Have you ever had one of those days when you just wake up in a “mood”? You know, a foul, stinky mood and for no apparent reason. That’s how my day started on Friday. Before my feet even hit the floor, I could feel it coming on. It reminded me of when my children were toddlers and would wake up from a nap whiny, crying and unconsolable with no clue as to the problem. That was me! I laid in bed for a moment running through my day and week trying to ascertain why I was in such a state. Nothing. So I asked the Lord to just go before me that day. As I dressed for my day, every little thing got on my very.last.nerve. This was not getting better. I snapped at my husband. I ranted at drivers as I drove to work. And I realized that I didn’t really want to do anything to improve my mood. I just wanted to be in a bad mood. Crazy! But there deep down somewhere was that nagging (irritating) voice telling me I could NOT go through my day with this attitude. Then the Lord brought to mind what I’d been learning, writing about and teaching to other women lately —having a rejoicing attitude…DESPITE circumstances or feelings (or foul moods). Ugh! I really didn’t want this to apply to me today. And I just couldn’t seem to shake it and didn’t really have the energy to put much effort into it either. But I knew that something needed to be done. This attitude was just selfish and not honoring to Jesus at all! So I went through the list of what I normally do when I’m in a mood or feeling depressed. Mind you, I didn’t “feel” like doing any of this. But part of rejoicing always is determining with your will even when your feelings aren’t following suit.
I put on the praise music. I was driving at the time and I keep an NGU Joyful Sound CD in my car at all times. Having three children who attended North Greenville University and two who were part of the praise ensemble there, I knew their music always lifted my spirit and focused my eyes on things above. It was beginning to work. Then I began rehearsing Scripture in my mind and praying for the Lord to infuse it into every fiber of my being. I mean the Word IS living and active! (Hebrews 4:12). By the time I reached work, I wasn’t feeling quite as much like punching something or someone. (I told you, it was a foul mood!). At lunch I had scheduled a work out session with my husband and our trainer. Lunch approached and I considered bailing on it. But reluctantly I pulled on my workout clothes and sneakers and headed to the gym. Cardio, weights, stretching…I was beginning to feel better. My mood was lifting. By the time my day ended I had won the battle with those crazy, female hormones that had been wreaking havoc all day!
As my day came to a close, I pondered all that had transpired that day and my foul mood and finding Christmas in the midst of it all. This is something I’m trying to practice each day as part of preparing my heart and keeping my focus on Christ this season. I call it “Christmas Is”. I realized that Jesus came for days just like this! He was not born in luxury or comfort. He entered the world in a stable, a foul place, with farm animals, hay and the scent of those animals and manure. Wrapped in cloth and laid in a manger, a trough —not a pretty bassinet or crib—but a wooden crate filled with straw. Foul. Stinky. HE came down. HE chose to live in our foul, stinky, sin-filled world. HE chose death on a cross, taking the stink of my sin and the world’s, so that I might find forgiveness of sin and restoration into a right relationship with the Father. HE came down that I might experience the peace, joy, love and comfort of His presence. HE came down in the midst of the foul to meet me right where I am. So on “Foul Mood Fridays” or any other foul mood, stinky day, I can look to Jesus and remember the true meaning of Christmas. This day we celebrate on December 25 is more than just warm memories of a sweet, baby boy. It’s about the fact that Jesus came down! He chose to leave the Father and the glory of heaven. He chose to come down and dwell among us. HE chose to give His life. HE transformed my life and gave me a new life, a new perspective, a new hope and the antidote for my stinky days and selfish moods. And because HE chose to give all to me, I can choose to change my perspective and attitude and do things to honor Him, even when I don’t “feel” like it. Because I owe Him everything and even in the midst of foul mood Friday,s I want to seek to honor and glorify Him! If I will look to Him, He will transform that foul smelling fragrance I’m putting out into one that is pleasant and beautiful because it points to Him, because it IS Him radiating through this body of flesh.
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. —2 Corinthians 2:14
For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me. So I discover this principle: When I want to do what is good, evil is with me. For in my inner self I joyfully agree with God’s law. But I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body.What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! —Romans 7:15-25
Rejoicing in Him—Always!