Opposite Day

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What do you do when you are so irritated or frustrated that you could “spit nails”? How about when you want to crumble in a heap, weep and not get up for years, or so you feel.  When any emotion or situation comes up that feels like it has taken over you, that it will consume you, what do you do? 

Lately I have been saying “it’s opposite day”. My dad, who has Alzheimer will do things opposite of whatever you ask him to do. Example if you say sit down he will walk away. Or he will pull his clothes on when you are trying to get him to take them off. Now we could talk about the amazing brain and what is happening. Or we could talk about if I should even share about my dad and the disease called alzheimers but the point is, it has caused me to think how we can do opposite of what is wanted.  The Bible says in Philipians 4:8 “whatsoever is good, lovely, pure…think on these things”. If our brains are healthy we have a choice of what to think about. Apparently God wants us to think about good.  And apparently we can make a choice of what we will think about. So I have decided that I am going to choose to have opposite days. So when I want to “spit nails” I must choose to think opposite. Does it sound hard? Of course it does. Anything worth doing takes effort. To choose to think opposite of where the mind is going, takes effort. First you have to acknowledge that where your mind is taking you is not where you want to go. You have to decide I don’t want to fall down that rabbit hole. I don’t want to go where it is leading me.  You have to make the choice to stop that train wreck. You have to stop…take a breathe…change your thoughts…opposite day.  I say stop and take a breath because that helps me. I am sharing this because I am not immune to those rabbit holes. I can jump in them feet first and say I have a right to be mad, sad or whatever emotion is carrying me away at that moment. I have a right! Hmmm really.  Jesus had a right to say No you will not treat me this way, but He didn’t.  I guess it comes down to what do you want for your future. Do you see the bigger picture? You can go down that rabbit hole and become “that” person, an angry, sad, depressed, always complaining person or you can choose opposite day. Take a breath, it recenters your mind. It gives you a chance to actually make the decision if that is where you want to go. It gives you a chance for your right thinking to kick in. Then you make the choice to have an opposite day or go down that hole. How do you have opposite day? I am glad you asked. When you want to tear someone up, choose to be grateful. I don’t care what it is just find something and be grateful, it can be “i am thankful the sky is blue” or “i am thankful I have breath”. Just find something. It puts a break in the thought pattern. It gives you just enough break that you can think of one more thing to be grateful for. I love this shirt I have on I am grateful I have this shirt on, I like the color… Now you have started being grateful, find something else. I am grateful Jesus died for me. Now you’ve done it. It is really starting to get hard to be mad, sad, depressed etc. Keep going and find 5 more things to be thankful for and your mood will change. Now for the big one, choose, because it is opposite day, to find something about that person or that situation and be grateful. I know this is hard….but you can do it. Colossians 3:17 says “whatever you do in word or deed, do it in the name of the Lord and give thanks for Him”. God wouldn’t say it if He didn’t think you could do it.  Choose to have an opposite day and then choose again tomorrow and the next day to do the same. A few months from now you will look back and say “why did I let that bother me” but you have to make the choice today.  So today choose to have a great opposite day.

Tumbled

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I was at a leadership meeting a few months ago and we were given a stack of  little pictures that we needed to chose from and then we met up in a group of the ones who picked the same picture.  I chose the picture of small smooth stones.  So we gathered in a group and we were to tell why we chose that picture.  No one spoke up so I took the lead and explained my reason for picking that picture.

When I looked at the picture the rocks looked like they were in a dried up river bed immediately I thought of “tumbled”.  So I shared that I picked that picture because of the tumbling we all go through to make us into who we should be.  I was pretty short and direct in my comments and left it at that.  The next girl spoke, she looked to be about 20, very petite and cute, she said she picked that picture because it made her think of water and the ocean and how beautiful it all was.  The contrast between us was a chasm, to say the least.  We made it around the whole group of mostly seasoned women and the group grew quiet.  All of a sudden the young girl put her hand on my arm and said “you are feeling tumbled?  Is there something I can do?”  In all her sweetness, and she certainly meant well, I almost laughed.  She had no idea what being tumbled was.  And she thought it was a bad thing.  In my years of serving the Lord and just plain “living” I found that I need to be tumbled.  If I don’t periodically get tumbled then I become stagnant like the river that stops flowing and becomes a pond.  Stagnant water is not living water, its dead.  Tumbled stones are beautiful, they have lost their sharp edges and become smooth and shiny.  If you pick up a tumbled stone you will without thinking, rub the stone, it even feels nice.  Its cool to the touch and has a silky texture.  Before the stone became tumbled it wouldn’t have been picked up and admired, it would have been tossed away and not the cute way of seeing how far it can skim the water, either.  It would have been tossed to get it out of the way so you won’t step on it.

Andy Andrews said recently in a tweet “Adversity will shape and mold you to lead better.  A lack or absence of adversity?  There’s not much benefit in that.”   We should not be afraid of tumbling we should say “thank you Lord, I may not always like it, it may hurt, it may feel uncomfortable but you love me enough to not let me stay the same sharp tongued, callous person I was before”.  My tumbling’s have not been fun.  I didn’t like them at the time.  And the ones I am going through now, I would love to have finished this round.  But God knows best.  He knows what it will take.  I am trying my best to learn to be thankful in the middle of it all.  To not grumble and complain but give Him glory in spite of it.  I’m not perfect and I have my moments but I turn and give thanks quicker than i did a few years ago.  James 1:2 & 3 “when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”