I never cease to be amazed at the things that people can do when they are pushed to their limits. Everyone has their breaking point, but it is at that point that we find out who we really are. It is said that who you are when nobody is looking reveals your true character. There is some truth to that, but I think you have to include being stressed to the breaking point as well. That reveals your strengths and weaknesses in ways that are unique.
When you are stressed to the max, what happens? Do you explode on people? Do you withdraw silently and sulk? Do you plot revenge? Do you hold a grudge? There are obviously a thousand responses to stress, but the one that we need to remember is to breath.
The other day I broke up a fight before it could really get started. Two boys were highly charged and ready to unleash on each other. I sent one to the back of the line and pulled the other one aside to talk to him. I just told him this, “Breath! You are worked up over something that does not really matter. Breath, and let it go.” He took a breath and visibly calmed down in front of me. Wow. The power of oxygen to the brain!
When you are stressed to the breaking point, wonderful things can happen if you are full of faith, hope, and love. Tragic things happen when you are filled with hatred, bitterness, and revenge. The difference in how you respond could literally be in breathing! You have to be able to think unemotionally to make a good decision.
As you look at the news on a daily basis it seems to be filled with people with flawed character: looters, murderers, and people who seem to lack a soul. They do what they want, when they want, to whom they want…with no thought of consequences. Here is what I believe: sooner or later everyone will be held accountable for their words and actions. My hope and prayer is that people of character will stand up and do what is right in the face of evil because evil never backs down if unopposed. We each have to do our part when we are stressed by doing the right thing, and that begins with simply taking a breath.