Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Defining vs. Refining

Our lives will always contain conflict. There is no way around it, so no sense in denying it. The difference in each of us is how we handle our conflict. 

Do we allow it to define us or refine us?

refine: to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing
define: to determine or fix the boundaries or extent of.

To define ourselves by our difficult situations would be to dwell in them. It would be to play the "woe is me" card. To allow life's complications to define us would be to allow the negative to control our lives. To refine ourselves by our situations would be to consider the situation, what can be learned from it, and grow. It's to take those complications and allow them to mold you, but not control you.

I often get caught up in the moment when I am faced with conflict. I react before I even think. It's only later when I think about it that I am able to really respond to the situation. I do think about it later, though. I think about it a lot. I ask myself what I did wrong and how I can correct my behavior for a later situation. At least this is what I try to do.

It would have been very easy to allow Emerson's death to define us. We could become "the parents who lost the baby late in the pregnancy". We could become "the depressed couple who can't move on". No, we're probably not ever going to "move on", but that's okay because we're not dwelling in it. We're not allowing our loss to completely control and confine us. Yes, there have been moments that absolutely stunk and I'm sure there are more to come, but we're doing our best not to let it define us. It has certainly refined our faith, our marriage, our relationships with others-essentially our whole lives-but it will not define us. God's sacrifice of His one and only Son promised us of that and the moment we start letting it define us we are telling Him that He is not enough. 

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