As we come to grips with our own selfishness and stupidity, we make friends with the impostor and accept that we are impoverished and broken and realize that, if we were not, we would be God. ~ Brennan Manning
A friend was describing how her reaction to a recent difficult encounter had made the entire situation so much worse for her. She went on to say: I was just doing what I’ve always done. It’s natural to go back to the familiar.
That’s true isn’t it? It’s true even if what we’ve always done hasn’t gone terribly well. When we’re overly stressed or tired or hurt or fearful, we tend to fall back on our reflexive, familiar responses. We’re just doing what come naturally.
There are those who think we’re all born sweet and lovely and would remain that way if the harshness of the world didn’t assault and alter us. You have to wonder if those folks have spent any time in a nursery or with a room full of 2-year-olds.
I’m not interested in making an argument for a fallen nature, although I do think we have one. I can tell you, with a great degree of certainty, about my own nature. I can’t remember the last time that doing what comes naturally in a difficult situation was my wisest response.
As a matter of fact, my natural reactions are often my guage for what not to do. What comes naturally for me in conflict is to pull in. What comes naturally for me when faced with very difficult decisions is to avoid making any at all. What comes naturally for me when I’m in pain is to pretend like I’m not hurting.
I’ve had to give up doing what comes naturally, realizing my natural nature is impoverished and broken. Some days I still want to cling to my need to be right, relish in my martyrdom, or lick my wounds. I take heart in the reminder that whenever I’m willing, God is willing to supply the grace for me to step out of my brokenness and do the unnatural: love others more than myself.