Friday, November 7, 2008

MOPS: Riding the Emotional Rollercoaster

Emotional fluctuation seems to be an essential ingredient of my life, as I navigate the little ups and downs that are part of my daily adventure. A stain in the laundry; a forgotten expense found as I reconcile the bank account; an item I need for dinner that my little helper removed from the cart back at the grocery store. Some days the highs are higher: a new baby, a new job, a new house. And some days the lows are lower: marital coolness, an unexpected doctor report, or a situation at school.

All kinds of things fight to upset my equilibrium each day, and I suspect yours as well. Regardless of the specifics, I constantly seem to find myself stumbling to the front of the line to ride the Emotional Roller Coaster. You know the one I mean: that speedy trip of highs, lows, and sudden turns that leaves you breathless and, well, exhausted.

These roller coaster rides seem to lurk around every corner; in fact, Jesus actually promises His followers, “In this world you will have trouble.” Why am I surprised every time? There it is in black and white: the perfect day simply does not exist. That should be a relief!

The real question before me is, how will I respond to the unexpected twists and turns? Jesus follows His statement with this encouragement: “But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).” That is indeed an encouraging thought! The offers to ride come every day, but I actually have a choice each time of whether to get on the Emotional Roller Coaster. Often all I really need to do is take a breath and acknowledge that while I may be out of control of this moment, God has His hand on the whole situation—and was even prepared for it.

Sometimes we get thrown off balance despite our best efforts to the contrary. That, too, is a fact of life as fallen human beings. But we still have hope! God our Creator, who knows us so well, gives us this message for those times: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). It seems the crazier life gets, the more opportunities God has to show off how awesome He is. God's grace is there waiting for me, reminding me once again that He is in control of every last detail of my life.

As we come to know God more intimately, He gives us many opportunities to decline to ride the Emotional Roller Coaster, and ground ourselves in Him instead. But He made us and knows us, and also provided a way for us to stop the ride and get off, even at the top of that big first hill.

Come to think of it, I can live with the adventure of seeing how God is going to look great despite my next roller coaster ride. Most of all, I look forward to being able to claim His grace as being enough. Because most days, God's grace is the only kind I have.

This article was first published in the newsletter of my local MOPS chapter, targeted at mothers of preschoolers. This year's theme is "Adventures in Mothering."

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