Monday, January 12, 2009

A Grumpy Story...

I've already posted about some recent blessings, but as I lay in bed last night writing in my journal, I was thanking the Lord for His goodness and kindness of another sort. And so as not to paint a too cloying picture of my life, I want to tell this.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday morning. I didn't like feeling grumpy, and I kept trying my best to overcome it, but that feeling of being out of sorts only seemed to get worse as the morning went along. I hadn't slept well. My stomach was upset, and I was dizzy. My eyes felt gritty and they were puffy from allergies. And on top of this my head was throbbing.

I was hurrying to get ready for the early morning church service, and when I took the dog outside, three big, friendly neighborhood dogs swarmed and jumped all over us, getting my pants muddy. I tried to shrug it off, but my grumpiness increased, and I was now feeling in no mood to go anywhere or to be around people.

At the same time, I felt incredibly immature, and I struggled to get over myself. Struggled to choose to be cheerful, since, so often, all we need to do is to change our focus a bit. I was trying hard not to allow my feelings to affect my behaviour, but I was clearly not winning the battle. Mom, as usual, was cheerful. And, poor Mom, the last thing she needs is me being moody!

We arrived at church a bit late, thanks to me. I sat with Mom through the service, enjoyed the sermon, and liked visiting old friends afterwards, but when we went home, I was still dizzy. Still not quite right. Still feeling out of sorts.

I knew I needed some quiet time and some rest, so I climbed under a quilt on my bed, opened my Bible, journal, and devotionals, and started reading. One devotional reading confronted me with force, and I needed it:

"It is a sign that the soul is living in God, if it maintain calmness within through the consciousness of His Presence, while working for Him in active ministrations. Such restfulness will show itself in the commonest ways, in doing common duties at the right time, in preserving a sweetness and evenness of temper in the midst of ordinary interruptions and disturbances, in walking to and fro quietly on the day's varied errands, in speaking gentle words, in sweetly meeting unexpected calls. A calm, restful temper grows as self is learning to lose itself in God. Such grace tells gradually on the daily life; even the minutest detail may be brought under the power of God, and carried out in union with Him." ~T.T. Carter

How very, very far I was walking from this. And how very impossible I'd found it to conquer my attitude all by myself. So I prayed. And I got quiet. And soon I began to sense a change in the way I was looking at things. That closed-in, ugly feeling started to disappear as the Lord began to adjust my attitude and give me a bit of His love and His grace.

My hermit-like tendencies were gone, and I suddenly realized that my puffy eyes and throbbing head really weren't as bad as they'd seemed. I threw off the quilt and walked into the kitchen to ask Mom for an Advil. When I did, I burst into tears (this happens more easily lately).

Mom, of course, hugged me. I told her I was sorry for being a damper on the morning and on her cheeriness. She, of course, said that I wasn't at all! I felt silly and very un-50-years-old, but at same time, I was once again thankful for God's patient grace and for a sweet mother.

I know this is such an ordinary, everyday story, but, for me, it's just another very simple reminder of the truth of that verse I posted already:

"All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful..." Psalm 25:10