Finding the Balance

I’m going to do my level best to get straight to the point today.

| Finding the Balance |

Today’s post is inspired by the gray clouds that we experienced this morning as well as a post that resurfaced in my Facebook Memories.

On this day two  years ago, I posted to my Facebook news feed, “It’s always nice to have  a little unexpected sunshine on a cloudy day.  Thanks for dropping by to make my day brighter!”  Reading that, I immediately recognized that I must have been referring to whatever nappy headed, smooth talking, trying to be charming joker guy I was dating at the time.  Obviously, he dropped by my job for some reason that day (probably to bring me lunch because I’m a fat food lover), and I felt that he lit up my life.  *side eye, eye roll, and heavy breath*  In the comment section, a friend posted, “I need sunshine on my cloudy days…one day.”  My response to her will be the crux of this moment of sharing.  I simply replied,

“It’s coming, but you need the cloudy day to appreciate the sun!”

I have spent too many days of my 30+ years complaining about the days that down right sucked.  I would have used a more eloquent word, but “sucked” is the best way to describe some of my lowest moments.  I’m talking about those days when I stretched a dollar to pay a bill just to not have enough.  I’m referring to the days I spent curled up in a ball crying my eyes out because my heart had been broken, my feelings hurt, or my expectation shattered.  I’m speaking of the days when nothing I did was good enough no matter how hard I tried.  Those days SUCKED, and for a great portion of my existence, I have hated those low days.  As a matter of fact, there are some moments in time that I won’t even allow my mind to relive because of the pain, shame, or embarrassment associated.  It was on those cloudy days that I sometimes felt helpless and hopeless as if the sun would never shine on me.

good days bad days

“…but you need the cloudy day to appreciate the sun!”

Many moons ago when I was in college, for the first time, I was no stranger to what I call “Struggle Meals.”  Oodles of Noodles, tuna fish, pizza that I had to eat for several meals in a row, fast food, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and Chef Boyardee…struggle meals for a college student.  I lived in an apartment and kind of knew how to cook, but the cost of groceries were so high in Northern Virginia.  As a matter of fact, I would wait until I drove home to visit my family in Portsmouth to buy groceries, and I’d drive back to Arlington with coolers of food in my trunk.  For the first few weeks, I ate like royalty; but when the food started running out, it was back to the struggle.  I can remember in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving 2006, I was definitely on that struggle meal plan, and I was dying for a home cooked meal.  When it was finally time for me to head back to my mom’s house, I was anxious to get on the road and had already planned to pack to containers of food to take back with me.  That Thanksgiving, it was if the macaroni and cheese was cheesier, the yams were sweeter, and the turkey was a bit more juicy than the year before.  The truth is though my mama could throw down in the kitchen, that meal wasn’t any better than her others.  I appreciated and savored that food more that holiday because I had grown accustomed to struggle plates.

That food was bomb, y’all.  Lord knows I miss my mama and her cooking.

I believe no further examples are necessary.  I’m ready to get to the point.

bad day

On a good day, enjoy yourself;
On a bad day, examine your conscience.
God arranges for both kinds of days
So that we won’t take anything for granted.”

Ecclesiastes 7:14 [New International Version]

THE MORAL OF THE STORY

Growing up in church, I used to hear my Uncle Charles singing a song entitled, “I Won’t Complain.”  As youngster, it didn’t make much sense to me, and I thought he just wanted to yell  at the end.  (If you know the song then you’ll understand what I’m talking about.)  Now that I am older and have lived through some ups and down of my own, I better understand the lyrics:

“I’ve had some good days.  I’ve had some hills to climb.  I’ve had some weary days and some sleepless nights; but when I look around and think things over, all of my good days outweigh my bad days, and I won’t complain.

In life, it is impossible to avoid bad times.  I’ll go further to confirm that you can be a believer, anointed, saved, sanctified, Holy Ghost filled and that with a mighty burning fire, and speak in tongues when the Spirit gives utterance and still have what seems to be a crappy day or even season.  But I have to tell the whole truth: the day is actually not bad, after all it is a day that God created and gave you breath to live through.  For those reasons alone, everyday is a good day; however, I recognize that a good day can have bad times.  I will NOT negate your bad times since I too have lived through a few.  Now that we have that established, let’s look at those song lyrics again.  As a child, it seemed like this song only spoke of stuff that wasn’t going right: hills to climb, weary days, and sleepless nights.  This joker was tired all day then still couldn’t sleep that night!!!  (This sounds like my life sometimes.)  With all that “bad” and only one mention of a good day, the writer still penned that the good days outweighed the bad days.  Wait a minute!  You’re trying to tell me that one day of good was worth more than all of those days of hardship?  Life and experience taught me just how true this is.  Just like that Thanksgiving meal making up for all of the struggle meals that I had eaten, God will allow one big moment to supersede the hard moments that proceeded it.  This song speaks of the unorthodox balance of life that creates a sense of appreciation.  Bad times have the propensity to make us grateful for good times.  After a stretch of days with high temperatures, we are grateful for the rain to cool us off, and after a few days of rain, we are grateful for the sun again.  You see how that works?  Even if the number of days aren’t congruent, there is a balance between the good and the bad.

So as this scripture says, “On a good day, enjoy yourself; on a bad day, examine your conscience.  God arranges for both kinds of days so that we won’t take anything for granted.”  More times that I can count, I have ended a day saying, “You never know what can happen in a day.”  To me, this is what the tail-end of this scripture is speaking of.  God can’t give us all good times, and I don’t believe God will give us all bad times; therefore, when you wake up in the morning, you have NO CLUE what the day will hold.  This causes us to remain dependent on God.  And before you look at your reliance on God as a bad thing, remember that he knows the plans he has for you and your day (Jeremiah 29:11).  A problem occurs when we seemingly have such an extended period of bad that we don’t expect the good anymore.  Consider my Facebook post; I mentioned receiving unexpected sunshine. *insert side eye, eye roll, and heavy breath*  It is possible to be so used to the clouds that you stop looking for the sun.  I have found in my own life that it is just when I become content in my current state that God will “shine” in my life just to prove to be that #1 he is still God and #2 that it won’t be this way always.

I think I totally blew my whole “getting straight to the point’ thing today.

If by chance you feel as if you are living through one of the hardest seasons of your life for one reason or another, know that you are merely in the balance.  Today is preparing you for your tomorrow, and your tomorrow may far outweigh your today.  You can’t appreciate the sun if you’ve never had a day without it.

I hope this helps.
-Chris

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