(By Robyn Chapman)
There is a Richard Scarry story called, “Mr. Frumble’s Worst Day Ever.” The gist is that everything goes wrong. My Mom and I used to refer to bad days as Mr. Frumble days. Those aren’t days where someone dies. Those are just days where nothing goes as it should and everything seems to compound the thing before it. They’re more frustrating days than bad days, but to me, they will always be Mr. Frumble days.
I’ve had a couple of Mr. Frumble days in the last few weeks. In fact, this whole week has been a little bit like that. Among other things, after months of waiting, I have contractors at my house installing new doors and windows. It has thrown my schedule all out of sorts. It is not allowing me to work in the quiet, warm environment I prefer. It is remarkably hard to concentrate on writing this.
I saw it coming, I should’ve been ready. I’ve not been able to get in my usual walks. I have continued to have some technical issues with my blog. We had a weird issue with the television that required a reset. My email keeps having an issue. I keep fixing it only to have the same problem again the next day. You get the idea. I’m not going to keep listing my complaints because I believe that is the crux of my problem.
Somehow, I spent so much time focusing on my Mr. Frumble moments that I let myself get out of sync. Just one grievance isn’t so bad but when I begin to keep a tally of them, they snowball and overwhelm me. I made a thing where there was “no thing.” I gave it a name. I, no one else, made a mountain out of a molehill.
Does that ever happen to you or am I the only one? That is just what Satan wants. I have allowed myself to be utterly distracted by meaningless irritations. It doesn’t have to be that way. God doesn’t want it to be that way. Philippians 2:14-16 (NKJV) says:
Do all things without murmuring and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.
This isn’t the first time that frustrations have thrown me off and left me murmuring and disputing. It seems to take me by surprise every time. We know that everything isn’t going to go our way, so we must be better prepared from the outset. How can we do that?
We can do that by continually staying rooted in God’s Word. This is how we get to know God. This is the blueprint for life. I don’t mean cherry-picking verses that match our situation, I mean we read it with the intent of learning, trying to understand and apply it. When we do this, we are in a better position to control our thoughts.
I don’t know about you, but this is where my derail happens. Instead of focusing on the long-term gain, I’m getting stuck on the temporary costs. I’m getting stuck on what I don’t like or don’t have. When my routine is derailed, I can still rebound and find ways of staying on track if I can learn to control my thoughts. Philippians 4:8 (NKJV) clues us in on what to do with our thoughts:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.
We have the choice of what to think about. We can flip the script and choose better thoughts at any given moment. We don’t have to give in to the negative ones that, simply put, lead to all the wrong places. Choose to think about true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good, and praiseworthy things.
You’ll also be more in control of your thoughts if you take the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to heart.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Rejoicing and praying will take the sting right out of a Mr. Frumble day. Rejoicing in all things and praying without ceasing will get us back on track. Frustration cannot thrive in a mind that is set on rejoicing.
Robyn Chapman is a Christian wife and mother of two boys and lives in southern Ohio. She is a lover of words and encouragement. After struggling through some personal losses, the former journalist and grant writer felt God calling her to write and share faith-filled words. She writes about lessons of faith, hope, and joy in everyday life on her blog, www.hopeanyway.com. She would love for you to join her in the journey.