Have you ever had a blue day… maybe not dark blue, but not the sunny sky blue that lights up the sky and feels like summer. It’s more like the gray blue that’s tinged with sadness and mutes all joy. It’s not unusual for blue days to slither through places we visit multiple times in a week: the gas station, grocery, other stores, church, workplace, restaurants and other places where people meet and greet. It’s common to hear complaints, see people in subtle conflict, or witness unforgiving anger. After while, all those circulating emotions suffocated the happy out of me. You know that last straw; that last nerve; that hair-thin filament …well it broke. I stopped letting all those situations rent temporary space in my head and I started to own those feelings projected by others until my own attitude was affected. Stop! Just stop it! I don’t own those issues; I sure don’t need them. Proverbs 17:9 says “Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” All those episodes had nothing to do with my close friends, but some of the conflict was between friends, most of them working together. What if instead of griping about a situation, and gossiping about someone who isn’t there to defend themselves, that displaced energy was used to actually solve a problem? Love covers over an offense. I’d rather own an attitude of love. Proverbs 10:12 makes that same statement, but with a little more audacity. “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.”
I was lamenting to Tim (my husband for those who don’t know me) that I was buried in such negativity everywhere I went. It seems that there is unrest everywhere and petty grievances turn into little earthquakes that erupt in dissension. My positive attitude was getting a little tarnished and crinkled around the edges. Sad. I was reminded of a Psalm chapter 37, verse 4 “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Are the desires of my heart to be dragged to the pit by attitudes and actions of people? Or could I focus on the uplifting acts of friends like Marcia Thompson who put together little packets of ideas for performing random acts of kindness; or the ministries expressing love, respect and value of each other. I was treading dangerously close to losing perspective and forgetting about all the good things because I was surrounded by too much negativity. I read a letter from someone who I reported to years ago, but have stayed in touch with who recently visited India. On his list of 12 lessons learned, he observed “Evil is everywhere looking for an opening into our heart.” No matter where we travel, the enemy of our souls is waiting for an opportunity to slither into our lives and infect us with poison. If this happens, and it will, Stop! Just stop it! and remember the instruction of Ephesians 4:26-27 “In your anger do not sin, do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” I am thankful for people who turn thoughts into actions and bad situations into victories.
Reading the story from Tom’s trip to India taught me something about ownership. There are many things in life that we don’t have to own: complaints of others, their criticisms, their ridicule, and their attitudes. What we do own is our own attitude and what we harbor in our hearts. Remember the cycle. What we put into our minds becomes a thought, a thought seeps into our hearts, our hearts produce the actions. I don’t know about you, but I want to own the thoughts that produce good actions. Remember what we own as Proverbs 23:7 tells us, as we think in our heart, that’s how we really are. Our Pastor Frank Snyder has repeated to us over and over you can’t do right if you don’t think right. We need to own right thinking. Let’s skip through a few verses in Philippians 4 “Be full of joy always because you belong to the Lord. Let all people see how gentle you are. Do not worry. Learn to pray about everything. Give thanks to God. The peace of God is much greater than the human mind can understand. Be at peace. Keep your minds thinking about whatever is true, whatever is respected, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever can be loved, and whatever is well thought of. Be thankful for everything. Keep on doing good deeds. The Lord gives me a reason to be full of joy. “
Let’s own this day and make it full of joy and as Philippians 4:9 says “God Who gives peace will be with you.”
If I could see …. by Amy Grant http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGRPLeBBhyY