Ok. It's confession time.
(This will shatter all your misconstrued ideas about my holiness…)
This week I have been in a battle. An internal one. A thought-life-one.
Now I know, I know, I know, every-moment-of-every-day is a battle and a choice.
I know that.
But some weeks… It just.feels.more.profound. Right? You know what I mean? You feel the tension of it… In every-moment-of-every-day of that particular time.
And my battle this week hasn't felt so much against principalities-and-powers-or-any-of-those-profound-things-Saint-Paul-talked-about. If it had then maybe I would have felt more like a buff-type-warrior-armed-for-the-fight.
Instead the seemingly-tiny battle that I have felt woefully unprepared for has been one pitifully fought against my own mood.
I've felt… Grumpy.
That's the only word for it.
I know, I know, I know, I'm the world's most ferocious optimist… But still, grumpy moods do happen sometimes.
I confess it.
Last weekend I caught a bit of a cold and the aftermath of slight tiredness and weariness has left me… In a bit of a grump.
Fortunately for the wider global population, I have been keeping my internal grumpiness under a mask of enthusiastic teaching, not-so-enthusiastic-Japanese-study, and early nights. But my thoughts… They have been a-bit-grumpy.
I have actually been doing a superb inner-little-miss-grumpy-impersonation.
Now I don't want your concern or your worry. Truthfully, I'm being totally melodramatic in the way that you can only be when you're in a truly grumpy frame of mind and blow everything you possibly can out of proportion.
But the thing I've noticed about my inner grump… Is that it's made everything feel a bit more like a battle.
Now, nothing in particular happened to cause my bad mood.
I felt a bit run-down at the start of the week.
I was a bit tired.
I had a bit of a headache.
I had a distracted mind.
And I began to dwell on the super-unhelpful-thoughts of grumpiness.
Inner thoughts like… (let's try these on for size…)
I'm soooo rubbish at Japanese. Maybe I'll never get particles. Like… EVER!!
I'm worried about *nothing* but yet I feel kind-of-worried. Even through God has faithfully provided more than I could ever ask or imagine.
I don't feel excited about my Bible study.
Or my prayer time.
Or my… Anything?!?
I feel kind of lonely. Even though I met two friends for coffee today and should feel majorly encouraged. I still … Just feel… Bleurgh…
Ok. I'm going to stop my melodramatics there. Because you get the picture.
I've been having one-of-those-weeks.
And I think if we're honestly-honest with ourselves…. You all know exactly what I'm talking about.
Because we all have them.
Grumpy, grumpy weeks.
In the stark reality of rational thought and acknowledged belief, I totally know that God is good and He has and will never fail, and I have countless things to be thankful for and praise Him for and sing in the overflow of.
But as Jamie Wright once said, all I can do is grumpily-acknowledge that 'grace is the glue that holds this hot mess together…'
Because I don't feel thankful. And I don't feel joyful. Even though I know I should.
On Thursday night, in despair over my 70-or-so-hour-long grump, I went for a prayer walk with Holy Spirit for company. I said to Him, 'I will walk with You until I feel You. Until You penetrate this cloud of grumpiness I feel under. Until I can praise You in thankfulness…'
I walked for 4 hours.
That's a long walk.
That's how long it took for my grumpiness to be replaced with intimacy.
Just in case you were under illusions that I found this whole walking-with-Jesus-deal easy…
As I was talking with Him and allowing Him to melt my cold and hardened and grumpy heart, and give me a better attitude and perspective, I was reminded of how these human moods, that we can so easily justify as just being normal, can really rob us of having the treasure of a thankful heart.
They can rob us of living in the reality of the riches of God's grace.
Of knowing that we are the apple of His eye.
Our ever-changing-emotions and moods and circumstances will happen. They will. But (and here's the but) we need to remember the far-greater reality.
And press into a place of greater perspective.
And that's a battle that's won on our metaphorical (or real, if you pray that way) knees. Even when that's the last place you feel like being.
More than feeling.
Two weeks ago I was buying some furniture with a friend.
And I had a super annoying situation.
Because my savings (to be used for such furniture-buying-excursions), are by large, still in my British bank account.
And I have a bank card. A British one.
That sometimes (and by sometimes, I mean in tentative and particular 7-11-stores) works in Japan.
Actually, when I don't really need the money but just want to check my balance, it pretty much always works.
And everyone at the bank said it would work abroad.
But on this one particular day.
When I needed this particular money. It wouldn't.
In any bank machine. In pretty-much-the-whole-of-Sapporo.
So I had all this money in a bank account, ready to be used and spent and withdrawn…
But no way of getting it.
Because my bank card just read 'Error. Card not read' when I put it into countless ATMs.
I was equipped with all the financial resources I could really need, but there was a practical disconnect when it came to putting these resources into action.
Now that was an error.
(Note. Don't worry. Due to the wonder that is online-banking, I just resorted to doing an online transfer to my Japanese account and withdrawing the money the old-fashioned-bank-book-way… No-furniture-buying-problem!)
Anyway, thinking about my banking dilemmas…
And reflecting upon my grumpy mood…
Got me thinking that so often we can live like this as Christians.
We have all the wealth of the riches of the wonder and glory and grace of Almighty God sitting in the metaphorical heavenly bank, but we're living like spiritual paupers because our heart attitude reads 'Error' when we approach our circumstances.
Mine could have read 'Grumpy Error' this week.
Because God has done everything to be close to us.
But we can keep Him at arms length because of our attitude or our sin or our unwillingness to spend time with Him.
Because of our grumpiness.
And if there is distance between us, then it's coming from my side, because He has done everything to be with… me.
God has already done everything to be close to me.
And just like I had to be a little be solution minded and flexible and creative in order to access-the-inaccessible-furniture-buying-money in my British bank account, sometimes we have to think about putting time and effort into getting our hearts right with God.
Sometimes we need to just run to God in iur grumpiness and our negative attitude and go, 'Papa, I can't do this without You. I need Holy Spirit to sort out my heart and help me love You rightly. I need a thankful heart and the riches of Your grace.'
Because He takes us from the ashes and seats us with princes.
He really does.
It's what He loves to do.
Even when I'm grumpy.
Ok, and here are some pictures from the last few days… Because I promise I did snap out of it… 😉
And now I'm off to see a German-orchestra with Kayoko… Because… That's how I roll… 😉
Love you all!