After a fabulous weekend at several women’s events, I began my return trip home with a tired body, but a happy heart. However, a run-in with a cranky person on the way to the airport was an interaction that shook my sunny mood. I pressed on and fought to recapture my positive attitude. As I hustled through the airport, I scanned the busy concourse for a place to eat. I glanced at my phone. Time was running short, and the lines were long. I let out a huff. There was no way that my lemon cookie and cilantro lime plantain chips would sustain me on my flight home.
Then, I heard her. From a little place inside my heart, my inner grumpy girl woke up and started to whine:
Are you telling me that we’re about to fly cross-country with no food?
We’re so tired, we need to eat!
Do you have an inner grumpy girl? My inner grumpy girl wakes up whenever I’m tired, hungry, and frustrated. She complains a lot, assumes the worst, and is fond of saying, “That’s not fair!” She’s like my own little inner Eeyore. I try to pretend that she’s not there, but on days like that airport day, grumpy girlfriend was large and in charge.
I grew up believing that good Christians were never grumpy. That belief made me miserable. During my early parenting and early career years, I often walked around with a painful happy hallelujah smile slapped on my face because I thought that being grumpy was a bad Christian witness.
Gratefully, God allows us to peek into the good, the bad, and the grumpy lives of our scriptural heroes. It’s here that we can see our gracious God at work.
In 1 Kings 19, God cares for Elijah, a prophet having a grumpy, hard day. Rather than criticize Elijah’s exasperation and negativity, God cares for him, and we see God’s gift of love and grace.
Earlier in the day, God used Elijah to defeat hundreds of false prophets and shame an evil king and queen. However, the post-victory backlash ended in a threat against Elijah’s life, sending God’s prophet on the run to escape. After a day traveling alone with his thoughts, Elijah ended up in the wilderness, sitting under a broom tree. He was tired, discouraged, and hungry, basically hitting the Grumpy Trifecta.
“I have had enough, Lord,” he said.
1 Kings 19:4 NLT
Have you ever said, “I’ve had enough, God”? That’s what we say after we repeat ourselves dozens of times to our kids, deal with uncooperative customers, or run into more obstacles with health insurance.
While those five words can be a complaint, “I’ve had enough, Lord” can also be a prayer inviting God’s grace into your life.
We see this grace reflected in God’s response to Elijah. After this verse, there are three gifts of grace that Elijah receives:
Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.
1 Kings 19:5-6 NLT
God gave Elijah the grace of SLEEP.
When my kids were growing up, we had a saying at our house: “The best way to make a bad day go away is to take a nap.” God created us to go to sleep so that our bodies could regroup. Sometimes, the difference between grumpy and a better mood is a quick nap or not cheating yourself out of a full night’s sleep. Sleep is grace because it restores you without you having to do any work to make it happen. Sometimes, you can rescue a bad day with a nap. Here’s your permission to take one.
God sent Elijah the grace of SUSTENANCE.
Elijah’s battle with the false prophets required stamina and strength. There’s no indication in the scriptural text that he had anything to eat. He needed food. How many of us forget to eat or don’t feed ourselves when it’s a long, hard day? A good healthy snack to take care of the body God gave you is just as spiritual as saying a prayer.
God gave Elijah the grace of STILLNESS.
After Elijah ate, he went back to sleep. He didn’t jump up and start moving again. While there was work waiting to be done, Elijah needed sleep and rest. Rest is stopping and leaving space for our hearts, minds, and souls to reconnect with each other. Much of our grumpiness happens when we feel scattered, and none of the different parts of how we are feeling are connected to each other.
Stillness is a grace because it gives you the gift of drawing closer to God. He wants you to receive His grace as a healing balm for your grumpiness, and the more of His grace you receive, the more His glory shines through you.
If you’ve been feeling grumpy lately, which gift of grace do you need to receive from God? I love that we have a God who gives grace to the grumpy; all we need to do is receive it.