My favourite cuisine after Nigerian delicacies is Chinese. As a family tradition, when celebrating a birthday it is customary for us to go to our favourite Chinese restaurant. Everyone apart from my dad orders Sweet and Sour Chicken Hong Kong style with egg fried rice or noodles. As the name suggests it has a sweet and sour taste, it is strange to imagine how this would taste having both flavours on the same dish but it’s actually very appetising. I digress…
Over the last month, I would describe my life as a sweet & sour experience; I’ve had moments in which people have upset, annoyed or made me angry, I’ve had unfortunate things happen like breaking my phone again and losing money, but it in the midst of all that I’ve also had sweet moments; going horse riding with my sister, going to the theatre with my friends, useful and educational experiences whilst on placement like getting involved in surgery.
What I found myself doing was focusing more on the sour moments, when the sour things happened it felt as though my whole world was crashing around me, I let it control my emotions and place me in an overall negative state. The more I focused on the negatives the more I spiralled in despair. So one day I decided enough was enough, I gotta start focussing on the more sweeter aspects thus the more I did that the more positive my overall outlook was.
The bible put it simply in Proverbs17:22; A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. It is healthy to be cheerful. A merry heart is as good as medicine. Negative emotions and feelings such as anger, unforgiveness, worry, anxiety, fear, resentment and bitterness cause many physical illnesses by raising our stress levels. When we solely focus on all the negatives our spirit is crushed, we become stressed, overwhelmed and may eventually become ill as a result of emotional fatigue. As you can see there is a relationship between our attitudes and our physical well-being. God doesn’t want us to be a slave to our emotions but when we allow our emotions to rule us we let that happen. In my devotional by Joyce Meyer entitled: Trusting God, she advises us that “to manage [our] emotions and life [we] need to ask God for His wisdom instead of trusting [our] feelings”. The more stable our emotions are the healthier we will be. So, how do we trust God to help us manage our emotions instead of letting our emotions manage us? Below I have explained a practical method I used.
Of course, focusing on the positives may not completely remove the existence of the negatives in our lives so I decided to write a list. If you are like me and love making lists to organise yourself, your life and thoughts you will find this useful. I made a list entitled: Things that are threatening my peace. I wrote the list, prayed over it and ‘put it in God’s hands’. If there were things on the list that had an obvious available solution, I initiated the solution and crossed it off. One thing on my list was that: I kept losing money. This was because I had lost £15 in cash and was so frustrated after my search for it was futile. After writing it on my list, I left it in God’s hands and decided not to let it continue to keep me down. About 2 weeks later (I had forgotten about it by now), I was out for dinner with friends and as I reached to collect my Nandos loyalty card from my purse to my surprise my £15 was folded up behind it. What I thought was lost, was right there underneath my nose, isn’t God great? By leaving it in His hands I saved myself 2 weeks of continued anger and stress. There are still some things on my list but I trust God that gradually these things will eventually be resolved and my peace will be fully restored.
To finish with one of my favourite quotes (I have many favourite quotes haha😂😂): Those who leave everything in God’s hand will eventually see God’s hand in everything – Anon. Let’s pay attention to the words “Leave” and “eventually“. Often times I am guilty of “leaving” things in God’s hands but then go about worrying about how God will fulfil His promises. 🙅🏾 That wasn’t the deal. By praying to God I am supposed to trust in Him, to rely on Him totally and “eventually” I will see the way He has been working behind the scenes.
When we pray for something we may not get an instant answer but we should trust that God will “eventually” let all things fall into place. He is not deaf to our prayers, not blind to our tears nor silent to our pain. He sees and will deliver.
Undiluted Points to take away from ‘Sweet & Sour’
- There are sweet & sour moments in life but we should not let negative emotions rule us
- A cheerful heart is good medicine – positive thinking is the way forward
- Cultivate a habit in which you continually and purposefully place & LEAVE things in God’s hands
- When you leave everything in God’s hands you will eventually see God’s hands in everything
- TRUST TRUST TRUST God’s plan and timetable
P.S Students stay tuned for an Exam Season post that will be coming out soon.