As I look at my life sometimes I am genuinely amazed.  It is without hesitation that I cans say, “If not for the peace of Jesus Christ I would be stressed out, run down and beat up.” Well, thank God for His peace.

See, in the last week alone I have found myself in the midst of some mess. Add to that the whirlwind of violence and bloodshed we’ve witnessed in the world and…I just can’t.

And yet, here I stand in perfect peace. A peace that surpasses all understanding. Why? “But God.”

I should be homeless, but God…. I should be hungry, but God….  I shouldn’t have a car, but God…. I should be struggling, but God…. my health started to fail, but God…. I should’ve been dead, but God….

God has been the difference between me being affected by Life and being afflicted. When life hands me lemons I say never mind lemonade, cut those suckers up and squirt Life square in the eye!

For those of you unfamiliar with my terminology of choice, allow me to clarify. The difference between affliction and affectedness is the difference between being a participant and being an observer.

Affliction happens to you. Affectedness happens around you. While being affected by something doesn’t negate it’s impact on your life it is your perspective and perception that differs.

A good comparison is that of a loved one afflicted with a terminal illness. While you are likely to be devastated by the news and potential loss, you are not the afflicted…you are the affected. 

Well, unlike illness (depending on what you believe) much of what we are afflicted and/or affected by is our choice. Allow me to explain further.

Two weeks ago tomorrow my car was towed due to parking tickets my estranged (not-yet-ex) husband didn’t take care of before abandoning his post as family patriarch. The ight before, two weeks ago today, I made a vow to forgive him; to release any animosity and hurt. I vowed to do my best to see him as God sees him; to recognize him as a traumatized individual who makes poor choices because of his pain. More aptly put, I would no longer harbor any (even subconscious) resentment for the man I’d married and would instead see him for what he is, a hurt person who hurts people.

The following morning, not 12 hours later, my car was gone. And when I investigated the cause, the man I’d vowed to forgive turned out to be the cause.

So what did I do? I kept my vow. I chose not to be afflicted by this incident. Though my car was gone, I believed that everything would work out wonderfully. 

See only days prior, I had been given a phone that would allow me to resume my social media marketing, virtual consulting and mobile counseling – work I’d had to cease because my trusted Blackberry had gone the way of Baby Doom.

This phone manifested through no effort of my own.  After months of trying to do something to make it happen, it came to be when I stopped trying. Thankfully, because of that experience, I knew that whatever happened it wouldn’t be because of me.

After several days of fighting to collect the money, with fees accumulating daily, I let go. I returned everyone’s money and made peace with the idea of losing my car. (I was fortunate enough to be retrieve my baby’s travel items from it).  But guess what? When folks found out I still didn’t havemy car, and was making peace with losing it, they came out of the woodwork to help.

I’ve had my car for the last several days. And, as always, I plan to bless others with that which I’ve been blessed. 

Please friend, don’t believe for a moment that I did anything. The only thing I can take credit for is having faith.  Grace and peace are gifts from God. They didn’t come from me, I just chose to use them both. You, too, can make the choice to see yourself as an observer of the madness around you rather than an active participant.

When you step back from what is making you crazy, you stop contributing as a crazy-maker. You remove yourself from the maze and can see beyond the dust. With an external perspective you gain a clarity that cannot be achieved “in the trenches.”

Let me put it look like this. You know how you can give evryone else advice on their life, but youb can’t figure out your own? Or perhaps you know people who have all the answers for you but their lives are a mess? Well, choosing to be affected rather than afflicted makes YOU the observer, the one with all the answers.

Choosing to be affected and not afflicted helps you to take a pause, gain new perspective and apply wisdom you may have disregarded as previously inapplicable.

Can you do it? Will you? I dare you to give this little trick a try. “I cannot help being affected, but I refuse to be afflicted.”

As always family, grace and peace be with you. Good luck and Namaste.