By Peter Paul Marcelo, BCBP Pasay
I have always thought of myself as a very positive person. Almost always, I radiate sunshine every time I am with the brothers and sisters. But contrary to popular belief, positive people, including myself, do get into bad moods.
In my one year of service as a Chapter Head, I felt I already had more than enough cases of the “Mondays”. At times I have felt overworked and overwhelmed especially when chapter activities overlap with work and family commitments. There are times when something bad and unexpected happened and I kept dwelling on it over and over in my head. Lately, I have done something I had thought I was not capable of doing – speaking too aggressively to someone I respect and love.
I once read a passage about a scene where Jesus told his apostles, “I have come to bring not peace but the sword and the division among families.” This message came to me as if Jesus was not in a good disposition. Surely, he was not smiling when he gave this message. He was not known to “sugar coat” his words.
I also came across His seemingly outrageous, especially from the non-believers, demand of loving Him more than one should love his own children. It sounded like Jesus was having a case of the “Mondays”. But of course, He can say that in front of the apostles. He is Jesus. My members would not be as understanding if I say something like this.
In a general sense, Scripture reminds me that my walk in the Spirit is not a constant up-graph. It has its peaks and valleys. I have realized that having ways and gaining skills of beating bad moods are essential more than ever, especially for those who are in service. The following tips may help brothers and sisters who are in the same boat as I.
1. Smile and wait. These simple acts help me gain good bearing and proper perspective. Often, the waiting will let reason come in for me to realize that the hassles and irritants that seem important now will not really matter in the future.
2. Surround yourself with happy people. Negative emotions should sound alarm bells. It is not the way of the Spirit. I need to remind myself to stay away from negative and argumentative people. I often find it helpful to relate things that bother me to my wife and close friends who understand what I am going through. Also, I find it refreshing to spend time with the kids. They melt my worries away. Happy people diffuse negative feelings by generating positive ones.
3. Email is a poor and impersonal form of communication at best because one can be easily misinterpreted. Moreover, people often feel less inhibited to express their thoughts which could lead to some serious email regrets. Like in the first item, I find it beneficial to give some time before answering so I can reply with calm and reason. Also, ending a statement with a smiley face has incredible effect on the reader.
4. Learn to let go and let God. I have learned to lift up to Jesus all the hurting words that were said to me, including all hurting words that will be hurled at me in the future. So I visualize myself closing a book and taking a new one off the shelf – one where I am no longer a victim, but someone who is terribly loved by God and in love with Him.
Recently, I was reading a barrage of angry email messages from a woman in an internet forum of school parents where my sister wife and I were members. The messages were directed to a member who was only misunderstood, yet the keyboard bravado went on for several days. They were difficult to ignore.
Mench, my sister wife, kept asking me to speak up, but I’d rather keep quiet. Not until my name was dragged into the skirmish that I finally broke my silence. I simply showed them that the issue came about because of misunderstanding. Both parties had falsely interpreted the statement of the other, but they were actually in agreement all along because as parents, all we want is what is best for our children.
It was also helpful to point out that the endless exchange of emails crabbily sent back and forth is quite pointless and if I give a comment on an angry email, I will be making a fool of myself. The best course of action is simply to end future email communications. It was my first and last email.
I closed that email with the wish that future issues and misunderstandings will be resolved in a Christian, civilized and mature manner, and that angry emails will cease for the sake of everyone so that healing can begin. To cap the email message, I left a smiley icon to show that there are no hard feelings.
Almost immediately, the person responded positively and with calm. After a few minutes, she deleted all the angry emails.
I am still a member of that group, stealthily reading messages in the background. The peace was kept. No heated discussions have since surfaced… for now.
In retrospect, I realize that I was exposed to a different environment when I was growing up in BCBP. Everyone was so tolerant of people’s mistakes and shortcomings. We even looked at them as a matter to laugh about. But situation now has changed. In some ways, I feel the Lord is telling me that sometimes I need the harsh words in order to sing Hallelujah more fervently. I need the Good Fridays to appreciate the Easter Sundays. Without Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we would not be celebrating today.
Now, I am more aware that we all come to our activities with all of who we are – with all the daily grinds we encounter, the failures and successes, the tough words that we endure, the joys and sorrows. I understand now that we carry all these as we encounter Jesus in our assemblies and breakfast meetings. Sometimes we do not want to look at the valleys, where we stumble over those hurting words, but the Scriptures remind me that I need them all in order to experience the true worship of God, and all that I had felt wanting was only a way to beat the “Mondays”.