From Negative to New

It is not unusual to feel overwhelmed by negative emotions such as anger and sadness from time to time. Let’s be honest: our world is full of complex people and complex situations, so it is understandable when we experience and express complicated emotions. However, it is essential to remember that we are not required to stay stuck in that state! In other words, we do not have to wait for challenging people to start treating us better or for difficult situations to improve before we start reacting in a Christlike manner. (I’m sure we can agree that in some cases, we would be waiting a lifetime!) Therefore, choosing whether or not to let negative emotions have control over how we live is our own decision to make.

When we dwell on anger or sadness, we lose the opportunity to move forward in expectation of what God has in store for us. We may also miss chances to reflect Christ – which is an integral part of our mission on this earth.

So, what can we do when we find ourselves stuck in that unwanted state? Spend time with Him by reading His Word and praying. The Bible is chock-full of treasures for all of us, such as peace, comfort, and love. Talking to God reminds us that He is relational, and He understands what we are going through. Spending time with Him will help us view our circumstances with a fresh set of eyes and a renewed perspective. 

The next time we feel stuck in negativity, let us open His Word and remind ourselves of His many promises. Let us ask God to help us stop wallowing in negative emotions and start welcoming new ones that He is eager to offer us. 

Dear Lord, when we experience negative emotions, help us exchange them for a new, better alternative. We are grateful that You bless us by replacing our anger and sadness with Your extraordinary peace. Thank You for being ready and willing to come alongside us and help us become the people You want us to be. Amen.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

It’s Okay To Start Over

Philippians 2:5 says, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:…” Hmmm…be like Jesus? That is a tall order to say the least! But the Bible is clear about Christlikeness being God’s calling on our lives. 

We can’t possibly act like, speak like, think like, love like, or look like Jesus…in our strength. However, when we ask God for the grace and love that it takes to be like Jesus, He helps us with that endeavor. For instance, He gives us wisdom to not say the first thing that comes to our mind when we are angry, and He provides productive words instead. He grants us patience when we are in a rush, and someone who needs a listening ear crosses our path. He pours His mercy into our lives so that we can extend it to others, especially when we don’t feel like it.  In other words, God faithfully leads us to make decisions that bring us closer to the goal of Christlikeness. 

As we mature, we will presumably heed His voice more and more.  But we are human, so there will also be days when we fail. Miserably. God made a wonderful promise in Philippians 1:6: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” This verse puts no conditions on Him fulfilling His purpose for us. Nothing that says we must be sin-free for a certain number of days before He completes His work within each one of us. Lamentations 3:22-23 assures us: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Praise God that our sin does not have enough power to stop His plan for our lives! 

On our journey toward Christlikeness, there will be failures. But those failures don’t mean we should give up. When we go to God in repentance, He lovingly offers second chances and generously grants new mercies. 

It’s okay to start over. God is there with us.

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