Summer should be such a happy time of year, right? What could be better than vacations, sunshine, and beaches? This particular summer I got neither a beach nor a vacation, but at least I was free from the rat race of homework. (That alone is a vacation worth celebrating, if you have school age children.) Yet in the midst of this great season, I found myself feeling particularly grumpy. Maybe it was being behind at work. Perhaps it was feeling like I never truly took advantage of the time to rest and relax. I was not very clear on the source of the grumps, but I am pretty certain the other Conlees were very aware that I was not on my A game.
After a few days, I noticed that Chris’s disposition was apparently being impacted by my less than stellar attitude. It was at that point that I realized I was being used and I had better do something about it. Of course, we can all have days where we would love a “do over,” but when we start to see a pattern we must stop and take action. Why? Because the enemy would love nothing more than to use us – the very creatures designed to bring joy and peace and nurture to our friends and family – to wreak havoc on those very same people. We cannot allow him the satisfaction of using us.
Here are three things you can do when you know that you are not in a good place:
1. Find some solitude
Your first reaction is likely the same as mine: How can I? Our attitudes often get sour because we are spent. Small kids, old kids, or no kids, we just need to be able to get our thoughts in order. We need to get alone and be still before the Lord. Before you decide you can’t make this happen, consider the price you will pay for just plodding along. Is it really worth it to infect the rest of your home with a half-empty perspective? Take an afternoon, a day, a weekend and remove yourself from the noise. Yes, this may mean calling a friend and borrowing her house while she is out of town, or asking someone to watch your kids. This is a small price (that can often be bartered!) for returning joy to your home.
2. Find some inspiration
This time around I decided that I needed a friend to vent to and some inspiration. I got online and found a free worship event a few hours from here. I called a friend and we took an impromptu adventure. The Lord knew just what I needed and He does for you, too. I walked away from our 20-hour adventure with hope and focus to keep my eyes on the Lord. None of my circumstances changed in those 20 hours, but everything about how I saw them did.
3. Find a verse
Our minds can be our greatest strength and our greatest weakness. The difference is whether or not we are renewing them. If you find yourself battling discouragement, a daily time with the Lord may not be enough. If the enemy is really messing with you, then get a verse that speaks hope into your struggle and hold tight. Keep it in front of you. Speak it. Memorize it. Pray it.
Whatever you do, do not let the enemy use you to bring your family and friends down. Check out Thursday’s blog for 7 verses to cling to when you are struggling.