By Pastor Gabe Abdelaziz
Life is filled with ups and downs. Our emotions seem to ricochet off everything that is not useful. Our feelings seem to have no solid footing. I am forever reminding people that our human feelings do not have brains. Our cognitive thought and rationale often evade us when we are sad, angry, lonely, or depressed. All we can see at that moment is our frustration and therefore we tend to color everything through those lenses.
Actress Joan Blondell used a common kitchen timer to pull herself up out of the weeds of despondency. She said, “I set a timer for 6 1/2 minutes to be lonely and 22 minutes to feel sorry for myself. And when the bell rings, I take a shower, or walk, or swim, or I cook something, and think about something else.”
We, by the grace of God, must control the narrative of our minds. We must pay attention to our own self-talk. Self-talk is the constant stream of communication that we carry on with ourselves. It is the self-talk that will fortify our victories or our losses. The self-talk chooses to paint pictures in our mind. These can be pictures of masterpieces or pictures of misery pieces. It is the mind which will be the steering mechanism of our life. The Bible says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)
Sometimes, we find ourselves actually “digging up” to see the bottom. Life is not always as we want it. As a matter of fact, it is often how we don’t want it. But those are the times that we are challenged to survive and then grow. We must motivate ourselves. No one can invent motivation; we must get a hold of the keys of God’s Kingdom and unlock motivation. When there is no motivation in people, people will always resort to complacency. So how do we get free from emotions such as sadness and loneliness? When we only do what is required of us, we remain enslaved. We must do more than that which is required in order to become free. Sadness and loneliness are not gifts from God. They are attacks to weary you, to weaken you, and to steal your joy.
Come on, let’s turn things around. We all feel the difference between work and play. However, you use the same muscles to play golf as you do to mow the lawn. You use the same brain power to do a crossword puzzle as you do to conduct business. Why is it that work tires you more than play? The only difference is the mental attitude toward those things. If you want to make your day easier and less stressful, make play out of it by changing your attitude. Mark Twain said, “Work is not a concrete thing; it is a mental attitude. Nothing is either work or play but thinking about it makes it so.” So, slap sadness and loneliness in the face and choose to laugh. Remember, “a merry heart does good like medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22)
Pastor Gabe Abdelaziz is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org