We're going to be honest here: gracious living is hard, and sometimes you just don't feel like being kind or compassionate or understanding. So here are some things to remember when you're irritable and grumpy and melancholy:
:: Retreat. Take a break all by yourself. Don't put yourself in a situation where you know you'll be likely to speak unkindly. Sometimes you can be gracious by just being absent for 20 minutes.
:: Indulge. Take care of yourself. If you just need to watch TV during the babe's afternoon nap, by all means, please do so. And down some hot chocolate while you're at it.
:: Create. Remember last week when I was blue? That afternoon I grabbed a fountain drink from Sonic and made chocolate sugar cookies. It wasn't a magnificent creation, but those cookies did get me on my feet doing something I love to do.
:: Take a walk. Or a run, if you're one of those people. Sometimes I go on sanity walks. Those walks are for when I'm frustrated and impatient and for when the babe doesn't nap. I put him in the stroller and we take off. The weather is so beautiful right now, so put on a sweater and enjoy it. Let that brisk air clear your head. And when you get home, make some hot chocolate. Obviously.
:: Cry. Yes, sometimes that's the best, most gracious option. Josh told me once that he has only five emotions, and one of those emotions was hungry. But me? I have many, many emotions that even I have a hard time sorting out. So if you feel like crying, do it. You might need some Exedrin later to kick the crying headache, but trust me, crying isn't always a bad idea.
We're imperfect people, and that means that our gracious efforts aren't perfect either. We get overwhelmed, lonely, frustrated, and upset. So in those moments when gracious living is really hard, don't despair. Remember that God is always gracious and will compensate for those moments when our gracious hearts aren't where we want them to be. Remember that gracious living is in so many ways a process rather than a goal or endgame. Gracious living is all about becoming better, and no one--not even Christ--expects us to do it perfectly.
This post is part of a 31-day series on gracious living. You can find the other posts here.