It’s really hard for me to feel cheerful in these long winter months. The days are short, the house is loud, and my fuse seems really short. The kids play outside as often as they can, but it’s just not the same as the long summer days when the kids are out enjoying every minute of sunlight. I miss the yard work, the gardening, and just being outside and having my face warmed by the sun, and not hurting from the cold. But just because it’s winter doesn’t mean my anger and annoyance with my kids is justified. My attitude needs a serious adjustment.
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
We can see this reflected in our children—when I have a cheerful demeanor my kids are happier and more obedient and can feel my love for them, but when I’m angry and yelling at them for simply being annoying, they do the same to each other and even back to me. So I need to work on my attitude.
God has blessed me greatly with my kids, and I forget that often. My kids are a gift from Him—they aren’t a burden. Psalm 127:3 reminds us of this: “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” We need to treat our kids as such. We need to discipline them, cheerfully break up their fights, and cheerfully correct them. It’s not always easy to be cheerful, but it’s what we are called to do. Do we expect our children to obey with joy or with grumbling? Do we grumble when we’re obeying God? I know I do sometimes, but it’s wrong. I need to obey Him with great joy and humility. I have to be the good example my kids need. It’s really hard for them to cheerfully obey if they don’t have anyone to look to who models it for them.
So how can we be cheerful when everything seems bleak? Let me ask you this: where is your focus? Is it stuck on all the mundane things you have to do, all the messes you have to clean up? Or are your eyes fixed on Christ? Are you focusing on the horizontal, or the vertical? When my sights are set on the wrong things, I find it immensely difficult to have joy. Joy comes from Christ. Not our circumstances. I need to get my focus back on the eternal, rather than on the chaos around me. I know that if I can get my sight corrected, it won’t be as difficult for me to be, and actually feel, cheerful. I need to be obedient to the Word, even if I don’t feel like it.
As Paul says in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”