What is Your Default Setting

what is your default setting jkmcguire

What is your default setting? Seriously. Because if we are honest we all have one or two or half a dozen. It is our automatic reaction to the things happening around us.  It is our way of seeing and responding to the world – to other people.

We may lean towards being negative or positive or a plain vanilla realist, but no matter which way we lean in the midst of all our realities we have a default setting.

It is the way in which we consistently respond to and interact with everything and everyone we encounter.

The default setting I bring to myself is often worry. Unfortunately the default setting we offer ourselves is also the one we bring into the lives of other people. Worry at this moment tends to be my emotional go-to. It’s my relationship crutch, my way of avoiding hurt, or predicting pain.

At the root of worry is fear.

Fear is like a weed. You can treat the leaves and pluck the worry away, but in the end the darn thing will keep growing if you don’t pull it up from the root.

Fear is one of those stalkers that manifests itself in many formsworry is one type of weed from the family of fear.

worry is one type of weed from the family of fear jkmcguire

Choosing Advanced Settings

There is no fear in love… (I John 4:18)

The opposite of fear is love. Some may disagree with that statement, but mature love is absent of fear. There is no room for fear in love.

Because fear is about punishment – our fear of it, our shame. Fear shames us into submission.

Fear, much like shame, is an opportunistic bugger.

She’ll take any moment in your life to take over control and be your default setting for life. It doesn’t have to be that way. But oftentimes we are way down the road before we realize that fear jumped on our backs and decided to tag along.

We all have real – legitimate reasons to be afraid or to worry…

  • Not being able to breathe… being moments and choices away from death because of a blood clot in the lung. That is a legitimate reason to fear.
  • When you do not feel safe in your own home because at any moment people could make the choice to drive by, stop by, walk by – because something in their default setting tells them it is OK to do exactly what they want to do into other people’s lives even when they do not have consent. Even when you haven’t given them permission to move into your life like that anymore – fear comes rushing in when you do not feel like you have a choice. Fear comes when the unsafe places insist on being heard on their own terms, in their own timing. Insisting and forcing are the very definition of an unsafe people. While you can make a choice to not dwell in the toxicity anymore – toxic places insist on having the final word. Fear can be found in the places where you don’t feel like you are heard – when agendas are aggressively forced into your life – into your boundary places no matter how hard you try to stop it from happening in that way.
  • Watching little boys play – blood gushing out of faces, broken bones, and bruises and tears.
  • Having feminist warrior daughters – growing up in a woman-squashing world.
  • Rushing a child in anaphylactic shock to the emergency room. Scooping her limp body up into your arms as her world goes dark. Watching monitors react and race. Watching the IV drip meds into her veins.
  • A car rushing at you – slow motion collisions of headlights in the rain.
  • Tumors of unknown origin…Cancer meds, losing hair, violent physical reactions to treatment.
  • Being given a deadline on your life – you have so many months to live.
  • Losing your job. Or your insurance. Or your house. Or your parent. Or your kid.

There are many things that could happen. There are terrifyingly awful things that do happen to people every single day.

But “You can’t dress rehearse the bad moments.” – Brene Brown

you cant dress rehearse the bad moments brene brown quotes

Worry… Fear…. these are all a part of dress rehearsing your life.

The worst default setting to live in is fear. Fear immobilizes our lives leaving us unable to do any good – unable to move forward wholeheartedly.

You can not love fully and maturely when fear is your default.

Ask me how I know.

The worst default setting is to choose any weed from the family of fear.

I want to choose an Advanced Setting for my life.

  • my default reaction
  • my go-to
  • the first thing I pull out of my bag…

I want that setting to be love – wholehearted, mature, steadfast LOVE.

small size wear love jkmcguire bee flower

…regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. (Colossians 3:12-14)

I want to wear love – not worry, not shame, not anger, not blame.

I want to wear it into every place I go and with every person I encounter.

I want to be able to live with the doors of my home wide open without fear – no matter who happens to drive by or push in.

I choose to wear love into the toxic places – it protects me, it guides me. It is a healing balm for all the broken, bleeding, seeping places.

Love is an advanced life setting. It is a choice we make daily to not cycle on a toxic default.

love is an advanced life setting jkmcguire

What About Everyone Else

The thing is that not everyone around you is going to see their personal default setting in truth. To be honest we each have a hard time seeing ourselves clearly. We refuse to recognize how we each are prone to: worry, fear, choosing indifference, blame, shame, denial, judging, comparison, jealousy, vanity, narcissism, etc.

Some people won’t see it.

And that is OK.

Like I tell my kids – worry about what is in your own bowl.

It isn’t your job to help someone find a better default.

Your job is to find your own best settings for life.

Choosing a better default is something only you can do.

Join the Journey,


the front porch finding sundays at home small

Thoughts to Ponder on the Porch:

  1. What is your default setting(s)? Write them out.
  2. Are you prone to worry? Fear? Shame? Guilt? Anger? Martyrdom – playing the victim? Selfishness? Indifference?
  3. What is your truth? If you don’t know – is there someone you can bravely ask who will speak loving truth into your life?
  4. How does your default effect those around you?
  5. How does your default effect your life?
  6. What is the opposite of the negative defaults you have chosen? Can you learn a better way?
  7. What is one step you can take today – away from toxicity – to choose an advanced setting for your life?

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