Based on Living Compass “Practicing Courage with all your heart, soul, strength and mind”

“This is God’s grace for each of us, to be set free from our fears, to find the courage to speak our truth, to discover that courage is a gift.”
Sam Rodman

It takes courage to choose to respond with grace at any time, but especially when we are under the pressure of some stress or challenge. Everyone experiences pressure, sometimes even extreme pressure, in their lives. The question is not if we will experience stress in our lives, but rather how we will choose to respond.

Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist wrote a highly respected book entitled Man’s Search for Meaning, which includes this quote: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

There is a crucial distinction between reacting to stress and responding to stress. When we merely react, we often blame the stress, or someone or something other than ourselves, for our reaction. Responding is different than reacting in that it involves our thoughtfully choosing the response we wish to make. As the quote above from Sam Rodman reminds us, God has given us the freedom to think and not merely react out of fear and stress, and to have the courage to respond with grace.

Reread the quotes from Sam Rodman and Viktor Frankl. What speaks to you in each of these quotes? Can you think of times when you have handled stress by either reacting or responding? What was the difference when you were able to respond rather than react? Do you have strategies that help you respond rather than react?