Friday, February 25, 2011

Offended at every opportunity

A personal note from Ken Dulaney that probably has nothing to to with the subject of this blog.

During my drive home every day, or to anywhere else for that matter, my blood pressure is in a constant state of gradual elevation. The traffic lights don’t change according to my schedule, I seem to always get behind the person who wants to read every historical marker and advertisement sign from the middle of the lane I am in, I get cut off a couple of dozen times and tailgated even more. To top it off people just don’t understand that the left lane on the interstate is for passing and not their own private tour lane, which again, is inconsiderate of “my” schedule. On occasion, I have a slight heart attack when I crest a hill to see the all too familiar grey sedan with the little bitty blue lights on top. I am driving the speed limit but the “freak out” factor seems to be the same nonetheless. I just know that he has some crime he could be fighting instead of helping my cardiology bill go up.

I could apply this few minutes stress to about any other part of my day and lay out a number of other excuses for why I get stressed/offended, but at the end of the day it is all the same. “Offended” is the key word here.

My cousin Lori recently read a book by John Bevere called “Bait of Satan”. You may have read the book yourself. She told me of how it opened her eyes to a lot of things and recommended that I give it a read. I bought the book and am in the middle of it now. It is, so far, a very good book.

What I want to communicate here is that we are, as a nation, so wrapped up in being offended that we simply lose the ability to truly enjoy life. I think I can make that statement without much fear of being wrong. The book is a Christian book and I believe in God, his mercy, strength, guidance, love, and everything else the bible teaches. I understand that some don’t believe in God or Jesus but most of the people I know do and they worship Him according to their faith. That being said let’s look at two scenarios.

One, if you are a believer how many times have you sat down in your house of worship, whatever denomination it may be, and let a crying baby, a snoring old man, the temperature in the room, the level of amplification in the sound system, or maybe what the minister is actually saying, cause you to tune-out or get upset, even a little bit? When that happens, you lose. You just let your enemy take from you a moment in time in which God may have had a specific message or word for you that would have changed your life or at least your attitude. You walk away with less than He wanted to give to you, all over an “offense”.

Two, if you are not a believer, then consider this… How often do you relate to my initial paragraph? How much stress is in your day simply because you allowed yourself to be offended? I for one am very guilty of this. Even if I wasn’t a believer in Christ, I can see the benefit of not allowing every little thing become a major assault on my “rights”. We all have inalienable rights according to our history but have we taken it a little too far? If I could look at life through a different pair of glasses or have a slight paradigm shift, how much less stressful would my life be? I mean really? Is it really necessary to live in a constant state of defense, looking for every single opportunity to be offended just so we can say “I am a victim, it is someone else’s fault?” When does it end?

I do understand that what I am proposing is a difficult task, especially for me; however, if we can take that one minute of a day and say, “I don’t have the right to be offended here and I am not going to be offended,” even for selfish reasons like lowering our own stress levels, then that is one minute we don’t lose and a minute we can use for something beneficial to ourselves or to someone else. And if we teach our children this simple thing, how much stress will we prevent in their lives? Talk about a gift!

So the next time you feel your stress level going up ask yourself, “where am I being offended here?” Once you identify the source of the offense, it is a little easier to see the reality of the situation and “choose” not to be offended. I am not saying that it will eliminate the feelings that go along with a given situation but I hope it will help you do live a more peaceful and joyous life, even if for only a moment in time.

Ken Dulaney