Emotional First Aid

I woke up grumpy the other day.

Well, to be more precise, I woke up with the expectation of being grumpy. And my expectations were abundantly met.

I’d been battling through various illnesses with the kids and myself for weeks, and was just getting on top of the conjunctivitis going through the last kid to get it.

I’d gone to bed mentally scolding no one in particular, “If I wake up to one more sick kid…”

Sure enough, I woke to find the familiar goop had returned to the eyes of the youngest child – the first one to catch it.

I wanted to scream and stamp my foot. I wanted to punch something. Hard.

But instead, I stuffed that mess back inside it’s box and let out a big sigh. Then I got on with cleaning the goopy eyes, administering eye drops and making breakfast.

And as I worked away at my tasks, still nursing my anger like a newborn baby, I felt that gentle prodding of the Holy Spirit. Like the sharp end of a stick, pointing out my sinful attitude and refusing to let me stay in it.

Because it can be tempting to nurse our anger and frustration sometimes. There are so many sources out there that will tell us that “venting” is okay and complaining is totally normal, but in the Bible, we read that grumbling against God’s provisions for us (which includes the good and the bad) is wickedness.

In Numbers 14, verse 27, God says:

How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me.

Sometimes you can’t just make yourself “snap out of it” though. And God sees our heart – he’s not interested in plastered smiles and sing-songy voices.

God sees our heart - he's not interested in plastered smiles and sing-songy voices.

 

When I feel stuck in a bad attitude, here’s how I apply some “emotional first aid” and turn it around – I remember these truths, found in God’s word, and I preach them to myself:

  • God is holy – He is set apart and there is no one like Him.
  • God is good – everything He does and is is good.
  • God made me and is the boss of me – not only is God my creator, but as a Christian, he is also my Lord and King.
  • God has saved me from my sins and the consequences of them.
  • God gives me every spiritual blessing I need – I am lacking nothing.
  • God is sanctifying me – he is working on me from the inside out, to make me more like Christ every day.

Sometimes there are other thoughts that flow from those, but generally speaking, it’s pretty hard to continue with my bad attitude after getting through that list!

Now, these are things I know to be true. When I go through them, I’m not trying to convince myself, I’m just trying to remember – to bring these things to the front of my mind.

And as I remember the truth about who God is, it reminds me of who I am and who I am becoming. And fills my heart with thankfulness instead of bitterness.

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