Are you losing sleep over something? Maybe it’s something someone has said or done to hurt you, or a time when you were treated unfairly. Maybe it’s a mistake you made. Maybe it’s knowing you were excluded from something. Whatever it is, it gets under your skin, and although you try to move past it, it’s stealing your joy.
At the beginning of this year I set out to read the Bible in a year. So I found a chronological reading plan that looked doable. And there it was – in day one of my reading. How quickly God’s word jumped off the page with a very clear message for me. You see, I had been losing sleep over something. Something real. Something hurtful. Worse than hurtful to me, it was hurtful to my child. If I typed it out, your jaw would drop and you would completely agree with me. But no matter how “right” I was, the causer of the pain wasn’t losing sleep. I was. And my child was. Right there in Genesis 1-3, was the answer and it was an answer I needed to share with my child.
Genesis tells us that in the garden, God set two choices before Adam and Eve. They were free to eat from the tree of life (gen 3:22) or the tree that would cause them to die (gen 2:17). They chose death. How many delicious, nourishing options did they turn their backs on? Hundreds? Thousands? God had provided innumerable fruits that would sustain them (in addition to the tree of life), but they ate from the one tree that doomed them.
Instantly, I knew that’s what my child and I had been doing. We were choosing death. God has given us innumerable blessings but we were honed in on the one negative situation. I confessed. Lord, I know the "situation" is sucking life out of us. What options are you setting in front of us that we are ignoring? What should we do? Two words flooded my mind. CHOOSE LIFE.
The truth is, our habits often foster the pain: Replaying the conversation or situation over and over in our minds, dreaming of what we should have said, talking to a friend who is not steering us toward restorative behaviors, incessantly checking social media, entertaining vengeful thoughts, etc. Each of these behaviors is equivalent to nibbling on toxic fruit.
If you find yourself losing joy because of an emotionally painful situation, take it to the Lord. Confess any part that you may have played. Accept His forgiveness. Take all the Biblical steps you need to take (see Matt 18). Then–and this is important–ask God what you should stop doing that is fostering bitterness, and ask what you should be spending your time on which is good and life-giving. And when it applies to them, guide your child through each of these steps.
I shared this revelation with my child and now we have a two-word mantra to encourage each other whenever this or a similar situation comes up. CHOOSE LIFE!
“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes, that ruin the vineyards–for our vineyard is in bloom.” Song of Songs 2:15 (NET)
If this resonates with you, you'll be blessed by listening to “Good to Me” by Audrey Assad.