Michigan winters are long. Even without snow, the gray skies and the chilly air make it feel ridiculously long. There have been a few days lately where I’ve been in a weird mood and it has been hard to pull out of it.
One of the first things I read yesterday morning was an article about how being grumpy and angry are (supposedly) better for your job, health and marriage. I normally don’t like links on Facebook, because there are just sooooo many of them that I don’t have the time…but this article by BBC caught my attention. I thought it might be click bait, but the whole article went into detail about what they thought (without many actual facts) was the reason behind why cynics run the best businesses and happy people get the most drunk. Basically making the point, that being happy is overrated and that if you actually want to succeed, then you need to embrace negative emotions.
However, I think they missed a major emotion. They didn’t mention JOY at all. When you chase work, stuff, relationships, events or even something as silly as “likes” to bring you happiness, then you end up feeling empty, unsatisfied and discontent. I’ve personally never liked the results of my anger or false happiness and I know those around me haven’t benefited either. True JOY and peace can only come from knowing that Christ is in control and that He already solved our biggest problem. After reading the article, I talked to Xav about it and it was just interesting to think about the lies that people believe that keep them chained to chasing fake happiness or fully embracing grumpiness and anger. Both stem from no view of eternity, no hope in the saving work of Jesus, and no great desire to focus on the people around them.
In light of the article, I revised a list I made last year to help me combat rogue grumpy feelings. I believe that joy is more than just a feeling, it is a choice. You can be sad and have joy in Christ, you can be happy and have joy in Christ, you can be frustrated and still have joy in Christ. But being grumpy or taking out anger on people around you is nearly impossible to pair with a deep joy in Christ. This list is what I want to try to work through every time I acknowledge that my emotions aren’t right and that my grumpiness is stealing my witness and my joy.
- Pray. I know God sees me on my worst days. I also know that He took care of my biggest problem (I was headed for eternity without Him and He called me out of darkness and into His marvelous light). My bad attitudes can only be rerouted with His help so I want to start with asking for it instead of just trying to pull myself along by myself.
- Speak truth to yourself. This one goes hand in hand with prayer. When I speak truth from God’s word to myself and start to see the areas where I am believing lies, I am more quick to put off the attitude.
- Be thankful. Thankfulness comes from 1 and 2 more than anything else… but God has given me so many things to be thankful for that I often choose to complain about instead. (For example, if I didn’t have my job then Xavier and I wouldn’t have been able to get married when we did and yet most days I complain that I have to get up and go to work every single day. But when I stop and think about it, I would gladly work even more to know that I could come home to him every day).
- Look up. Looking outside of yourself at the needs around you and thinking about other people instead of yourself is crazy good at fixing my perspective. I spend far too much time looking at myself and dwelling on my situation. When I see people who are truly hurting, it makes me have a wider perspective.
- Dance. I don’t know why I love to dance so much when I know I am awful at dancing. There is just something about moving to fun music that helps me shake off a mentality of grumpiness.
- Laugh. Scroll through Pinterest humor boards, look up Brian Reagan on YouTube, tell 97 bad jokes to anyone who will listen. When you laugh during stressful times it releases the muscles that have been holding onto tension and makes you feel lighter and more positive.
- Even better… Do something silly to try and make someone else laugh. Much like looking outside of ourselves at the needs of others, bringing laughter to the face of another person often brings laughter to myself as well.