Expectation postponed is making the heart sick, but the thing desired is a tree of life when it does come. -- Ecclesiastes 13:12

   If something anticipated arrives too late it finds us numb, wrung out from waiting, and we feel - nothing at all. The best things arrive on time. -- Dorothy Gilman

   Which way do you feel?

   I sometimes feel like someone rescued from the frying pan just to be thrown into the fire... And other times, I stop to ponder exactly how blessed I feel to know the things I know, to have the things I have.
   For some reason, maybe it's Seasonal Affective Disorder (in the past, I have felt down during the winter months), I find myself in a different frame of mind as of late. I feel tired. Numb. Wrung out. 
   Does anyone else feel this way? Maybe that's why we're all getting so irritable. Common courtesy is becoming something of an endangered species. Conversations turn into arguments because no one is patient enough to really listen. Road rage is causing more and more accidents. People are getting killed for reasons as mundane as someone wanting their shoes, or, even crazier, a simple loss of temper. Does anyone follow Bible counsel anymore to practice self-control? But I digress...
   I know that to some people it sounds strange to say that I find a bit of respite in cooking. Others talk about how they feel when they read, exercise or travel. I love doing all those things. Yet when I experiment with flavors and find that what I have created tastes, not just good, but even savory, it's actually a small ego boost! And I don't have do go anywhere to do it!
   One thing about food: you make it one meal at a time. It doesn't last. That means every time you cook, it's a re-creation of sustenance... and of self. Forgive me if a get a little philosophical. I'm just putting into words how it feels to create a piece of perishable art!
  Perishable art. Sometimes I wish there were a way to save the thing about a singular meal that makes it so exciting, so delicious! That's another thing about food: it never gets old. It never gets boring. Not if you let it, that is.
 
 
Can I tell you something? People are NOT inherently good. We were all born into sin and are inclined to do bad things. That's why the Bible urges us to transform our personalities. People (this includes YOU) will always do the thing that serves themselves first, unless they have mastered this transformation, and even then, since they are human, they will consider being selfish because it is their first inclination.

That said, here are 5 things we should all do:

1. Stop feeling sorry for yourself because someone else let you think that you are worthless. YOU are the one that tells people how to treat you, whether you give them a funny look or actually say it out loud. Things hurt our feelings because WE LET THEM. Just remember, in between stimulus and response (in the human world) is CHOICE. You feel and act the way you do because you THINK the way you do.

Just as you can choose to let a disparaging comment affect you, you can also let a truly positive comment affect you, even in a negative way. How many of us have said, "Pfft! She didn't really mean that. She was just trying to be nice." Why not take positive things at face value? Let them lift you up!

2. Your worth is not determined by what you do, how much you earn, or how much you weigh. Ask yourself, "How do I feel when I fail?" Consider: A car's worth doesn't come from the fact that the engine runs, that it's faster or prettier than other cars, or that it functions at a higher lever than a bicycle. It's worth comes from who made it. It's worth comes from the name on the bumper. A BMW costs more than an Acura (both expensive cars) primarily because of the name. 

In your case, remember that our Creator made you in HIS image. As humans, we have more worth than anything else on the planet! But no one has more worth than the other. We are all equal in His eyes. The Scriptures say we are only dust, and yet we are precious to Him! Otherwise, he would not have sent his son to die for us. 

3. Forgive others for their being unfair to you. As someone who needs to work on this, I myself am at a bit of a loss as to how to do this. What does it mean to forgive? Merriam Webster says it means "to cease to feel resentment, or to release from payment (as in, forgiving a debt)". That's interesting. The Lord's Prayer asks that God forgive our debts, as we forgive those of others. That makes sense, given this definition of forgiveness.

How about this: Has this ever crossed your mind? "I can't change. What so-and-so did to me made me the way I am. I can't change. THIS IS WHO I AM!" 

That's garbage. Remember: you CHOOSE to let things affect you for good or bad. And you can choose to change how you feel about yourself. Instead: Release these people (the ones who have mistreated you) from payment. Technically, their payment would be to apologize. Most people won't apologize anyway, so why not "release" them from this obligation and forgive them regardless?

Ceasing to feel resentment, again, is a choice. The only way one can do this completely is to chalk it up as an affirmation of who YOU are. "I feel better about myself because I know I could never do that to another person." OR  "Wow. That was sobering. I realize that I could be guilty of doing the same thing to someone else! I'll be more careful in the future."

4. Quit whining. As someone who was once diagnosed with major depression, I can tell you that whining really does no good. Misery does not love company. Not that way. On the other hand, a comforting word from a close friend or a respected older person who has been there can make all the difference in the world. Rather than isolating yourself and hibernating in your house, seek out healthy friendships. Tell them you appreciate them. And the reciprocation will make you feel good about yourself.

But what if it's one of my close friends that has hurt me, you ask? Read Number 3 again.

Think about this: if you made ten friends and all but one left you or hurt you in some way, it would still be worth all that effort to make, and keep, that one remaining friend. 

5. Be grateful. When I was suffering with depression, it was suggested to me to get a journal and, every day, write down five things I'm grateful for. I wrote down things like: candlelight, blue skies, the crackle of dead leaves on the pavement, my father, my creativity, beautiful music, the sense of touch... Why not do this for yourself? It makes you more aware of the world around you and of the fact that it was made for your enjoyment. It also helps you to realize how very precious and fragile we all are and to appreciate even the very small, simple things. It is often the simple things that bring the most joy to our hearts.

We live in difficult times, and it is not surprising that so many of you, my dear friends, are feeling down. I want you to know that I have been there, and I understand, and I love you.  The Devil is definitely working hard on all of us. But you can refuse to give up!

"Therefore we do not give up, but even if the man we are outside is wasting away, certainly the man we are inside is being renewed from day to day. For though the tribulation is momentary and light, it works out for us a glory that is of more and more surpassing weight and is everlasting; while we keep our eyes, not on the things seen, but on the things unseen. For the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are everlasting."  -- 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

"He is giving to the tired one power; and to the one without dynamic energy he makes full might abound. Boys will both tire out and grow weary, and young men themselves will without fail stumble, but those who are hoping in Jehovah will regain power. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not tire out.”  --Isaiah 40:29-31
 

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