Options regarding responses in life many times seem limited, especially by the default of personality wired within us. Some of us, by instinct, run. Others fight. And then again, others simply stand. It is standing in the midst of grappling situations that is most at home to the wisdom of God. But it doesn’t seem a natural response at all—most people who respond this way have learned to respond this way. Either that, or they have been blessed with some assertiveness gene; most of the time, however, assertiveness is a learned trait.
When we are placed under pressure, what will we do? What will characterise our response? Do we run, or do we fight, or do we stand?
A Learned Behaviour – Operating Out Of Assertiveness
When the time has come to stand up and be counted, by neither submission nor aggression, how will we know we will actually stand? How can we confidently know we won’t falter?
The only way we can reliably react by standing and neither running nor fighting is if we have reacted that way time and time again. We become known by how we are characterised. We can say we have learned something when we reliably do it.
Becoming characterised by an assertive response, where we respond by simply standing, and neither running nor fighting, is both learned and practiced. The only way to do it is to stop running and stop fighting.
This is where the difficult work begins.
If we are so used to running or fighting going into another mode of response may be one of the biggest challenges of learning we will ever approach. But relearning behavioural ways of operating is not only possible, it is actually likely that new approaches will stick, if we practice them often enough.
When we recognise that neither running nor fighting achieves much, because our lives are so contingent on relational outcomes, we recognise the wisdom in simply standing.
Sometimes no action is the best action of all. Sometimes we need to get out of the way of God in order to let God work in situations, especially the ones beyond us. This isn’t to say that we sit on our hands, but it is about not acting until we know the right course of action, for the right time, and how to do it in the right way.
Tests in life come at unpredictable times, and the best thing we can do when we are tempted to either run or fight is to simply stand. We await further orders from God. Only when we know God’s will are we blessed to carry it out.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.