“Katherine Brooke, you are all prickles and stings…… I honestly feel sorry for you, Katherine. You shut out every spark of happiness around you. I will not be poisoned by your bitterness.” - Anne in Anne of Green Gables (the movie, not the book)
Does it ever seem like you’re being “poisoned by bitterness”? I’ll be honest – I feel that way a lot. And it’s not always other people’s bitterness; in fact, usually it’s my own. The little things are my downfall. It’s easy to take the big stuff to God, the stuff I know I can’t handle on my own. If a situation requires a miracle, then obviously one should just ask for a miracle. But the small, trivial annoyances of every day life have the strange ability to shut out my poor little sparks of happiness. I’m talking about just missing a red light; spilling my French fries all over the front seat of the car; struggling to get 2 paper clips separated from each other (I ended up just throwing them across the room in frustration); waiting for the computer to load a picture... I could go on, but I’m starting to embarrass myself here. Usually, right after I’ve screamed in frustration, I sit back and wonder why on earth I just got so upset over something so inconsequential.
It sucks out my joy. It makes me into a person I don’t even want to be around (which makes things kind of difficult, by the way). And it makes me the kind of person that poisons other people’s happiness. That’s a crappy feeling, believe me.
So, what to do about it? Honestly, if I knew, I wouldn’t have had the need to write this. It’s easy to tell someone they just need to control their emotions, but it’s a lot harder to actually control them.
This week I was talking with some friends about joy – in fact one of them is the person who reminded me about the Anne quote (thanks, Linda!). The discussion reminded me of another movie I like – Polly, a remake of Pollyanna. In it, Polly is discussing why she’s so happy all the time, and she mentions that she always tries to find the positive in everything (I guess the positive of spilling my fries is that I don’t eat all that salt and fat and grease?). She also said that her father taught her about “Glad-texts.” According to Polly and her dad, there are over 800 “Glad-texts” in the Bible – over 800 times where God tells us to rejoice or be glad. I don’t think anyone would ever accuse God of being “all prickles and stings,” do you?
Of course, one of the most well-known “Glad-texts” is in Nehemiah: “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” I think Twila Paris had a hand in making that one so popular. The one they refer to in Polly is “Be glad in the Lord.” Anyone else starting to see a theme develop here? Isn’t it funny how the “answer” to all my problems keeps coming back to my relationship with God? I can’t be joyful and glad on my own because, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a little on the pessimistic side of life. So my joy has to come from God. I’ll be honest again – I’m not exactly sure how to get it from Him – I’ve been looking for the Fruit of the Spirit vending machine, but no luck so far (it’s probably right next to the Fountain of Youth). I’m guessing prayer couldn’t hurt... and maybe familiarizing myself with some more of those “Glad-texts.”
But tell me how do y’all keep from being poisoned by bitterness?
Side notes to myself: 1) Learn to write shorter blogs. 2) Learn to use my good traits as examples in blogs instead of my bad ones.