I woke up this morning in a mood. The kind of mood that made me shoo away my dog when he popped the lock on my bedroom door just to get to me, and snap at my dad when he asked if I wanted anything from the grocery store, and ignore my brother when he offered to make me a root beer float. (Yes, root beer floats are a breakfast food. Don’t question it, just accept it. It will make your world better.)
But I know when I am responding unkindly to my dog, who is my favorite person on the planet, and offers of food, I’m off kilter and I should probably get to praying, like, right that second.
I’m not sure always where these moods come from, but I know they sneak up on me now. They used to be much more frequent, as in all the time, as in the state in which I lived my life. I was an angry kid and an angrier young adult, and it took a lot of in-with-Jesus work to get to this place where I don’t think people suck all the time.
Now, I only think people suck some of the time. (I include myself in this. I am people.) And this is no small thing.
And luckily, as if God knows what He’s doing, He’s given me some really good friends. The kind of friends who truly don’t suck most of the time, because they are quick to show up, and because they keep their promises as much as they’re able, and because they say nice things to me even when I don’t deserve it. They are the kind of friends who read my blog and give me permission to use their real names when I tell our stories. They’re the kind of friends who fight with me and for me, and they’re the kind of people who aren’t afraid to ask for what they need and with whom I have complete permission to ask for what I need. They’re the kind of people who show me a little bit of Jesus’ love every day.
Which is why I text them when I get into a mood. Because they remind me at every turn that people don’t really suck. And because I tend a little bit too much toward isolation and festering, and one of the things all that in-with-Jesus work during my twenties has shown me is exactly this, and the only combat to this is to reach out to someone anyway. The only cure is community.
So today, my friend Nickie was the lucky recipient of my Ugly Text about how people suck and I suck and the only thing I want to do is get in the car and drive until I hit Michigan. Michigan, because I go there only to play with my college pals, has a pull on my heart when I’m craving only fun, only to laugh, only to play. This, of course, is often a good thing, but like all good things, it can go sour when I use Michigan as a place to avoid the hard. And Lord have mercy, today I want to avoid the hard work of writing and forgiving and being with people. (I’m an introvert. Please let me sit in my favorite red chair with a book and leave me the hell alone.)
Nickie, who is also an introvert and who is also going through the hard right now, responded with a text I couldn’t capture in one screen shot. (Lord love a wordy girl, for she is my people.)
People do suck. I second that! But you don’t. And God doesn’t (although every now and again I waiver on that), so at least there are two beings that are suckless. I’m so sorry you’re stressed though. That is the worst place to be stuck in. I know it doesn’t help, but I believe so hard in what you’re doing. I’m so proud of how you’ve let God tell your story and how much your heart is in this. I believe God is going to use your brokenness and imperfection to change lives. All He needs from you this next month is you and your willing heart. You were placed here and are who you are “for such a time as this.” Satan is all up your butt right now, but I know that you are not able to fail. Nothing that you do, or don’t do, or screw up is something that God did not account for. You cannot throw Him off His stride. You cannot ruin anything. It’s impossible. So just breathe my beautiful and amazing sister, and let yourself rest in a perfect God just for a second. You are so crazy loved.”
If that’s not a good word, I don’t know what is.
Then she adds:
Aside from that I’m feeling pretty shitty myself, so we can be cranky and quiet together tonight. You don’t know how much an impromptu road trip to someplace remote is appealing right now. I’m ready to blow this Popsicle stand and just start fresh. Cabin on a mountain overlooking the beach? You can write and I’ll paint.
Now, I’m not saying I started Googling cheap cabin getaways, but Nickie should probably start gathering her brushes.
Because when you’re in a mood – when the stress is high, and everything feels hard, and all your people are kind of sucking – remember that not all of them do all of the time. Give a little grace to your people and to yourself. Text a pal anyway. Because she might not get it right one hundred percent of the time, but she’ll probably get it when you need it.
She’ll get it, and she’ll remind you – your mood doesn’t change God, and it doesn’t make your people love you any less. And she’ll probably still want to take a ride with you.
And that seems to me to be an awful lot like Jesus. Lord love Him.