Be Careful

“. . . be careful . . .”

“I said, “I will be careful about what I do and will not let my tongue make me sin . . .” (Psalm 39:1)

I’m back!  I had some of you ask if you’d been removed from the Wednesday Wonderings mailing list because you hadn’t received one for a few weeks.  Actually, it all began with a computer crash.  Enough said, right?  It took over a week to get my computer back from repairs only to find that it really wasn’t repaired, so it took took even longer for me to get it running.  Then I realized the eve’s of Christmas and New Year’s were on Wednesday’s so I decided to wait and start fresh with the new year.  However, I think some of the delay was that I just felt a little deflated . . .

Something just wasn’t feeling right.  (By the way, the photos are of the 20 ft. inflatable penguin we had in our yard for Christmas.)

I think I realized I was having difficulties for a couple of weeks.  It was almost that Snickers candy bar television commercial sort of feeling when someone says, “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry.”  In this case a candy bar wouldn’t solve it.  I knew it was really a problem on the afternoon of Christmas Eve.  Patti and I were running some errands before our worship service that evening when I received a phone call from someone seeking to pick up their Christmas basket.  They’d failed to be home to receive it that morning so I gave them directions for getting it that evening.  When I hung up the phone, Patti gently said, “You were a little sharp with her.”  I’m glad she said it, but I really didn’t need for her to say it.  I already knew that in the words of the Psalmist, my tongue had made me sin.  (I apologized when the basket was picked up later that day.)

I guess the truth is that I just didn’t feel like writing for a few weeks.  I could attribute it to a lot of things, but the end result was that I just didn’t feel like it, AND, I was feeling more irritable and short-tempered, fatigued, and having trouble sleeping.  Maybe I was a little depressed, like we all feel from time to time.  The important thing is that I recognized it, monitored it, and took steps to deal with it.  I was monitoring myself and being careful with self-control even when I was a little sharp with the person.  That moment just got away from me.

I’ve found that the most important step when we feel this way is to monitor our self, to be self aware enough to acknowledge we aren’t our self, and that we need to be careful with others while we feel this way.  Although it’s helpful to have someone who loves us offer a gentle reminder (or offer a Snickers bar), we have to take that responsibility for our own self.  We have to be aware, be careful, and then plan a strategy to help us get back to where we need to be.  I made an effort to get more and better sleep, set a goal for when I’d re-start Wednesday Wonderings, spent some time off with family, prayed that God would help me with more patience, dealt directly with situations that were creating stress, and worshiped with friends, just to name a few things.

Life is complex, challenging, and rewarding for each and every one of us.  None are immune from feelings we might consider more negative.  All are subjected to temptations, even the temptation to fall into the throes of not feeling like our selves and taking that out on others.  All are in need of God’s patient and healing love to guide us through, forgive us of our slips and transgressions, and restore us to health.  I pray that as I begin this new year, God’s love in Christ will help me practice self awareness and seek restoration when necessary.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,

Gary

Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

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~ by revgenelson on January 7, 2015.

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