Friday, February 22, 2013

Setting the standard -- being the thermostat

thermostat not thermometer

In the past few months, I've repeatedly heard the phrase, "being the thermostat, not the thermometer." When it came up again this past week, I was like OK God what are you trying to tell me?
· Thermostat - a device for regulating or controlling the temperature

· Thermometer - an instrument for measuring the temperature surrounding it
I began to understand that so often in our lives we are operating as thermometers, influenced by the environment around us. In this state, we are constantly reacting -- fluctuating according to circumstances and situations. In one day, even one hour, we may go from one end of the spectrum to the other, rising and falling according to what is happening around us.

But a thermostat sets the temperature. It is an instrument that determines what the environment will be.  The thermometer is the influencer.  It is proactive. It creates the standard.

Now, we've all had our moments of weakness when we’ve allowed relationships and situations to impact our feelings and thoughts. In fact, many of us try to resist those "bad" feelings in an effort to maintain control. The downside is that in trying to control everything, we often block ourselves from the opportunity to fully enjoy and experience this life's journey. We are never able to attain true peace, because peace only comes when we fully surrender to whatever God is doing in our lives. Thankfully, it is in our weakness that God's strength is revealed as He empowers us by His grace to overcome whatever we are facing. So this is not about beating myself up over my weaknesses because I know that God's strength is always more than enough for me to overcome whatever is in my way (even if its myself!).

But what if we responded to God when He shows up to set the thermostat? During my own times of challenge, I've learned that all God requires is a little bit of faith. All He needs is our willingness. One small move. To see another side to something. To raise one cry for help. To reach out to one person. To take a time out to breathe and reconnect with who you are when the world is swirling around you. To smile. To ask someone how he or she is doing. To say thank you. To say I'm sorry. One small gift of kindness, one act of love can totally transform the environment.

This is not about getting in folks' faces and telling them what they need to do to change. This is about YOU. We are called to be influencers by setting the example. We don't match evil with evil - we overcome evil with good. In speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity we set the standard for those around us. We seek daily to exhibit who we are as masterpieces of God, the light of the world, salt of the earth.

I've seen how being proactive in maintaining an environment of peace  rather than reacting can totally change relationships. Late last year, I started the simple act of meditating at work. In the middle of the day, I turn off the sound on my computer, shut my door, sit and close my eyes. I have an inside office so my window faces into the hall for all that want to look in. That does not stop me from taking twenty minutes to reconnect with myself, to send thoughts of love, kindness, forgiveness to others, to talk to God, and to just clear my mind. Many work dynamics that previously had me fluctuating all over the place are no longer a factor. I have made a decision that when the environment is shifting around me, I will work to raise the temperature.

Rest assured that as the thermostat, we have the power to sustain the temperature at the highest levels of love, joy and peace. When the atmosphere is not there, we can ask God for his strength to go higher. We can be secure that these are the fruits already promised to us and we are fully equipped to set the standard. It might be difficult but it’s not impossible. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Lord, I pray that we will be a thermostat that works!

No comments:

Post a Comment