He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

23 June 2010

We All Have THOSE Days

I can be the queen of bad moods some times. I can be just plain ugly for no reason other than my irritating sin nature. Whereas I consider my temperament to be somewhat extreme, I realize that most everyone out there deals with crabby moods or rough patches sometimes. Sometimes we just need a break from people, even the people we love. It can happen to ANYONE at ANY age and for ANY reason. Maybe a rough start to the day depleted your patience so you're running short in the afternoon. Maybe a late night kept you awake and tired OR excessive whining, mischief or disobedience from the kids has worn you down OR your dear hubby has said something you interpreted as unkind OR your boss is driving you batty. We all have those days but we don't have to react to them out of anger or impatience. We can choose to handle them in a God honoring way.

You may be familiar with many of these strategies but a little reminder doesn't hurt

In the immediate
Breathe. Let's say your kiddo has just...oh, I don't know... broken the plate you bought to tell your husband you were pregnant with your first child {clears throat}. What to do? First, DON'T SAY A WORD! Stop... take a very purposeful deep breathe. Breathe in through your nose and count to 5. Breathe out through your mouth and count to 10. {I found several suggestions for how to de-stress through breathing and I bet you could find many more if you google "stratagies to de-stress"}
Start with 24 and count backwards to 9 slowly. This buys you a little time to think rationally and doing it backwards requires a little thought so you distract yourself to take the edge off your response.
Pray. Just a little quickie prayer for patience and wisdom will, once again, take your focus off the situation for just a second so you can rationally handle yourself.

If you've got a minute
Take a walk. Set a goal of a distance or number of steps and get moving. If you have the kids, throw them in the stroller and just go. Fresh air works wonders for the soul and your patience. The distraction of what's going on outside can be calming. Take note of things on the walk and share a moment of appreciation to the Lord for all the little wonders of the world outdoors.
Get some perspective.
Yesterday was a particularly tough day for me for absolutely no reason at all. I woke up in a comfortable bed in a home at a comfortable temperature {despite the humidity outside}. My two beautiful babies had slept through the night. Sweet Hubby was hard at work to provide for our family. There was food in the cupboards to make a healthy, delicious breakfast and I had the whole day to do exactly what I wanted. Sweet Hubs came home for lunch {a treat I realize many people don't get to enjoy} and I vented that there were dishes in the sink that needed to go into the dishwasher which was full of clean dishes, crumbs on the floor under the cabinets that stuck to my feet which annoyed me, and that I had a lot of clothes to put away which I didn't want to. {I know, I know... you are also thinking that I live a rough life and I appreciate your pity.} So Dear Hubs rolled his eyes and told me to stop what I was doing and come sit on his lap. As I curled up into the chair with him he asked if I wanted some perspective and, after telling him "absolutely not!", he told me "There was a Holocaust and millions of Jews were slaughtered. Some people in the world don't have clean water to drink today. Some people don't own shoes. People starve to death in this world daily. Many mom's have to work and can't stay home with their kids."
Need I say more?
Smile. Laugh. It's even better when you do it in the mirror. One of the greatest pieces of advice I ever got wasYou cannot feel yourself into a way of acting but you can act yourself into a way of feeling. You may not feel like smiling or being perky in any manner, but for just a minute, fake it. Smile so big your face hurts. Laugh so loud your neighbors think you've gone crazy. I looked up a couple of sites to support this and got a long list of sites and studies that agree. {How Stuff Works; Work Happy Now; Can Smiling Make You Happy?, to name a few}
Be Thankful.
Debi Pearl, the author of Created to be His Help Meet, has a lot to say about husbands and wives in her book but one of the things that I took away from the book has helped me in many situations outside of my marriage as well. Debi writes "Joy begins with thankfulness... Thankfulness is how you think; joy is the abundance it produces." The Bible, particularly Colossians, has plenty to say about being thankful. Colossians 3:15 commands it. I have found that when I'm stressing or getting upset about something, taking a moment to sit down and go through the long list of all the things I have to appreciate and, again, takes the focus off me and puts it on the blessings in life that God has given me.

For the long-haul:
Have you been in the Word lately? I ask only because that is one of the first questions I ask myself when I know my attitude is far from pleasant. I can almost always attribute my crabbiness to the fact the my devotions have been somewhat lacking. I often make the excuse that I'm a busy lady and don't have time to sit down and have a REAL devotional time of deep exhaustive prayer and meditation so I just skip it completely. WRONG! I have realized that even getting through half of a chapter is enough to get me through the day when I feel crunched for time. I am not suggesting one way or another how your should handle your devotional life. I am, however, suggesting that 5 minutes spent in the Word is far better than no time at all.
Do something for someone else. I am one of those people who happens to believe that pharmaceutical companies are makin' bank off of people who are diagnosed with depression when in reality, a dose of getting over yourself, would be more affective. {Disclaimer: everyone's case is different and I'm not a psychologist and yes, there are people who genuinely do need medical intervention. I'm just saying that I believe sometimes doctors should be skipping the pills and passing out maps to the nearest food pantry.} No matter what religious, race, or cultural background a person comes from, doing "good" unto others is accepted as a "good" thing. No matter what the motive {school requirement, "goodness" of your heart, work requirement, family tradition, religious obligation} treating someone else as you would like to be treated is good for the giver as well as the receiver. The benefits for the receiver are fairly obvious but for the giver, it gives a sense of purpose, accomplishment, pride and satisfaction. The more down and discontent you find yourself, the more you should do for others. This, AGAIN, takes the focus off YOU!

Remember... Anger happens when you don't get something you think you deserve.
By the grace of God we do not have to get what we deserve and THAT should make you smile!

1 comment:

  1. I know this is 2 years old, but I really needed it today :)


I always love a good comment.


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