I’m am honored and proud to present a piece to you guys written by the always wonderful and gracious Rebekah Haddock. She is most known for her amazing skills in worship at Mainstream Orlando. She sings and plays the piano along with the acoustic guitar. (I’m pretty sure she can secretly play other things too.) What I love most about Rebekah though aside from her talents in worship are her talents in writing. I think that kindred spirits tend to flock together and get along and that’s most evident in our relationship. You see, both Rebekah and I use writing to express our innermost thoughts. We also use it to inspire and lift others up. What I love about her writing is that it always hits so close to home for me. I hope you get as much out of this post as I did. Here’s her guest post: “All Dried Up“
We’ve all experienced those days we don’t want to get out of bed; the days that are spent most comfortably hidden beneath our bed sheets.
Sometimes things unravel into patterns of discontent when expectation levels aren’t met the way you want them to be, causing us to become more negative in our outlook, barely desiring to break out of our comfort zone. Our, “new” comfort of constant pessimism and irregular mood swings: “I’m just not happy here anymore.”
If I can be completely honest with you, it’s been like this for about two years with me. Thoughts always seemed to be my battle, however pessimism was something that developed slowly over the course of years. Generally, I tried to keep a smile on my face no matter the occasion, however in the past month I found it more and more difficult to smile, let alone find genuine joy because my expectations weren’t being met. My optimism slowly diminished, as my first thought in the morning changed from, “today is the day the Lord has made…” to “why bother anyway?”
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”
One day, praying over some situations, I ran across Proverbs 17:22 and everything just made sense. Here are a couple things I received from it:
1. You are who you hang around.
So, the first part of the verse states, “A cheerful heart is good medicine…” This doesn’t only speak towards your heart, but the attitude of those around you. The bible says that “Iron sharpens iron…” however if the “iron” you’re sharpening yourself with is dull, you are aimlessly chasing a relationship that will either a.) hinder you, b.) create an expectation gap, or c.) dull you along with them. If you want to sharpen a dull knife, you would sharpen it with something sharper. Just as knifes are to iron, friendships are to accountability. A negative person will rub their attitude of on you if you aren’t being sharpened by a greater source [God]. Hence the second part, “a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” If you be’ chillin’ with a crushed spirit…. your bones will become dry.
2. A cheerful heart starts with your every day attitude.
As I stated before, I used to wake up with the attitude that “this day was for the Lord” until the way I wanted things to go weren’t happening. My attitude towards things I loved started changing, because my daily routine was being hindered by the condition of my heart. Pride.
Pride will kill you! Pride is anything centered around yourself, not just arrogance. Meaning, anyone who has low self-esteem or trust issues also has pride issues because they are constantly thinking about themselves in scenarios, rather than whom or what they are serving. Personally, my pride was, “why don’t things go the way I imagined them to be, why is everything so hard, why do I get the short end of the stick, why can’t I do anything right, why isn’t there anyone around who I can just tell things to…Why, why, why, me.”
This “why me” attitude will destroy you if you don’t catch it on time! To avoid this, you have to stay grounded in the word of God. Remember, if you loose joy in what you are doing, ask yourself who are you truly doing it for [to edify your negativity, or for the glory of God].
Which brings me to my third point….
3. What is it that is bringing you down?
Is it your friends? Relationships? Maybe it is a passion that you’ve dismissed? Or perhaps you’ve allowed your passion to become an idol in your life?
It is extremely important to pinpoint the source of your frustrations (note: being happy is an emotion, therefore pinpointing your “unhappiness” will only lead you to confusion, because you will always dwindle between being happy and unhappy…joy is what is permanent). People pleasing can lead to frustration, pride, and negative attitude towards serving others.
Idols are also huge mood-breakers. If something has become an idol in your life, you are basically devoting yourself to something so much that this “thing” will effect your entire day, rather than living in the joy and pursuit of God. Sometimes your hobbies can become idols, even people. If you truly are participating in an activity for God or for the advancement of His kingdom, your spirit would be cheerful, for “where your treasure lies, your heart will be also.” If you place your treasures in people pleasing, objects, your new job, instrument, insert-anything-you-like-here, then your outlook will result in a crushed spirit. [Remember, sometimes things you began doing for God, can turn into idols if you aren’t careful. It is important to always ask yourself why you are volunteering or doing the activities you are involved in.]
I’ll leave you with this: don’t let yourself be all dried up!
Don’t allow this world, expectation gaps, or situations around you bring you down! No matter what situation may arise, remember you will always find joy in your creator. Also, sometimes battles just take time. But if you are persistent and don’t give up, you will have your cheerful heart, I guarantee it.
“Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, or when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.”
James 1:2-4 (TLB)
Thanks for reading! 🙂