-It’s raining today and I would have liked to have been outside. But now I can’t.
-I have no internet connection at this time and I would have liked to have worked online. But now I can’t.
-I wanted to wear my favorite shirt with my jeans but they are not washed yet. So now I can’t.
And what is my usual response to these three scenarios above? Getting mad, upset, or frustrated. Then allowing these feelings to dictate the rest of my day. In fact, I seem to relish in the negativism as I point out how many more things are challenging me as the hours tick by.
“If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” I heard a million times growing up. Or, “It’s always something!”
Negative atmospheres try to surround us. Our enemy lives to kill, steal, and destroy in our lives. (Nothing positive about that!) So what are we supposed to do?
I don’t presume to have all the answers for this, however, the Lord has shown me two A’s to help me with it: Acknowledge and Accept.
First of all we have to acknowledge what we’re feeling. We need to own our emotions. If we’re mad then we need to lay it on the table and look at it. Yep, that’s how we feel, right or wrong. We may not be proud of it, but it is what it is. God already sees our heart and knows what’s going on anyway, so there’s no need to be afraid of Him.
Secondly we have to acknowledge God in the situation. (Prov. 3:6) Some things are simply just out of our control and there’s nothing we can do about it. (Bummers.) Other things may be in our control but they just don’t turn out the way we thought they would. (Another bummers.)
So we have to realize the sovereignty of the Lord and believe He’s going to work it for our good and direct us through it the best way possible. (Rom. 8:28) This is getting into the second “A,” the accepting part.
All we really have to do is simply accept His love. His love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on us (you know the song and the verse). Knowing He loves us frees us from the insecurities of being out of control of a situation, or from failing or being rejected. He loves us even in the midst of our negativity.
Now about those emotions. They have to go somewhere after laying them on the table. So we give them to him. We’ve looked at them, accepted that they came from our hearts, now we exchange them for His peace, rest, and joy. (Isa.61:3).
Life does happen, the good and the bad. Matt. 5:45 says the sun rises on both the evil and the good, it doesn’t matter. The Bible is full of bad things happening to good people. And we can’t change what comes our way, however, we can change how we respond to it. It’s a choice.
We can choose to stay negative, bitter, and fault-finding (usually hurting someone whenever we do that). We can choose to have a bad day — and that’s okay, Father still loves us. But how much better would it be if we instead chose to acknowledge and accept things? How much more of a witness to others could we be? How much more love could we share with our families and friends? And how much more could we live in our own peace and rest?