2015 was filled with ups and downs. Just like every year before it. And every year to come. Its just life. Even when everything is going your way, there will be down days.
Some folks respond negatively. After all, we are all kind of wired to respond that way. We dont like the pain, the loneliness, the confusion, the thwarting of those good days that once defined what now seems to be the distant past. And rightfully so. Nobody likes this kind of personal pain. Nobody enjoys down days; its the nature of the thing. But responding negatively goes beyond our base level emotional response and to the outworking of a havoc wreaking negativity.
A door slammed. A maliscious word uttered. A paycheck spent. A pile of food consumed. A friend turned away. You get the drift. And you know exactly what I am talking about. Its that little "devil on one shoulder, angel on the other" situation that you find yourself in over and again...and you find yourself soliciting the advice of that little red monster more than the angelic force more frequently than you might want to admit.
But how can you turn that emotion (the one that causes you to slam that door or run a muck on the contents of the refridgerator) into an opportunity to turn the Down Day into something more? I think I have found a few tricks from the life of Jesus that just might help...
JESUS ALWAYS CALLED THINGS WHAT THEY WERE (read here)
He showed grace and mercy to the woman caught in adultery but before He sent her on her way he called her actions sinful; as they were. He called out the religious elite as sons of Hell and said they were cut from the same cloth as the devil. Jesus never beat around the bush when it was time to point out something that needed to be pointed out.
You have to learn to gauge your feelings at the moment you roll out of bed. Long term, your goal should be to learn to manipulate your own feelings and mindsets to transition moods away from down a dreary. You CANNOT do this if you can't call that bad mood a BAD MOOD. If you are acting like an (insert favortite insult here) then you have to call it what it is and try to see it as others feel it. Sometimes its fun to be that way. Sometimes it makes you feel better, even if for just a moment. But that is SELFISH. And, ultimately, the selfish attitude is only a bad icing on the bad day cake. So. Call it what it is. Own it. Do your best to change it. And, in living by the model of Jesus, seek a deeper help to put that down day away.
JESUS TOOK BACK THE TEMPLE (read here)
On multiple accounts, Jesus noticed the temple (purposed for the worship of God) being used in a sinful way as it was filled with the sinful people and sinful things of this world. The temple's value and, thusly, the reputation of God was being downgraded. Jesus did the right thing even when it wasn't the easy or popular thing. He took back the temple.
Many of our bad days are in response to bad things we have allowed into our lives.
Last night I made a mistake = today I live in regret and remorse.
Yesterday was awesome = today is back to the daily crap grind.
But the Bible calls our bodies, souls, and minds the TEMPLE of God's Spirit. It's where He resides if we are "in" Jesus! When we wake up to a bad mood and we are on track for a down day, we have to take a minute to braid some chords into a whip and formulate a plan to turn the tables over in our temple. We can't just sit by and let that down day happen. We have to fight back. We have to take our temple back!
JESUS DIED TO HIMSELF, DAILY (read here)
As Jesus' time on earth was drawing to a close, He became what seemed to be more dismal and dark, at first glance. He started talking about His impending death. He mentioned betrayal. He cried. He sweat great drops of blood in light of great emotional and spiritual stress. But as He sat there in the garden, weeping, praying, begging God for a way out of what would eventually be the worse down day ever...He didn't go on focusing on His plans and desires. He didn't keep begging. He surrendered His life to the one who gave it and empowered it and blessed it. He died to Himself everyday of His life but never, never like He did then. He drank the cup of wrath. He layed Himself down for the will of the Father and the good of all who would believe. As human beings, we have to learn to put to death those emotions and feelings and hurts that are bringing us down. We have to learn to embrace some pain and pressure and allow it to propel us to our ultimate purpose in this life. Simply put, we have to learn to die to ourselves, daily, too.
You will not prevail every time you face a down day. You will not choose to die to yourself each day. You will move forward in that anger. You will trek through the hills of loneliness. You will eat your emotions. You will go to bed feeling like a failure. But calling things the way they are, turning over the tables and taking back your temple, and dying to yourself daily are all things that can help you turn more down days into decent days than ever before. Make a practice out of these principles every single day; not just on the bad ones. In so doing, you will develop some muscles. Muscles that will give you the strength, by Jesus, to overcome.