The speaker at the Weekend to Remember marriage retreat held up a rope and then tossed it on the floor and stepped inside of it. He cautioned us all…”you might be tempted this weekend to think about all the things that need changed about your spouse, but I want you to focus on the person inside the circle: you.”
Very, very good words. I took them to heart. I applied them, and I looked inward at my own heart, my own attitude, my own actions, my own shortcomings. It truly was powerful.
Then, we came home and stepped back into reality. We went to work. I was determined to let the life changing experience of the weekend to infuse itself into my everyday life.
As I walked through the day, I prayed over moments of frustration and anxiety although it was a fight to not slip back into old thought patterns of anxiety. I repeated words of Scripture of His promises to carry me through.
Later, as the work day ended, I learned of a situation involving people. I listened. My mind jumped to my own judgements. And just like that, I was reminded of the circle principle. It applies to more than just my relationship with my husband.
What if we focused less on our judgement of others and more on our response to them? We can’t change people. We can’t always change situations. What we can do is change our response. We can respond in love, in kindness, in compassion. We can turn those initial judgements into powerful prayers.
We can focus on changing the person inside the circle and extend grace to those outside the circle.