Closing the Gap

I love my church. I really appreciate how we are taught about God’s influence on our lives. At the end of July, Pastor Jerry gave a sermon that struck home on many levels. Regardless of your beliefs the message is still good. He gave the sermon in context of lasting love. I want to take his ideas and put them in the context of lasting relationships.
We judge people by their actions, but we judge ourselves by our intentions. When I heard that I was taken aback. This is such a true statement. I know I am guilty of this. Think about it. How can we know other’s intentions? We are not mind readers. There is no special meter that lets us know that the intentions of the other person were good even tough the actions did not reflect that. Therefore, we need to learn to bridge the gap between our intentions and actions. The closer our intentions and actions are to being the same, the more authentic and genuine we become.
So, what should we do? First, if you think something good, say it. Sounds so simple, right? If it were there would be no need to discuss it because everyone would be doing it. I find that most people assume that the good thing is already known. Take our children as an example. We assume they know we love them. Perhaps we assume they know what they are doing is right because it is common sense. So, we do not praise them as often as we should. Yet when they slip up, we are right there to let them know how to do it better next time. Another example is with your friends. Words of affirmation may not be spoken often enough because we assume they already know how we feel about them. Yet we hear something we don’t like, and we speak right up. Being about to say something good when it comes to mind is a choice. We choose to speak up. We choose to praise others. We choose to see the good in what is happening around us.
The second way is if you think something special, do it. Again, so simple? Well how many times have you thought, I should …but then you never do. Examples, I should bring a welcome gift to my neighbor. I should send a birthday card to my aunt. I should ask the Smiths over for dinner. I am sure you can add many more to the list. I think I’m most guilty of thinking but not acting. I have plenty of excuses to go along with this too. I am too busy. I completely forgot. It’s too embarrassing. They wouldn’t want to be bothered. As you can see I am not talking about special occasions. I am talking about those “just because” moments. Making your time purposeful and acts thoughtful will go a long way.
Third, if you want something different, be different. I read all sorts of posts on Facebook about how this is bad and that is awful but never see where these same people are doing something about it. Don’t get me wrong, we all have things that bug us. I believe it is okay to complain to a point. But at what point are you going to do something about it? There are some things we feel are way out of our control. But at the end of the day we can only control ourselves and how we react to others. So, you hear of an issue in the government that is upsetting. What can you do? Well, you cannot change what happened, but you can control how you react. You can rant and complain or can voice your opinion respectfully to perhaps our congressmen. You can also choose to use your vote to make a difference. What about an example closer to home. There is a lot of yelling in your house. You are growing tired of it. Start with controlling your behavior and stop yelling.
So how can you begin to bridge the gap between your intentions and actions? We would love to hear about what you are doing.
Until next time….
Change. Discover. Transform.
Carla Carter, Ed.D., LCPC, CMPC, EMDR Certified

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