My husband was telling me about how he was practising his golf swing. As I’ve mentioned before, he loves to play golf. He practices and studies it. He coaches children and takes care to keep improving his handicap. He said that there had been a situation that had upset him before he went to practice and the things that had been said kept resonating in his mind. The shots he hit were all off target. He then purposely decided not to think about what had happened and just focused on his swing. There was an immediate improvement because his mind wasn’t trying to focus on two things at once. That happens so often in our daily life. We get distracted by something or someone and we can’t put our full attention on what we are supposed to be doing. That causes mistakes. I expect my employees to focus on work when they’re at work. If they serve the public they must smile and be courteous. They cannot walk around with a long face because something happened at home to upset them. If you’re in the service industry that’s just the way it is.
We allow all kinds of things to determine our mood. We don’t get enough sleep and we’re grumpy. Someone says something hurtful and we get angry. We have some aches and pains and we forget how to be friendly.
When does putting on a positive outlook become a mask? We know that we mustn’t wear a mask because we are hiding the true person that God created us to be. But we also have to be positive when we’re not feeling so great.
I see it this way: When we put on a mask there are a lot of lies that ensue and we are basically doing it in order to please someone. We are hurting ourselves in the process and quite probably also hurting a lot of people who are close to us too. A mask does not allow our true feelings and character to shine through. A mask is solid and opaque and has no room for grace.
Putting on a positive attitude on the other hand is self control. It is self control if you don’t gossip about someone who offended you. It is self control when you really feel like being rude back to a customer, but you smile instead. I had the experience of a customer who told me that I am as ugly as a dog. He was intoxicated but that is no excuse. I did not react in any way at all except to thank him for supporting my business. If I had reacted negatively it could have been a potentially explosive situation.
Proverbs 15:1, A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
We cannot afford to antagonise people. They are already watching us because we say we’re believers and if we are to erupt like a volcano every time someone offends us we aren’t going to be a very good reflection of Jesus.
I just want to add that there’s nothing wrong with having a friend or two who we can share our feelings with. People we can trust and rely on and who will be praying for us.
What do we do with all the negative stuff that comes our way every day? We give it to Jesus. He’s really good at handling that kind of thing. He’s so good at it that He was willing to die so that we wouldn’t have to take it.
Romans 4:23-25, Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offences, and raised because of our justification.
We can take all the offences we pick up during the day and give them to Jesus. In fact, He already took them all at the cross, so we shouldn’t be getting offended, but in case we feel slighted Jesus is there waiting to take them. We just must not take them back. Once we have given them to our Saviour and asked Him to forgive us for having been upset, they do not belong to us at all anymore. We can take off the masks and live in the freedom God has granted to us. We need to have the fruit of the Spirit of which self control is one. We can smile because we have so much to be grateful for and we have a Saviour who loves us.