Winter is wearing on. Christmas is over, but it’s still cold outside. The closets are overflowing with things for the discard pile. The pantry has sticky honey circles on the second shelf up. The kids are fussing at each other.Â It’s too cold to play outside. Or, if the kids are grown and married, they’ve all gone back to their respective homes with their respective spouses and children. The house seems empty because it is empty. The great resolution to lose a few pounds has given way to a weary feeling of “who cares anyway?”
Oh dear. Look out. It’s the January Blahs, and you may feel like just going back to bed and coming out sometime in April or May when the daffodils are up. What’s with this?
First off, let’s all realize that the January Blahs are very predictable. You are not the only one who feels a little disoriented by a new year. Part of it is coming down from a solid month (or more) of Christmas motivation. There was so much to do, to plan for, to orchestrate, to cook, to send, to wrap. Now it’s all done and it’s easy to feel unmotivated. No problem. Just call it a little recuperation time. Soon you’ll be up and going again, full steam ahead.
But if you don’t watch yourself, the blahs can turn into a real case of discontentment. And that is sin. You may think you have good reasons to be feeling a little grumpy. Perhaps Christmas wasn’t all you had hoped for and having all the family together was more of a strain than the warm reunion you had imagined. Or maybe the kids didn’t get home for Christmas this year at all, but went to the in-laws instead. Could be that your friends didn’t invite you to their party this year. Or the reality of all the money you spent on Christmas gifts and goodies has dawned on you and you’re wondering if you were adequately appreciated for all you spent. On top of this, you may have a case of boredom, like a toddler grown weary of his toys.
All these things can be a set up for trouble. That warning from Scripture to take heed to your soul is mighty applicable here. If you keep feeding your imagination with little doses of resentments and disappointments, soon you’ll be a total grump. It’s time to pay attention to what is happening and overcome this temptation to feel blah and/or discontent. Time to shake it off.
Give yourself a little talking to. Make a list, either mental or with a pencil and paper, of all your blessings. I’m afraid you will soon run out of room or paper or time to make an accurate list. Now make a list of your troubles. You’ll run out of troubles much sooner than blessings, and hopefully you will see that many of your troubles are petty and insignificant. Discontent sets in when we let our troubles, real or imagined, capture our attention and imagination. Set it down. Put it aside. Refuse to go there. Feed your imagination some good stuff like thanksgiving, joy, and humility.
There is nothing like the weekly worship of God to help put our souls in order. Like an instrument that has gotten out of tune, worship puts us right again, sets our strings in order, and helps us to make a joyful sound once again.