Knees, Jerks and Other Reactions

knees-ii-photopinIf kneejerk reactions and bonehead moves were featured in a catalogue, how many of us would have our own special label?

In all truthfulness and humiliation, I raise my hand…much more slowly than my knees are prone to jerk.

I have a great patellar reflex – the tendency of the knee to jerk involuntarily when hit sharply – and laugh every time the doctor gives me a good whack on the knee. Without a single thought, my leg responds with an immediate swift kick in the air.

Sometimes though, you’d think my emotions had just been hit with a rubber mallet when knees, jerks and other reactions are afoot.

Recently I found myself apologizing to my husband for a kneejerk reaction that involved bacon. His bacon, which looked more cooked to my liking than my bacon. A quick switcheroo on the restaurant plate and voila! I was happy. He was not. Ham story short, I cooked him up the most wonderful, perfectly done serving of bacon for breakfast several days later. He enjoyed every bite and I got my knees tucked back under me.

You might say, “Nancy! It’s just bacon for Pete sake!” Oh, no no no no no. I like my bacon perfectly done.

Whoever has insider information on how I like my bacon is a friend indeed. But it can get me in trouble.

You see, the problem with knees, jerks and other reactions arises when we like (or want, or think, or believe, or hope for) something so much, that we immediately react without stopping to consider what we’re doing or saying.

Kneejerk reactions are spontaneous, but they may also be rash and impulsive.

Kneejerk reactions are instinctive, but they can also be impetuous.

Kneejerk reactions are automatic, but oftentimes mechanical having been engaged in so often.

Kneejerk reactions are unthinking at best and reckless at worst.

I am grateful for the mercy of knowing that I have lots of company. It seems the entire U.S. has been rife with knees, jerks and other reactions since the election season got underway many months ago. We are soon to have a new set of knees under that desk in the Oval Office.

If there has ever been a time we need to reign in our kneejerk reactions and consider what we’re doing or saying in our ‘pie of life’, it will be as we recalibrate to life under a new Presidency. This calls for remembering that as believers chosen in Christ Jesus, we are in this world but not of it. (John 15:19)

If we desire to be world changers, time spent on our knees humbly before our God will help prevent acting like jerks. He has other reactions to share with us if we will but stop, drop and listen to His voice.

On one hand, the bacon episode may read like a relatively incidental reaction when one considers the magnitude of a political election and the course of a nation. But here’s the grease on that one:

Unless and until we learn to control our kneejerk reactions in the small things, our aspiration to impact the big things remains in dire need of knee time. Otherwise, the jerks get a reaction out of us every time.
To which they can point and say, “You’re no different than the rest of us!”

God help us to become what we proclaim we are.

The case of the bacon snitching, spontaneous and rash as it was, provided a real opportunity to make real amends. Owning my kneejerk reaction and calling it for what it was – selfish and inconsiderate, asking for forgiveness, receiving it when it was given, and practicing the act of restitution when I made that perfectly cooked bacon several days later, brought closure to that unthinking response of mine. You can bet I learned a lesson from it too: I’ll think twice about snitching bacon in the future.

Multiply a host of small things and you find yourself confronted with some pretty big things. No matter. The same principle applies: God help us to become what we proclaim we are.

It’s said you eat an elephant one bite at a time. It’s also how you break down a big thing into bite-sized pieces and learn to react in the opposite spirit of a jerk…

One amended kneejerk reaction at a time. ▪

Each of us have personal traits and tendencies that don’t serve us well or serve God’s purpose or best for us or others. Personally, I’d like to vote in a law requiring the new President and all their peeps to go through the life maps. But since that kneejerk reaction is not going to come to fruition, there must be a better use of my time, talents and heart.
Lucky you’s 🙂

I invite you to reach me here to consider your own knees, jerks and other reactions. And I promise not to pilfer your bacon.

~ Nancy

Photo credit: photo credit: Ryan Dickey via photopin (license)

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