All the days of the afflicted are evil,But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.
When I was a teenager, I was already in a nasty battle with depression and anxiety that began in my childhood: The outcome of adolescent hormones and grief along with some unfortunate circumstances. I would become overwhelmed with everything wrong and I just couldn’t seem to get a grip. My Grandma would ask me what was wrong, and as I began to list everything off she would quip back with scriptures like Proverbs 15:15, Proverbs 17:22, and many others. She would give examples that usually involved Polly Anna or Corrie Ten Boom. But most of all she reminded me of the promise that not only did she love me but so does a sovereign God that is on the throne.
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I’ll be honest, sometimes I hated her encouragement. I wanted to sulk, cry, and vent. I always knew she was right, though. So I dried my tears and reminded myself of all the things she told me and go on with a smile on my face until the next “end of the world teenage crisis” would happen.
A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones.
Just like every other truth that is written in the Bible, the many scriptures about having a merry heart hold a lot of weight. If we don’t choose to be happy, even in the hard times, the negativity and darkness will overwhelm us and eventually lead to bitterness and extreme unhappiness. Without a merry heart, we see only the bad. But when we make that choice to be happy, no matter what, we are able to see the “sunny side” that the character Polly Anna talked so much about. With a merry heart, Corrie Ten Boom’s sister, Betsie, was able to thank God for the fleas that kept the Nazi guards from coming into their sleeping barracks instead of crying about one more problem during a time of extreme torment where evil truly afflicted every part of their days.
Now that I am an adult and have continued this battle with depression and anxiety, I understand more of what my Grandma was saying. I have seen God’s power in my life to know for certain that He is still on the throne. No matter how dark things may get, or how many nights are spent in tears, God is always in control. Even when it seems that there is no hope, I know that there is.
Does this mean that Christians should not seek medical help when things become unbearable? Not at all. By all means, if you need help, please get it. But it does mean that we should not focus on the evil around us. We should focus on the love of God, and rest in knowing that He will bring us through.
With a merry heart, we will strengthen and grow. The scripture is saying that with happiness we thrive. I am living proof. In fact, if I hadn’t chosen joy quite a bit these last few weeks, I would certainly not be smiling today.
I can’t tell you how many times in the last few weeks I have typed or uttered the words, “Today was awful”, “I’ve had a couple of bad days” or “It’s one of those days/weeks.” I’m so burnt out on it. It’s not even funny. And if I hear or read myself say it again, I might just scream.
Things out of my control happen, I know. I can’t change that, but I’m just done with admitting that negativity is controlling me and allowing myself to feel down because of it.
Some days my chronic pain is out of control, the kids have lost their marbles and are jumping off the walls, the toddler has made it clear she is over wearing diapers and sends a clear message by taking off her diaper during nap time and dumping it all over her crib, my kindergartener doesn’t want to sit and learn and I feel like he’s not listening to a single word I say, and to top it all off: our couch and plumbing give out at the same time.
So, instead of sitting and whining out a complaint, I’m going to list some good things to counteract these things. (You know, back to that whole “Look on the sunny side” thing. Gotta love Polly Anna! (And my Grandma instilling it me.) It’s time to get back on track.
There are few things I can do about my pain. When it is present, I have to learn to manage it the best I can and continue with my day. Moaning “Woe is me” does nothing. I will continue to praise my risen Savior and carry my faith that when the time is right he will heal me.
Now here I am, determined. I will make the best out of each situation. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to cry out to God and beg:
“Please, please help! I can’t do ALL of this on my own and pretend to keep my sanity. Give me strength and lighten the load. I raise my hands to You, and give You all the praise! Thank You for Your mercy, kindness, never-ending love, and ever presence. I love You so much, Jesus. Thank You for all of Your many blessings. Your will be done, Amen.”
Putting it all in to action: No more claiming bad days and weeks are keeping me down. After all, life with 3 kids 5 & under that were born within 3 years? What do I really expect. 😉 And there is nothing I can do about my older children remaining at their Dad’s house out-of-state. Might as well make the best of it and enjoy it while it’s here! Right?
What do you do to bring yourself out of a “funk” or string of “those weeks”? I’d love to know!
So, here you are. You’ve gone through all of the steps to make your lemonade & construct your lemonade stand by grieving, forgiving, accepting, and moving on. Now you have reached the point where you set up shop, practice good customer service, and make those sales.
“Huh? What are you even talking about? Stop with the metaphors or at least explain them!”
(If achieving this step is just too much work, consider seeking counseling. There is no shame in asking someone for a little help. Also, depression is a very serious illness that can happen to anyone. It is not something that you can “just snap out of”. Seek help if you need it, please.)
So, what do you do now? Sit back, relax, and drink some lemonade!!!
Originally written by Angie on January 21, 2010
This morning I woke up in a “mood”. I felt sensitive and vulnerable.
I know that some are affected this way by the weather, but I don’t believe that was the cause of my outlook. In fact, I’m feeling down that our rainy days are coming to an end soon. I love stormy weather, and this week has just been great for me in that sense. I find myself dreading Saturday when it is forecasted to be partly sunny by afternoon.
I started off just annoyed to be awake. I think we all have a day like that from time to time, right? I didn’t sleep well last night, and the fact that today was already here just really flat out ticked me off. Then I checked my email and something that I wouldn’t normally think twice about made me want to cry. In general I was feeling down and discouraged, feeling as though doom and gloom were on the horizon. As I went on with my morning, I just kept thinking “I don’t want today to be like this!” I most certainly didn’t want to be the cause of anyone else’s bad attitude with my negativity, either.
When I was a little girl and a teenager, if I was feeling down, my Grandma would tell me: “Why should you be sad? We have Jesus! Read your Bible for a little while and I’m sure you’ll feel better.” Grandma was also known for her love of Pollyanna and looking on the bright side.
I figured I’d give it a try this morning. I mean, I read my Bible on a regular basis, but what could it hurt to just stop and read and expect something to cheer me up?
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
Now how does that not make you feel better, huh? Makes it hard to have a negative outlook, I’ll say that much…