What do you do when you’re grumpy, not joyful, during the holidays?
It was New Year’s Eve, and all of my friends from church came over to celebrate. We were playing games and laughing and enjoying ourselves. So far, so good.
My mom served hot chocolate to everyone and one of my best friends offered to help me with my drink. She’s a trained nurse and very comfortable with my physical limitations.
Suddenly, while drinking the delicious, chocolaty goodness, I laughed at a joke.The hot chocolate rushed down the wrong pipe. I was choking, hard.
My mom dashed over, whisked me to the kitchen, and patted my back. Everyone stared at me with concern. Finally, I stopped coughing. But my pride kept hurting.
I wanted everyone to go home. My embarrassment sucked the joy out of the room.
I’m a Christian, so I want my joy to come from Jesus, not from circumstances. There is great delight in knowing God and finding my identity in him. But like everyone else, I get grumpy sometimes.
What can you do when you’re grumpy?
First, I’m learning what I can and can’t control. I can’t always control my emotions. But I can control my response.
I can choose to be grateful. In fact, in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul says that Christians must give thanks in all situations, regardless of how they feel. So with God’s help, I try to say thank you. I can thank my mom for the hot chocolate, even if it caused me embarrassment.
What can you choose to be thankful for, even in your grumpiness?
Read a poem about finding gratitude in the dark.
Second, I need to express my emotions in a healthy way. Sometimes, like at the New Year’s Eve party, I need a good cry before moving on.
The Bible affirms that expressing emotions matters. The full range of human emotions are represented in the Psalms, a book of poetry. And many stories feature people expressing emotion, whether through shouting, weeping, dancing, singing, or simply telling God about how they feel.
What are some healthy ways for you to express your grumpiness?
Read more about prayer and self-expression in God meets us in hard emotions.
Finally, I’m learning to ask God to give me his strength and patience. Because of my disability, I have personal support workers who sometimes come with a bad attitude. Because this drains my energy, I have learned to ask God for his supernatural joy. Then I can choose to smile at them.
The Bible encourages us to reach out and ask God for help. I especially like Matthew 7:7-12, which includes the famous line “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” God knows we can’t do life by ourselves, so he is always there, ready to help.
Where do you need to ask for God’s help and joy?
Read a story about how with God, we’re Loved even when unlovable.
These ways of finding joy in grumpiness apply to all of life, not just the holidays. So even when your grumps linger, it’s never too late to look for a fresh sense of delight.