Monday, January 25, 2010

Mad in General

Last night I was helping my daughter Paige with a project that she was putting some finishing touches on. She had come up with a really cute presentation idea, but was having a little trouble with the execution of it. After a few tries, she slumped back in her chair and began to give out a whiny groan. It seems that she couldn’t make it look right and my attempts were just not quite ‘good enough’. It didn’t take long for me to set the project down and walk away saying “If I can’t do it right then you figure it out yourself!” She was shocked at my reaction! When I told her that I was leaving because I seemed to be making the situation worse she simply said, “I’m not mad at you…I’m mad in general!” It took a minute for that the sink in, but when it did it struck me as being so funny that we were both laughing about it and were able to move forward.

Have you ever just been ‘mad in general’? Where everything around you seems abrasive and irritating? When you’re not sure why you’re angry, you just are?! It can feel like there’s a layer of sand in your spirit and everything interaction rubs against the grittiness causing more irritation. Like a piece of dust on a contact lens…it can be completely debilitating until it’s removed. While sometimes we may not be able to see the cause of the problem, we are certainly able to see the effect of it. Our bad attitude begins to permeate into the people and things around us. Suddenly anger has spread like a virus, infecting everything it comes into contact with. Bad attitudes are easy to catch and even easier to spread.

The good news is that even though we are exposed to bad attitudes and offenses, we have ways to prevent the spread of infection. Beginning your day with a healthy dose of Scripture is a great place to start! It not only protects your mind from the spread of infection, but it equips you with the tools to continue to fight off the attack. When the attack comes, and it will, be sure to quickly ask God for His strength and protection. Focusing your mind on Him will help you to discern how to respond to someone else’s issues. He will direct you in what to say or not to say, and what you should or should not tolerate. Choosing not to be offended by the behavior of others is a vital, and difficult, part of being in relationship with people. Most of the time, their issue isn’t even about us.

In case of infection, be sure to go to the Great Physician at the first signs of exposure. When you start feeling annoyed with people, start feeling your temper shortening, and begin to feel a little ‘put out’ by the needs of others…go straight to God! Ask Him to search your heart and mind to remove the dirt that’s causing the irritation. If left untreated, the symptoms of being ‘mad in general’ can result in isolation and loneliness. Let’s all work together for a cure!

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

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