His girl had dumped him, his horse had broken its leg, the bunk house had gone up in smoke, rustlers had taken his cattle, his boss had fired him, his insurance was canceled, his bank had gone into receivership, his bill at the ranch was overdue, and his dog had run away — and he sang, “And now I’m getting dandruff.”
None of us are exempt from days like that cowboy. Like an unwanted guest that can’t take a hint, the blahs like to move in and take over. Let’s talk about how we can turn it around.
First, let’s address why people experience the blahs.
I’m sure there’s many reasons, but here’s a few that I’ve observed:
In the book entitled “Life Is Uncertain, Eat Dessert First”, they say there is a natural tendency to adopt behaviors that make us feel good. This behavior can be divided into three parts.
First, we respond well to good feelings. Deep down inside of all of us is a quest to do things that make us feel good.
Second, we try to experience good feelings again and again, being drawn to things that provide us with consistent pleasure.
Third, we become bored or dissatisfied with things that do not bring us some kind of material or emotional reward. When that happens, we either move on to something or someone else, or we melt deeper into the blahs.
Pity is one of the noblest emotions available to human beings. Self-pity is possibly the most ignoble.
Pity is the capacity to enter into the pain of another in order to do something about it; self-pity is an incapacity to do so. It is a crippling emotional disease that severely distorts our perception of reality.
Pity is adrenaline for acts of mercy; self-pity is a narcotic that leaves its addicts wasted and derelict.
The biggest question for a person with weak faith is “Why.” You’ll never make real spiritual progress until you move beyond that question. And by the way, it’s been my experience that God doesn’t answer that question any way.
There was a minor league baseball coach who was frustrated. His center fielder could not hold on to a ball. Whether it went over his head or through his feet, the final result was always that the ball missed his glove. So the coach instructed the player to sit down and watch him as he covered the position. But much to the coach’s dismay, he too missed four straight balls that came his way. Finally, in great frustration and embarrassment, he turned to the young player and yelled, “You’ve got center field so messed up even I can’t play it!”
Why is it so easy to point the blame elsewhere rather than own our situations ourselves?
You’ve heard it and read it many times before, but it bears repeating… One definition of insanity is doing the same thing you have always done and expecting different results.
“If I had his/her job, car, house, spouse, kids, etc I’d be happy too.”
It seems to me that often after a person makes a mark in this world, a lot of people begin showing up with erasers.
Now let’s talk about how we break through the blahs and live the kind of life Christ intended for us to live.
I literally mean, physical activity. Get out of the chair, raise the shades, and run from your moods! Take a walk, mow the yard, play a sport, light the grill, start a garden, ride a bike, knock doors, teach a Bible study, attend a small group meeting.
Remember the 4 lepers and the question they posed to one another, “Why sit we here until we die?”
Scripture clearly shows us a savior who expressed His feelings.
He was angry with Satan’s persistent temptation.
He was surprised at the Centurion’s strong faith in His powers.
He was exasperated with the apostles when they missed the point of His instruction.
He was disappointed by the weakness of Peter’s faith.
He was sympathetic towards the hungry crowds.
He was mad at the money changers in the temple.
He shed tears over Jerusalem’s coming destruction.
He was joyful when Peter identified Him as Messiah.
Jesus was always Himself — Himself in the fullness of His intellectual, spiritual, and emotional life. And He wasn’t afraid to show it.
It’s almost impossible to get bogged down with negative feelings when you’re busy helping someone else.
During a lecture, Dr. Carl Menninger was asked what advice he would give a person if they felt a nervous breakdown coming on. He responded, “Lock up your house, go across the railroad tracks, find someone in need and do something to help that person. I do not meet mentally ill, discouraged, depressed people who are busy helping other people.”
In life it is important not to just be good at work but to also be good at play. Do something for no other reason than to have fun. The possibilities are endless — read a good book, play horseshoes or table games, enjoy good food, spend time with your spouse, go fishing, play golf, go shopping, or any other thing that you enjoy.
One of my favorite Scriptures that shows how Jesus understood the need to break away and do something just for fun is found in Mark 6.
Mark 6:30–32 (NIV) The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.
Simply put: Get around happy people and stay away from unhappy people. Moods are contagious, so make sure you’re around some whose moods you don’t mind catching.
One of my favorite things about being with my dad and his siblings used to be hearing them reminisce about the “good old days.”
What about you? When is the last time you glanced in your rear view mirror to reflect over the good things God has done?
Phil 4:8 (NIV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Recent studies indicate that not only do emotions cause facial expressions, but facial expressions generate emotions. So try smiling and see if your moods eventually follow suit.
A dear friend and mentor in my life, Bishop Joseph Garlington, has a mantra that he and his family live by: “If it’s ever going to be funny, it might as well be funny now.” I’ll admit I’ve attempted to live by this same concept. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
I’m not going to hypocritically act as if I’ve got this one conquered, but it is something I strive for. You and I are tri-part beings — spirit, soul, and body. Like a three legged stool, there’s great stability when we’re in balance and have all three legs touching the ground.
Rom 12:11 (NIV) Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
The bottom line is that Christ did not come that you could have a so-so, blah-filled life. He came that you might experience abundant living…even if, like the singing cowboy, you too have dandruff.