Do you ever just feel off? That's been today for me.
There are the usual life things. The fact that I can't exercise for 10-14 days after my wisdom teeth. Future plans. Clutter. Relationships. Comparison trying to steal my joy. Also, since I got my wisdom teeth out I've been dealing with a bunch of jaw issues. I've had problems with my jaw since I lost my retainer in college, but a week of not moving my mouth much and sleeping without my retainer in has made it a lot worse. I've been experiencing headaches, ear pain, problems chewing, a sore throat, the list goes on. Me and ibuprofen have become BFF.
It has also been a slow couple days at work and that always causes my mind to wander all over the place. I'm happier when I'm busy. It keeps me organized and more productive.
All of these things are trying to win and they're putting up a REALLY good fight.
So, to combat my mood, (despite little glimpses of Spring sunshine outside my window) I've spent the day trying to fill my mind with the positive words of Relevant Magazine and All Sons and Daughters radio on Pandora. It worked for the most part! But the past few hours I've been sitting here trying to decide what to do tonight.
On Wednesday nights I go to small group where I get to see my best friends and study whatever passage of scripture we may be focusing on that week. Besides the fact that I get home around 10:45, it always puts me in a better mood, fuels me, and shifts things into perspective. God is good like that, isn't He?
And yet... I don't want to go. I don't want to see other people, I don't want to talk and I don't want to be out late. I want to be a hermit at home in my loneliness.
But why? I know going will be beneficial and make me feel better. But that still doesn't make me want to be there.
The truth is (I, me, you, we) we are such a stubborn people. Why do we refuse what's good for us? Why is it so easy to choose the bad over the good, when we know the benefits of the good choice are always so worth it? Why do we think about what we want rather than what we need?
I've found that choosing God, and joy, is a lot like choosing to exercise.
When you've worked all day and you've only got a handful of hours for free time once you're home, you're going to want to watch TV or veg out over going to the gym. You just are. It'll deliver instant gratification, be relaxing, and seem like the best decision you've made all day. Sweat pants, a remote, maybe even some ice cream? Yes please.
Working out, on the other hand, is hard. You have to like... change clothes... and stuff. And tie shoes. And like move around... You have to muster up your leftover energy and put in the time, effort and sweat. Who wants to do that?
Not me, to be honest.
But I do it anyway. (Most of the time - when I'm not dealing with holes in my mouth) And when I do, it's ALWAYS worth it. Always. I feel happier, I feel healthier, I've released endorphins, I feel stronger. There's never a downside to working out. Even feeling sore is satisfying!
This is what I have to remember when I don't want to go to the gym or pop in a workout DVD in my living room. And it's the same idea when it comes to choosing God and joy in Him.
Spending time with God is always worth it. It's always the right decision. You may not want it, but you NEED it. Yes, you do.
Tonight I don't want to go to small group, but I will. I will hug my friends who continually show me what God's love looks like, I'll learn something new, and I'll be glad I went.
I'm not going to let this bad mood win! Today and always I want to choose the good. I want to think of the outcome and not the instant gratification. I want to learn what's God's teaching me, to hear His constant, comforting voice telling me that sometimes bad days happen but that His mercies are new every morning. That joy is always the right choice. That spending extra time with Him is better than any TV show, nap, or extra 15 minutes of sleep in the morning.
That gratitude and thankfulness in all circumstances will breed a life of contentment in the Lord. That putting God first is the best decision I'll ever make. That everything happens for a reason.
And that even bad days that seem all bad are good days when they point you back to the cross.