Sometimes I wake up crabby. I don’t know why. No one has yet said or done anything that upset me. I don’t recall bad dreams or fitful sleep. I am just crabby. When my kids were young I would sometimes announce at breakfast, “I’m crabby today. I don’t know why. It’s not your fault and I’m not upset at you. I just wanted you to know so you can avoid me as much as possible.” Gradually, as I steered my thinking to good thoughts, listened to good music and prayerfully set my mind to be at peace, I found that the crabbies faded and I was once again my delightful, pleasant self. Some days took longer than others.
I have friends who develop weekly menus for their family. They know on Sunday what each meal will be that week and they shop for just the items they will need. Wow. What a concept. Before retirement, when there was still family in the house, I would very often walk into the house from work and think, “What should I make for dinner?” I’m a free spirit when it comes to planning….apparently.
On those days when I failed to think ahead about dinner I would pull a brick-like hunk of something from the freezer and stick it in warm water to thaw. Often the menu was decided by what would thaw quickest. The warm water made all the difference between 6 hours or 45 minutes til dinner.
Here’s my point. There is so much in life that hardens our heart, freezes our thinking and even petrifies love and hope. We can find ourselves unable to think clearly or feel honestly. We are bound by crabbiness or despair, frustration or anger. We are a hard block of…something. Often we don’t really know why but the people closest to us pay the price.
Like a block of frozen meat softening in warm water, we can choose to submerse ourselves in the warmth of love, solitude, quiet, meditation and/or prayer. Personally, I find that quieting myself with God, talking to Him and sometimes writing down my thoughts and feelings with brutal honesty gives me the pause and reset I need to be present and available. I am the better version of myself when I do this.
When I don’t take the time to “thaw” I tend to blame, judge and generally make myself and everyone around me miserable. I do not connect with others in helpful ways and cause division and brokenness in relationships with others and with God. It is a high price to pay if we don’t deal with our hardness of heart.
Even if you think someone is to blame for your crabbiness, you get to choose how you will live. You can beat someone over the head with a pound of frozen meat or you can thaw it and serve something delicious with it. You choose. If it’s hard for you to be quiet, write or pray, I encourage you to try. Start developing that ‘muscle’ and it will improve your attitude, your relationships and your life in general. Seriously. The crabbies do not need to define your life.
Psalm 51:10-12 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. 11 Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 27:14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
Romans 2:5 But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart,
Ezekiel 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.