If I were to ask your family members whether or not they can tell if you’re having a hard time, what might they tell me? Don’t worry! I won’t be doing that! But I know that in the years when my kids were home (we’re empty nesters now), they could definitely tell. My mood slid down a slippery slope into a dark and troubled pit when I was upset about something, ticked at them, on “Day 27” of my cycle, or when I was low on food. Just to name a few!
It’s totally understandable that, when we don’t feel good, we struggle with our emotions. But some of us don’t even struggle when we feel lousy; we just have a pre-set, given, “default” response of giving in to it, and allow ourselves to descend into a hissy-fit of a grumpy mood.
HOW DOES YOUR HOUSE SMELL?
“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” (John 12:3)
This last part of the passage ~ “the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” ~ made me think of the tone of our home when we’re getting hungry. I’ve heard it called getting “hangry” ~ which is “hungry and angry” at the same time. Perfect term for it.
And when we are in that zone, everyone in the house is only too aware of it. We let our cutting, negative, unkind, careless and uncaring words and tones spew onto whomever is in our vicinity.
We may not even need to do any rationalizing of our foul attitude as it has become a normal way of life for us. So there isn’t even any conscious dealing with it when we feel this way.
Would you agree that such grumpiness fills the house with the stinky odor of said hangry person’s crankiness? In case you’re unaware, it truly ruins the peaceful feel of “home.”
It results in people retreating to their own rooms, to the TV, books, computers, or games to escape. Those pastimes are all okay (unless they become an addiction and become the love of one’s life), but it’s not okay when they’re a regular means of escaping fellow house-dwellers.
LAYING DOWN MY RIGHTS
For some odd reason, we seem to think we have a right to be hangry. After all, we are giving up something very dear to us… and we do give so much to our families and people in our lives… and we do work so hard at work and/or at home… and we do feel so crummy… I’m not getting to stuff my face and delight my tastebuds every moment of the day, so why wouldn’t I feel crummy, angry, frustrated, edgy, and irritated?
Did you know that feeling grumpy and acting grumpy don’t have to go hand-in-hand? Sure, I can feel grumpy; there is NO sin in that! But don’t have to act grumpy.
“Be (h)angry, but sin not.” (Ephesians 4:26)
The two ~ being (h)angry and sinning ~ are clearly separate here. We are told that we can “be (h)angry,” but then immediately told: “but do not sin.” And if God tells us to do something, we can be sure He will give us the grace to obey.
If my house (or office, or car) is to be “filled with the fragrance of the perfume,” then I simply don’t get to give in to acting grumpy or hangry. It’s not my God-given right to do it, and I would guess that more kids have been turned off to God by this than any overt, anti-Christian draws. Maybe not, but I wouldn’t be surprised. This sin habit of ours at least created some cracks in our kids’ foundations as they observed and experienced anything but the love and grace of Christ at work in our lives, in a real way.
WHAT TO DO IF THIS IS YOU?
- ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR SIN: Start by coming into agreement with God and acknowledging that acting out your grumpiness is sin. It’s anything but cute, and it’s not okay. No more allowing it, justifying it, or ignoring it. (And then getting mad at the kids for being grumpy! A bit hypocritical?) No need to argue with Him about this. Sin is sin; there’s no excuse for it. Reasons, yes, but not excuses that make it okay. God knows your challenges and how hard it is to be nice when you feel grumpy. So just come into agreement with Him on this. And then…
- REPENT: Repent and ask God for forgiveness. Don’t waste any time wallowing in the shame and embarrassment, or whatever you’re feeling as you have come to realize the truth about yourself. Just bring it to the Lord, confess it, and receive His forgiveness and grace. This is what He died on the cross for. He’s not asking ~ or wanting ~ you to waste a moment of time beating yourself up over this. And when you do, you are actually in a state of not receiving grace; you’re too busy having a pity party! Forgo that, and just position yourself under the cleansing waterfall (warm!) of His grace and mercy, and let Him wash away your sin. And then…
- ASK GOD TO SANCTIFY YOU: It’s one thing to repent ~ and certainly a good thing ~ but that just opens the door to the process of actually starting to change and get that area of our life sanctified and redeemed. (See my article at Honeycomb Oasis entitled “How Does God Redeem Stuff?” for more on this process.) Thankfully, God is bigger than our sin and ready to help us in our time of need. And this would certainly qualify as a “time of need.” (Just ask your family if they agree!) Allow God to help you crucify your unruly flesh to the cross, and give you grace to be pleasant, despite how you feel ~ or what you desire but aren’t getting ~ at the moment. Better yet, we need to ask and allow Him to actually transform our hearts and minds so that we will be less likely to need grace, because our flesh, having been transformed into the image of Christ, is less and less likely to even go there. Here are a couple of my favorite verses. Note the underlined parts:
“The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in His Temple, living in His presence every day of my life, delighting in His incomparable perfections and glory. THERE I’LL BE WHEN TROUBLES COME. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.” (Psalms 27: 4 & 5)
“But we Christians have no veils over our faces; we can be like mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And, as the Spirit of God works within us, we become more and more like Him.” (II Corinthians 3:18)
By the mind-and-heart-transforming power of God that activates as we renew our minds, we really can get washed from and set free of this sin, and be softer and kinder to those we live with and work with, even when ~ especially when ~ we don’t feel like it.
I’LL CLOSE WITH THIS STORY
Many years ago there was a special speaker at church, a man who operated in the prophetic. And the “words” he gave people were spot-on.
He had been to our church several times over the years, and do you think I ever “got a word” from him? Nope! Never.
I knew God could ~ and did ~ speak to me anyway, so I didn’t feel abandoned by God (or him), but, still, I always hoped to “get a word” from him.
Well, at the very end of one service, he asked “Is there anyone who didn’t get a word who would like one?” I shot up my hand, and he had me stand up, and asked my name. I said “Barb.” He waited a moment, and then said “The Lord wants to remove the ‘barbs’ from your personality, and make you softer and more approachable.”
That wasn’t exactly what I was hoping to hear! I wanted a nice affirming word, not something so convicting! I wasn’t humiliated; just humbled, and needfully so.
Well, that word was given when I had kids at home and was operating in a lot of “flesh” when hangry, angry, cranky and/or grumpy. And the Lord used that piercing word in the process of me allowing Him to get that area of my life sanctified.
I want everything about my life to bring joy to God’s heart. And that is what I want on the forefront of my mind when I’m feeling cranky due to my emptying stomach and wayward heart calling (yelling) out to me to EEEEAT FOOOOOD prematurely. I want to die to my flesh at that moment, and let Jesus’ nature be what others experience.
“When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.” (Matthew 26:12)
Pouring my rights, my desires and my emotional and physical discomfort before the Lord is part of dying to myself. Even if your name isn’t Barb, do you nonetheless have any “barbs” to allow God to deal with? I want the old me buried at the foot of the cross so that His sweet new life can spring forth.
This article started out as a section of my article, The P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone. But I had more I wanted to say, and, since that article was already very long, I pulled it out of the P.E.R.F.U.M.E. article and brought it here to its new home, where it could be expanded upon freely! Doubled, to be exact!