It’s not always easy to wake up every single day with a happy attitude. There are many reasons why we could be tempted to be unhappy. I can name quite a few as I’m sure you could too!
One thing I do know is this: You do not just wake up one day and decide you are going to have a bad day, at least you shouldn’t. I’d be safe to say, for the most part, you wake up with good intentions, ready to follow the same routine you’ve followed for the past 10 years or so, hoping you get a good break, or at the least that one of your prayers will be answered. And that’s on a good day! On a bad day, you just want to make it through without hurting someone or something. But every day when you arise, you have a choice to select between two worlds—the world of endless possibilities or the world of unending disasters. Which world will you live in today?
What happens within the process of your day begins to mold and shape your future. Let’s say you woke up this morning with a heart full of hope and a new-found excitement because something amazing happened the day before. Perhaps you went to work and your boss told you you’ve been recognized by the big wigs in corporate and they are giving you a raise in pay. This is great news, especially when you’ve been praying for a year straight to see a break-through on your job. But what you didn’t know was that you were about to face a significant blow to your finances. Midday you receive a call that your son has totaled his vehicle, which you were still paying on. Instead of rejoicing that he is alive and well, you focus on the damaged car and how much it is going to cost to either repair or replace it. Your happy-go-lucky attitude just got sucked into the phone line and didn’t come back: it was replaced with anxiety.
Say that then on the way home you get a call that a close relative was murdered. Not only taken from his family and loved ones but taken way too early in life. You try to gather your thoughts but cannot. At this point your confusion gives way to all the other pressures you haven’t really dealt with, like the bills that still need to be paid, not to mention the fact that there’s no way you’ll be able to travel for the funeral. This grieves you above all else.
You then cry out to God and ask, “WHYYYY!?!?” “Why,” because you do not understand how someone like yourself who abides by a moral code—who lives by the golden rule everywhere you go, who lives to please and honor God, who prays, works hard, serves her family, the local church and community, loves others, and gives, and gives, and gives, yet doesn’t feel the fulfillment of what you expect. I mean, you do your best to live as a law-abiding citizen, you don’t go around hurting people, not that you are perfect but you’re certainly not a menace to society. “So, what is the deal? Where am I missing it?”
These are questions I’ve asked myself over and over. It’s as if you’re at the breaking point and you can’t handle another problem. You really want to give up, but what does that look like?
“Do I stop answering my son’s calls? Do I ignore the bill collectors? Do I go home and hide under my blankets and binge on movies or play games on my phone like candy crack (I mean Candy Crush) all night until I have no more lives or money?”
Then slowly but surely you begin to retreat from the fight. It’s what they call a fight or flight moment. I can say I have done both on multiple occasions. It’s just that some days are better than others and some days I feel better than others. You know those days when you feel like you can conquer the world and defeat the Kaiju alien monsters from the movie “Pacific Rim.” Then you have those days where you feel like a helpless orphaned child with nowhere to go and no one there to help.
For me, I did not realize I was slowly beginning to retreat. Even though there were battles I was winning, there seemed to be a lot more stacked against me. My strength was fading, but I did not and would not admit it. After all I was being watched by EVERYONE! And people were depending on me both to succeed and to fail. (But that’s a whole other subject for later.) My health was declining. My relationships were thinning, my money was waning, leading me to start feeling sorry for myself and questioning who I was. In my rejection I was acting like Cain. Instead of being true to myself and self-confident, I was subjecting my heart to unnecessary suffering, blaming everyone else for my problems and hating them because of it.
I would compare this experience to the parable Jesus mentioned during one of his teachings. In Luke 13:6-9, he taught the disciples the parable of the barren fig tree. A man was walking his vineyard to see if his fig tree had bore any fruit, as it had been three years since he planted it. He found no fruit. He told his worker to cut the fig tree down because it was useless and a waste of good soil. The worker replied, “Sir, leave it this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. Perhaps it will bear fruit next year, but if not, you can cut it down.”
That parable tells me there is hope. Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to pull out the roots as if they are bad, but if we cultivate the trees of our mind, we may get a better crop. The tree itself has the ability to give a good or poor harvest. We just need to dig around a little more and fertilize it better. Sometimes it’s not always good to pull out roots because it leaves a hole that needs to be filled. Take our teeth, for example. When the dentist pulls out a tooth, she recommends we replace that area with a sort of brace or a replacement tooth in order to keep the rest of the teeth in their prospective places. If you uproot that tree that God planted, you run the risk of other things in your life shifting out of place. Let’s cultivate our ground and impregnate our thoughts with God’s word as fertilizer and see a better harvest from our lives.
Take a moment to share what you are thankful for…