We can all get a bit cranky from time to time. And who could blame us… we have the stress of work, the exhaustion from getting our kids from one activity to the next. We have to make dinner, do the dishes, try to figure out our kid's homework on the Ipad, and deal with a dog that is constantly chewing things (OK, maybe that’s just me). Crankiness is all too common. It's all too easy. We look at our calendar or our to-do list at work, and it feels like we should just warn people that we will be cranky for the next few weeks.
How do we get out of this crankiness? Is it even possible?
7For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7
If we want to change our behavior. If we're going to address our short fuse and constant state of agitation, we have to change how we think. We have to change what we focus on.
Here are 2 practical things that can end our crankiness
1. Start your day with rejoicing.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4
This is a tough one because it doesn’t say to rejoice when things are good. It says to ALWAYS rejoice. Keep in mind that the guy who wrote this was in prison at the time. Not only that, he’s writing this to people that might die because of their faith. Yet his challenge was for them to rejoice even in their current hardship.
Start the day with the posture of rejoicing. Yes, you have a difficult day ahead of you. Yes, you might be in the midst of great hardship, health issues, or stressful situations. But remember, those aren’t the source of your joy. Rejoicing is possible because it isn’t hinging upon our earthly circumstances. It is hinging upon the grace and mercy of God.
Do you want to see an improvement in your attitude throughout the day? Start by rejoicing. Spend time praising God and rejoicing in what he has done for you. Think through all the reasons you have to be thankful – maybe even write them down.
It’s hard to be cranky when we are rejoicing.
2. Remind yourself that you have a gentleness inside of you.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:23
Responding with gentleness in a moment of frustration might seem a little too far-fetched to actually pull off. But remember, gentleness flows when we live in step with the Spirit of God. If you are a follower of Christ, remember – you have gentleness inside of you. You might just need to lean more into Jesus and watch it begin to flow from your life.
When the kid is yelling, the boss is demanding, or the situation is overwhelming, remind yourself you have gentleness within you.
In October of 1743, famous evangelist John Wesley was met by a violent mob who wanted to kill him because of his teachings. Hundreds surrounded his home and demanded he come out. Finally, he did and agreed to go with them. Through it all, he stayed incredibly calm. Eventually, his calmness leads others to calm down- and while the mob continued on through the evening- his demeanor is said to be a significant reason why he wasn’t severely beaten.
Gentleness calms the storms around us.
So yes, you have every reason to be cranky. But you don’t have to be. Be intentional about starting your day with rejoicing and remind yourself that you have gentleness inside of you. Do these two things, and your kids, coworkers, spouse, and friends might wonder what in the world happened – the crankiness is gone.