I felt abnormally grumpy earlier this week. I have no real explanation. I certainly tried to come up with reasons – the cold, rainy weather, or the impending busy-ness at work, or my own lack of motivation. But none of these things actually explained it. I just felt grumpy.
And I wanted to ACT grumpy. I’d like to think that all people will at times be grumpy – maybe others are just better at hiding it. I am not good at faking my emotions. Whether I’m sad, worried or angry I usually just avoid people because I can’t force myself to pretend that everything is alright.
Unfortunately, this means that the people that I do allow to see my grumpy attitude are usually those closest to me. (Or the unlucky person at the store that decides to say something which I perceive to be slightly rude!)
I suppose I am like a toddler in this way. My 2-year-old will save her temper tantrums for home; for my husband and I. She knows she can completely lose control and we will still love her when the demons leave and our sweet little girl returns! (See BEING A PARENT – the Experience of Unconditional Love.) Apparently, I do the same thing – I save my grumpy attitude for my family because I know they will still want me around when I return to normal!
On one particular cold, gloomy evening this week, I was home alone with the kids making dinner. I was grumbling about everything, none of which was important; and my kids could sense it. Then they began to feed off of it. My daughter was feisty (which in reality may not be my fault – she is not always the most pleasant to be around at the end of the day!) My son was just quiet.
We’ve been playing this little game lately where someone will ask an obvious question – like “Who wants ice-cream for dessert?!” or “Who likes chocolate?!” Then everyone raises their hand and shouts “Me!” (We have very creative games around this house…) So, on my grumpy day, I stomp around the kitchen while my kids sit at the table and watch my “tantrum” intently. My 6-year-old suddenly gives me a grin and says “Who wants Mommy to stop being frustrated?!” (Only it sounds more like “fwustwated” because he still has a little trouble saying that ‘r’ sound…)
Both kids raise their hands high in the air and say ‘Me!!”
Yet again, schooled by my own kids! So I flipped my attitude in that instant. How selfish of me to let my grumpy attitude influence the lives of my family! The way that I act impacts those around me – and I can choose if that effect is positive or negative. On top of that, as a follower of Jesus I am called to be “Christ-like.”
A perfect verse as we enter into Holy Week: at the Last Supper, Jesus humbly washes the feet of each of his disciples, then says to them:
“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.“ John 13:14-15
We are called to live like Jesus; to live with an attitude of love, service and sacrifice. My “grumpy for no reason” attitude was NOT Christ-like. Sometimes it takes a 6-year-old to remind me of that!!
Lyrics from ‘Mistaken’ by Warren Barfield:
“I shouldn’t have to tell you who I am; Cause who I am should be speaking for itself.”