The Cure for Misery
As a high school teacher, I see students in all manner of emotions – the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. Yesterday, I came across a student in the throes of misery. It was painful to look at her – her mouth was stiff, her eyes squinted in anger, waves of disgust fairly rolled off her little body. What was so awful, what did this to her, you ask?
She was asked to do something she didn’t want to do.
I tried to joke with her, to get her to smile, to lighten up, to realize that life really isn’t that bad. But to no avail. The scowl stayed, deepened, in fact, and she left school with a chip on her shoulder and a frown on her face.
I’d like to say that I never have “misery” issues, that attitudes like that didn’t follow me from high school into my adult life. But that’s not true. I can sulk with the best of them. Especially when I have to do something I don’t like.
But here’s what I have learned – being miserable doesn’t actually accomplish anything beneficial. Not one thing. Sometimes we think we’re punishing others with our misery, but we’re not. At best, we just drag our friends into our misery. At worst, we lose friends over it. Misery and its sidekick, Anger, make us sick – literally – eating way at us, a little bit at a time.
What God has taught me is that when I feel these emotions, when the “I hate this!” thoughts seep into my brain, I need to change the way I am thinking. I need to replace those negative thoughts with biblical ones. I need to remember that I have the Holy Spirit living inside me, and I need to let Him help me control my emotions rather than allowing my emotions to control me.