You don’t have to be very old to know that the difference between having a good day or a bad one can shift as quickly as a Formula One race car. It’s possible to wake up feeling like this is the day you take over the world and go to bed still cursing because your boss threw you under the bus when he was confronted by an angry customer. Apparently, he wasn’t aware that you’re next in line for world domination.
I have been guilty of riding the wave of emotion like that big kid who brags about how tough he is one minute, then screams in terror after ten seconds on the rollercoaster. And when the ride is over, it always leaves me feeling like I need a bath.
Leave a review, please.
Recently, this whole idea of how emotion comes into play came up when I was reading some reviews for a book I wanted to buy. Here are the first two:
Johnny C. said, “This book is great! A must read for anyone who loves this genre. 5-stars!”
Followed by this one:
Dean M. said, “Don’t waste your time or money. This book is crap from the get-go. Definitely a 1-star bust.”
So, do I buy it or not? These are the tough choices we face. (Insert sarcasm here.)
Online reviews have become a trusted source when it comes to evaluating almost everything.
How nice is that hotel? Look it up online.
How about that restaurant? Hang on, let’s check the reviews.
Almost every product, service, and place (and on Facebook, even people) you can think of stands in display to be reviewed by the faceless crowd in cyberspace, and we’re bold enough (or is that naïve?) to trust this information without knowing who these alleged “reviewers” even are. In fact, we trust them so much that just about every entity with something to sell hopes for more of these faceless reviewers - only the ones with good things to say, of course - because of the impact it can have on their business.
But there’s a big problem with these opinions that help us make decisions. Too often, they’re based on emotion.
That may not be such a big deal when you’re trying to decide on buying a ten-dollar book, but when it comes to something bigger—like the refrigerator that needs to be replaced, or bigger yet, what neighborhood to live in—this can be unstable ground to stand on.
Can you imagine not buying a home in a great community because Doris R. trashed her neighbors when the HOA told her she couldn’t have a tenth cat? Or not getting a great steak at a good restaurant because one patron left a one-star review after the waiter made a “you must be from up north” joke?
Get a grip.
Remember that car I just mentioned that pulled out in front of you at the intersection? Do you let that ruin your day?
Maybe not, but I’ll bet there’s something that can derail you faster than you can say qwertuhv. The good news is it doesn’t make you a bad person when your buttons get pushed.
The bad news is you’re not as tough as you thought you were.
I’m really hoping that when my wife reads this blog she’ll forget it after a year or two, though that isn’t likely. I don’t think many wives would forget something her husband acknowledges publicly that she’s privately been trying to tell him since day one.
You can’t control everything that happens, but you can control how you handle it.
Talk about Life 101, I think this little gem is the first lesson in the book. And apparently, I didn’t do my homework.
The truth is, I have gotten better about handling things. But there are times—more than I would like to admit—when I forget there isn’t anything I can do about the stuff I can’t control and emotion gets the best of me. Maybe I get mad. Maybe I get frustrated, Maybe I just worry myself into a bad day.
Well, if you’re a self-diagnosed control freak like me, the Bible offers this piece of advice to both of us:
“A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.”
(Proverbs 25:28, NLT)
Coming unglued, unhinged, or unraveled isn’t going to help you when life starts throwing punches. If you want to have a shot at winning the fight, you need to get a grip. That’s when a little self-control can make a lot of difference.
Keep calm, keep your composure, and remember: if you’re asking God to lead your steps every day, he’s going help you take them. He also knows there’s a lot you can’t control, but he can. So, let him do it.
Disclaimer: I’m not that good at doing this either.
I’ll leave you with a few thoughts:
1. God really is in control. All you have to do is believe it.
2. Think of everything you can control and focus on doing those things.
3. Relax and put the dictionary down. Qwertuhv isn’t a real word.
P.S. Hey, I took last week off, but it feels good to be back in the desert.