“What is the matter with you? Behave. Act like yourself!”
Remember being told to “act like yourself” when you were a kid? It is not always easy to do. But you find relief and enjoy peace when you act like yourself. This means you stay relational throughout hardship and trials. Staying relational helps you:
- Recover from distress
- Avoid regret, disappointment and guilt.
- Be flexible and recuperate from hardship rather than deteriorate and stay stuck.
Staying relational means you continue to interact with other people and remember who you are in the midst of distress. Whether you are cut off on the highway, stuck in long lines at the grocery store or trapped in an elevator you can remain yourself rather than crumble and say or do things you normally would not. You bless others who curse you, walk an extra mile and even turn the other cheek when you remain yourself.
Often, especially during distress, you forget who you are and how it is like you to act.
Some people act out:
- Become angry, then curse and swear
- Throw temper tantrums
- Hurt other people.
Others, when they feel hopeless or ashamed, turn to coping mechanisms such as:
- Destructive and immoral behavior
You end up with regret, remorse, and disappointment when you do and say things that do not portray your heart. You become ensnared when you forget who you are and fail to act like yourself.
Return To Joy
You have an infinite number of coping mechanisms to choose from when you fail to handle distress. Thankfully, there are only six basic emotions to conquer in order to return to joy. We thrive when we stay relational in each of the…
…two sympathetic emotions (rage and terror-action) and the
…four parasympathetic emotions (disgust, shame, hopeless despair and sadness-shutdown).
When you have no people or past experience to draw on, these emotions jolt you into a tailspin—which can easily happen during holiday busyness.
You act like yourself when you stay relational, suffer well, perform good works, and synchronize with God and the people around you. Because you are created for good works in Jesus Christ, you fail when you lack performing the good works that result from who God made you to be. Ephesians 2:10 declares,
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” NKJV
These good works stem from who God made you to be. They result from knowing Him. Good works are not hoops to jump through or formulas to perform in order to be close to God.
Good works are the by-product of salvation, not the other way around. “Good works” can have several implications, based on your perceptions, experience, or culture. So rather than speculate, let’s see what the words of Scripture meant to the people to whom they were addressed.
In Ephesians 2:10, good in Greek is agathos, a primary word for good, which means ‘benefit’, or ‘well’. Agathos derives its meaning from another Greek word, kalos. Kalos can mean properly, beautiful, but chiefly good, valuable, or virtuous, honest, and worthy.
Works derives its name from the Greek word ergon, which means toil, deed, doing, and labor. 1 In other words, we are new creations in Christ Jesus for honest, worthy, virtuous, and valuable deeds.
The result of your actions, behavior, thoughts, words and lives should reflect these qualities, because this is what you are fashioned to do. When you fail to accomplish this, you are not acting like yourself.
Kalos is the same Greek word Jesus uses in Matthew 5:16 to describe the kind of works we will do as good witnesses for Him. He explains as we let our light shine before others, people can see our good (kalos) works then glorify God. (Paraphrase mine)
Jesus used this term when rebuking the disciples for judging the woman who poured a flask of expensive oil on his head. Jesus said her action for Him was kalos. We can rest knowing good works flow from us when we stay connected to God and act like ourselves, the way He made us.
For help with learning to act like yourself, seriously consider attending Thrive or bring the local version (Connexus) to your church. Go here for information on how to do that.
We will continue this then next week. Look for “Sin and Not Acting Like Yourself!”
Thrive Training Reminder…
Feb. 23-27, in Austin, Texas
July 26-31, 2015 in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Registration Information here.
May your Christmas joy be full,
Chris & Carol
Chris Coursey, MA Theology – Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org
Twitter – @coursey_chris
Carol A. Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive www.fromgodsheart.com
Carol’s email – firstname.lastname@example.org