In the mornings I typically take a few minutes to turn on the news to catch the weather. Personally, I prefer warmer weather. I would rather be hot than cold, so what I want to hear from the meteorologist is that the day is going to be sunny, warm, and dry. Now, I know everyone has their preference. Some love the winter and want some snow on the ground. Others, like those who farm for a living, want to see the right amount of rain in the forecast. There seems to be an abundance of opinions on what the perfect temperature, humidity, and cloud cover would be for today.
Finally! Better weather on the way!
There have been plenty of times that I have caught myself wishing for a different forecast. I have my ideal day planned in my mind and am let down when the weather is not predicted to meet my standards. Even some meteorologists play into this mindset. They might say, “Finally! Cooler weather on the way!”, when just a few months ago the same person said, “Finally! Warmer weather on the way!”. How many times do we just meet the day however it presents itself and allow ourselves to enjoy it with no preconceived notion of what it “should” be like?
It’s not just the weather that gets us down.
In thinking about these things early this morning, I realized how we often do this same thing in other areas of our lives. Our child does not make the choice that we wanted him/her to. Our spouse does not come home smiling and in a good mood. The one day we can go to the beach, Elizabeth Gardner on WRAL calls for rain at the coast. Our boss chooses to promote that one coworker that doesn’t pull his/her own weight. Our dog urinated on the carpet while we were not looking. The list goes on and on. When circumstances do not match up with our ideal standards, we can get frustrated, anxious, and depressed. We find ourselves measuring people and situations to see if they meet our expectations. When they fall short of our expectations, we are disappointed. The major problem with this is that we fail to enjoy anything with this perspective. We are not pleasantly surprised by anything. We are not open to other options other than the plan in our head. Instead, we are rubbed the wrong way one more time by a world that seems out to get us. Our preconceived notions of what things “should” be like keep us in a funk.
Longing for the right conditions keeps us stuck in a hopeless mindset.
So, how are we to overcome this mindset? We can start breaking free from the bondage of “the reliance on the perfect temperature to be happy” by first considering that there might be a better way to live our lives. This perspective has diverted us from joy long enough. Instead of holding on to some false idea of the perfect scenario, perhaps we start with considering throwing out our idea of the perfect temperature. Maybe, just maybe, there’s something in almost every degree that we can find contentment…maybe even enjoyment. Maybe it doesn’t need to be warmer…or cooler…for us to be okay and happy. Maybe everyone does not have to behave the way we would like for them to in order for us to be satisfied. Instead of holding on to some false sense of control over who and what is around us, maybe we can choose to be open to letting them do and be what they will. We can choose to be around those who are edifying and set boundaries with those who are not (some situations and even people can be toxic!).
What if we let go of our belief that things will only be okay when they work out according to our plans? What if we considered that there might be a special experience waiting for us with our family in the house on a rainy day, when we really wanted to be outside in the sun getting a tan? What if we refocused our effort at work on being ourselves and figuring out what that looks like in our job rather than allowing ourselves to get obsessed with what someone else is doing or not doing?
We can weather the storm of imperfect weather with trust.
In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus goes into some discussion about worrying about things in our life. He encourages us to “not be anxious” about those things. He seems to say, don’t look too far ahead. Look at the here and now. He seems to be showing us a way to live in which we trust what He will give us each step of the way…even if the circumstances are not at all what we would ever want or plan for.
I think the key word here is “trust”. Only by trusting God will we get free from the unhealthy desire for “the perfect temperature” in our lives. Is He to be trusted? Does He really love us and want what is best for us? He says so, many times. Those truths about Him, if trusted, will set us free to experience whatever lies next completely wrapped up in His grace and love. Encountering the day in front of us with that perspective tears down any sense of “the way it should be” and replaces it with “His grace is sufficient for whatever it is”.