I woke up with this thought from the Holy Spirit falling like a snowflake through my brain:
“Don’t choose resentment.”
Okaaaay. What does that mean?
Fast forward a few hours …
“Oh, this is what you were referring to, Lord,” I mumbled as I backed away from a perfect opportunity to resent a situation and the person attached to it.
I took time to ponder...
I realized I had let resentment become “acceptable” at times. So much so that I probably wouldn’t have recognized it in me right away if the Lord hadn’t mentioned it that morning.
His naming “resentment” made me alert to it when it popped up later.
Why had I allowed resentment to become an acceptable way of responding to situations and people?
Why had I assumed it was okay to harbor those thoughts and feelings?
When resentment is quietly, or not so quietly, front and center in me, the Kingdom of God and the fruit of the Spirit are not.
I paid for resentment with mental and emotional exhaustion…not a good investment!
Did I really like how I felt when resentment ruled? No, I didn’t. So why hadn’t I seen it keeping me from love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)?
I handed the beginning feelings and thoughts of resentment over to the Lord in exchange for His presence of all-encompassing love, which overlooks opportunities for resentment (see 1 Corinthians 13).
The next opportunity to be resentful came later that afternoon
Again, I chose love. But, dang, it wasn’t easy, especially during the holidays.
“Practice,” the voice of the Lord reminded me.
I wondered if Mary had ever resented leaving family and friends to escape to Egypt. I’m sure she missed her support system back home.
I bet Mary had to practice trading the old ways of the heart for God’s ways. After all, what young mother wants to have her child among animal smells and stable yuck. That’s not exactly a birth you’d put on Instagram.
*cue Andy Williams music*
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year … “
Think about it.
How many times in past Christmas seasons have you harbored resentment?
- Disappointment invaded your hopes.
- One of your kids, spouse, or a friend didn’t live up to your expectations.
- A situation arose that was unjust or at least insensitive.
- Christmas day wasn’t picture perfect.
- You felt slighted, misunderstood, insulted, or ignored.
Anytime we choose resentment, we’re not choosing the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Engaging with the Holy Spirit is choosing His ways rather than the old ways of relating to life.
It’s how you learn to rule and reign (self-control) over anything in you that stinks of the “old ways.”
Now, isn't that a happy Christmas message?
Probably not, but it’s timely.
It also requires that you become aware of what is happening inside of you…in your feelings and thoughts.
Christmas celebrates God becoming man so His love can rule in your emotions and mind.
So, this Christmas, “Don’t choose resentment!” OR anything else that is opposite the fruit of the Spirit.
Because that’s the only way, the holidays will be “the most wonderful time of the year.”
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you kick resentment out the door this Christmas. And if you’d like help to shift into happy, check out this post: Christmas Season + Seasonal Shift = Happy.