Have you ever been entirely, unreasonably angry over nothing? My family has always called this being "mad at the world." I'm not sure where that came from, though it's maybe something close to being mad at creation, mad at the animals for existing, mad at the earth for turning...in other words, mad for completely useless reasons.
Those who know me, know that I am normally an overwhelmingly positive person. I am the glass-half-full girl, one who tries to see the hope in every situation. Recently, however, I have had a few days that tested that optimism. It was like all of the situations in my life aligned in such a way to make me have HORRENDOUS trouble. Everything I touched immediately fell apart. Every one of my children needed me and asked me questions at the same time that everything was falling apart or breaking. And what was falling apart was lunch that I was trying to make...the snafus included dumping a whole box of fettucini noodles in the floor. I WAS DONE!
Have you ever had those days? What helps you get past that negative vibe you have? What helps you out of that silly funk that has you down? Better still, what put you there in the first place? The last time I was there (not too long ago!), I thought about it in this way. Why am I in such a tizzy? What has bothered me enough to take me from worshipping God and praising His name at church, to falling apart and nearly in tears at home?
I'll tell you about it. It all started with me thinking about a certain situation on my way home. I was ruminating, speculating about why someone did a certain thing with someone else. And jealousy started tap-tap-tapping at my heart. If you've never read the Frank Peretti books (This Present Darkness, Piercing the Darkness-if you've not, go get them!), imagine Jealousy as this little black, leathery creature who invisibly sits on your shoulder, whispering into your ear. He is there to stir up trouble, period. And if he can get hold of you like he did me, he can invite lots of other friends to join the party, not the least of which is Anger.
Before I knew what was happening, Anger had gotten hold of me, and it was all I could do to stand myself!! By this time, I had gotten home and was fixing lunch. I was slamming cabinet doors, dumping pasta on the floor (unintentionally), knocking things over, having bowls falling on my head out of my cabinet...you name it. And this went on for at least 10 minutes, me ranting and raving, everything going nowhere, the kids coming and saying, "When's lunch? What are we having? But I don't WANT pasta!!" I was fit to be tied.
Finally, I got right enough in my head to start praying. "Lord, take this far away from me! I don't know why I'm feeling this way, but it's not me, and I don't want it! Bring me back down to normal, Lord, and make me stop feeling this way!" I leaned over my kitchen sink and prayed and prayed. And finally, I had some peace. Finally, I started feeling more like myself; I slowed down, I got lunch ready, everyone ate and was fine.
It was only after the fact that I made the connection between the one little "in" I gave the enemy and what it eventually turned into. Feeling more flabbergasted by the moment, I thought about it; I let one teeeeensy-tiny sin in. One! It was minute! So very small, seemingly innocuous...but deadly nonetheless. It started a chain reaction in my "thought closet" (thank you, Jennifer Rothschild for that term!) that poisoned my heart for a good two hours!
So what's the point? Take care of your thoughts. Mind what goes on in your head, and the feelings and thoughts you let take hold of you, even for just a moment or two. They can snowball into things you never meant them to be. Don't be like me; don't forget to pray until it's already gotten bad! Police yourself as soon as you feel that little niggle of, "Why not me? I'm just as deserving!" Or "I guess she doesn't care about me, since she didn't do this or that." Even better, "I can do that so much better, Lord; why didn't *I* get to do that?" Take hold of those thoughts by the neck. Kick them firmly out of your head, and pray to our Father to heal that rift in your heart.
(Also, as an aside, do you notice something about these statements? It's all I, I, I, me, me, me. It comes down to our selfish human nature and how we think we are worth something, deserving of something. Friend, we are dust on the soles of Jesus' feet. We are nothing compared to the Lord of Lords, but thanks be to God, He loves us anyway!)
This past Sunday, we sang together as a congregation, "Wonderful, merciful Savior, precious Redeemer and friend; who would've thought that a lamb could rescue the souls of men?" Jesus is that lamb. I pray that if you don't know Him already, you get to know Him. Get to know the love He had for you, even before you were realized on this earth. Won't you, please?
Lord, I pray for my sisters (and brothers!) out there; I pray that they could squelch any negativity borne of sin in their lives, and live in Your light. Amen!