There are several ways to take stock of our lives. One way I like to compare to are businesses. Businesses take an inventory of the items they sell so they know what they have on hand for their customers, what is not selling well, and what they need to order more of. Why do they do this? Because if they didn’t their business would most likely fall due to ignoring the basic needs of their customers.
I want to use this analogy and apply it to my own daily inventory. Let’s take a look.
1. How have my interactions affected others?
In the business world, this would be taking an inventory of the items on hand to sell. My interactions are the items. The customers are the people I interact with. So, during my inventory, I would recap my day and the interactions I had with others. I ask the question, have the things I’ve done or said caused hurt to anyone in my immediate circle? This is not to say I have to walk on eggshells and fall prey to pleasing people, but it does pose the following questions;
“Have my actions or reactions glorified God today?” (Matthew 5:16)
“Have I loved well?” (Mark 12:31)
“Have I spoken to others in a kind way?” (Proverbs 31:26)
“Have I lashed out in anger to someone?” (Proverbs 15:1)
By asking these questions and recording them, I can honestly see where I could improve. God is taking us through the sanctification process (Philippians 2:12-13) every day. Remember it is a process. We cannot be perfect, but we can strive to improve each day.
2. What am I doing that I could do better?
Keeping with the business comparison, this would be equivalent to a business taking inventory to see what is staying on its shelves. In other words, what is not working? I take a look at my day and the interactions I had, I can see clearly what needs some improvement. This is not always easy for me to digest at first. Approaching my behavior with an open mind, God begins to reveal areas where I could lean more on His strength rather than my own. I recall a saying I’ve heard over the years, “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.” Well, maybe I don’t want to catch flies! Maybe I would rather catch something pretty like, let’s say, dragonflies. 😊 So, this analogy doesn’t apply to me, right? Wrong! I can replace the word “flies” with any insect is wish; butterflies, bees, or dragonflies for example, but it still doesn’t change the outcome. No insects like the smell of vinegar. Just like people don’t necessarily care for my reactions spewing vinegar. If my words reek of vinegar (sour and foul), then I am only pushing them away. God’s design for me is to be in unity with others (Colossians 3:13-14). By choosing my reactions in love, or honey as it were, I am cultivating unity and serenity, by drawing them close (Proverbs 16:24).
3. Have I been wrong today?
In business, the customer is always right. Therefore, when taking their inventory, they see what is flying off the shelves and what they need more of. If they didn’t do this, the customers would not have their basic needs met and they would likely not visit the store again. The same goes with me. If I am continually reacting to people in a negative way and not evaluating my responses, they are likely to turn away from me and not visit me frequently. This would cause isolation which leads to depression and other health concerns. Again, please hear me, I’m not advocating tippy-toeing around people and breaking healthy boundaries, but I am saying speak the truth in love, not discontent. There is a right and wrong way of saying everything. A sarcastic or anger-filled response is always more hurtful than a well-thought-out and calm response to any situation. Listen, in my experience, anger breeds deeper anger and resentment. Negative reactions breed more negative reactions. I’ve seen it happen. I may be in a great mood all day, but the moment my husband comes home and is in a bad mood, then my mood changes – IF I allow it to. Did you see that? My reaction to any situation is a choice. If I take the time (only a second or two) to think about it and ask myself “what would Jesus do or say”, then I am more likely to have a different response (Matthew 5:38-40).
After a business has taken their inventory, they create an action plan to ensure their customer's satisfaction. God’s action plan for us is rather simple:
"Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
In order to have a life of serenity and unity with others, as God desires for me I must continue to take a daily inventory and when I am wrong, promptly make my amends. To this day, I reflect with God about the events of my day and record it in a journal. Some days I see clearly where I need improvement and other days I don’t. That is all a part of the process. A process that God continues within me each day.
Take me to the next post in the series.
Think About It:
Now that you have had some time to start taking a daily inventory, how have your actions and reactions changed?
What are some recurring actions or reactions you have found during your daily inventories?
How can you work to improve these actions and reactions?
Take a moment and write out your personal action plan. Find encouraging Bible scriptures to help you.
Journal About it:
Follow along in the My Journey Journal© (subscriber password required) and write about how the questions and scriptures today resonated with you. As you write, thank Him for showing you the way in your journey.
Pray About it:
As you think and write, say this prayer with me.
Thank you for helping me to realize where my actions and reactions cause hurt to others. I praise you, Lord for continually working on my heart to soften it to Your ways. Help me daily to stop before I react and ask what would You do?
In Jesus' name,
Talk About it:
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