need to learn self-restraint. Of course our friend had every right to feel angry with his boss, but in the long run his impulsiveness has cost him dearly.


It can be really difficult to wait on the Lord. In times of stress most of us lose our calm, rational selves and turn into vengeful animals.


We see it all the time these days, people who are stressed to the max, go off when someone at McDonalds forgets to put pickles on their burger. Impulsively they strike out and make fools of themselves. We need to learn to overlook slights and mistakes and save our energy for the big problems we have in life, losing our jobs, losing our homes, or life threatening illnesses.


Make sure in your life that your emotions are not driving your bus. Pray for rational reactions to irrational situations. Instead of succumbing to the irrational, impulsive reaction, we need to take a deep breath, step back and calmly listen to the other person. The higher part of valor is to turn the other cheek, in the midst of an unfair confrontation.


The hardest test is to keep quiet when you know, that you know, you are being falsely accused or harassed unfairly by a mean, uncaring person. I tell you though, if you can pass the test and not give in to the impulsive reaction, God comes on the scene and turns things around for you.


Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
 do not fret—it leads only to evil.

 9 For evil men will be cut off,
 but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

 10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
 though you look for them, they will not be found.

 11 But the meek will inherit the land
 and enjoy great peace.

Psalm 37: 8-11


Pick your battles. You may need to explain to someone, at a later time, why you are feeling like you are, but never do it in the heat of the moment. It's been my own experience that nine out of ten times I have regretted impulsive behavior.


Today you might be at a point where you don't think you can take it another moment. You may be contemplating some impulsive action. I ask you to calm down, relax and do just the opposite of what your emotions are telling you to do. If you do, I truly believe that, by tomorrow you will be glad you did. I have found that a day changes everything. People calm down; people react differently each and every day. I often find that what I thought to be a big deal in the heat of the moment really isn't such a big deal after all.


Father, Help us today to not react impulsively to the words and actions of others. Help us to react as we should act, and not as we feel like acting. In Your Name, The Name above all names we pray Amen and Amen.

© Cathie Miller 2011

For We Know That Nothing...No Thing..  is impossible with God