Have you ever had a day where you’re just angry for no reason in particular? Me too. In fact, I recently had one of those days. My alarm went off, I got out of bed, and my attitude just went downhill from there. Nothing really went wrong, there wasn’t a cause for my bad mood, but reminding myself of that fact did absolutely no good. I was in a funk and that’s how I wanted to stay.
In the movie Hitch, Will Smith plays a consultant named Alex Hitchens whose job is to create environments for people to fall in love. While out one night he runs into the lovely Sara (played by Eva Mendes) who is not feeling the vibe he’s putting out. He talks to her and says all the right things but she stays distant and shut down, unwilling to engage with him or show who she really is. Before he leaves, he explains how he knew she wasn’t interested and ends with this line: “there’s the big F- off sign on your forehead.”
Like Sara, on that particular day, I had a sign on my face. In big, bold, flashing neon lights, I was saying “F-off” to everyone and anyone who approached me.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who deals with this from time to time. I have a friend who has a horrible poker face. If someone tells her something, her true feelings about it are written all over her face; she’s terrible at hiding how she feels. Occasionally one of her friends will have to whisper (or yell depending on the situation and audience) “fix your face!” Today, despite me yelling at myself over and over again to fix my face, I wouldn’t. I steadfastly refused to make a change.
I don’t believe we are called to hide our emotions from God, but I do believe there is a right and a wrong way of expressing them. Today my pissed off, screw you, “I’m mad and I want you to know about it” attitude was not the right approach. I was shut down; I intentionally isolated myself because I wanted to be left alone. I didn’t want to work through my feelings, I just wanted to sink in them and sit there like a two-year old. I was like a little kid who made a mess with paint or food and just sat there, incapable or unwilling to move. I was like a child who sits in their filth and mess until someone comes to rescue them.
The funny thing is that I prayed that particular morning. I prayed as I got ready, I prayed my whole way to work and I listened to worship when I got there. But, because I wasn’t willing to work on the root of my angry attitude, nothing changed. It wasn’t until I was willing to accept God’s invitation of grace that my attitude changed.
God is a gentleman. Which is absolutely wonderful; he’s kind and benevolent and loving. But the downside to this is that he respects our decisions. So, when I was acting like a two year old throwing a temper tantrum, God respected that. He probably watched me and shook his head at my foolishness, but he let me have my moment. If it were me, I would’ve picked me up and yelled at me for being so irrational, but he didn’t. He lovingly waited until I was in a position to confront my issue.
This is a strange post for me. Normally when I write I have a point or a line or something profound that I’m wanting to convey, but I don’t have that right now. I don’t know how to wrap this up. All I know is that if you’re struggling today, I’m sorry that you are. I’m not saying that to be patronizing or demeaning, I honestly mean that. If you’re having a rough day, I’m sorry that you’re going through this. If you feel alone today, whether your isolation is intentional or not, I want you to know that you don’t have to be. God is with you. God loves you and is rooting for you. God wants to hear about your day; nothing’s too small for him. Though it’s easier to keep him at a distance, let him in. Let him into your day and your heart and your thought process; share your feelings and fears, your hopes and dreams with him. He is ready and waiting for you, willing to listen to all of it. Run to him, mess and all, and let him wrap you in his arms and clean you up with eyes full of grace and love. You don’t need to be perfect to come to him, he’ll accept you where you are, even if you have an F-off sign on your face. Just come.