You Are Either Getting Better Or You are Getting Bitter

I have been struggling lately. I struggle with my weight. I struggle with my walk with Jesus. I struggle in my role as a husband and father. I struggle in my relationships with my friends. I struggle with my attitude at work. I struggle in my role as a cancer survivor. I struggle with marathon training. I seem to be struggling in just about every area of my life.

I know that we all have our “pity party” moments but mine seems to be a form of depression that I just can’t seem to shake off at times. I have a few good days and then something will happen that will knock me off my path and I seem to struggle to get back on.

I have seen variations of the phrase “You either get better or you get bitter” and I very much believe in it. Yesterday at church, I heard my pastor say “You either get better or you get bitter” and it seem to hit me like I have never heard before.

I’m not going to say that my “a-ha moment” is going to make my daily walk a million times easier but it did give me a clearer view of what I need to do to set myself up for having a better attitude. I believe just these few simple changes will start getting me down a better path.

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I need to clearly limit my time on social media

I am addicted to social media. I know I am not alone in this struggle. Usually it can be a very fun thing. There are a ton of laughs available and it is fun seeing what my friends and family are doing.

The biggest problem that I am having with social media lately is that I am opinionated. That can be a good thing and it can be a bad thing. I love a good discussion at times. Lately it seems to be a bigger challenge to walk away from certain comments or posts from people and it truly is just not healthy for me.

I really am trying to be a light for Jesus and certain things bring me back to the person I was before coming to Christ. Getting into an online debate or posting certain opinions is not God-honoring and I need to truly avoid that.

So for now, I am going to limit my time on it and start hiding or de-friending people that send me down the bitter road.

I need to spend my time more productively

Limiting my time on social media will certainly help open my free time but without structure, I will waste my time. See, I am very lazy by nature and without a set plan to do things, I will usually head down the path of least resistance.

When I graduated from Moody Bible last year, I thought it was great that I was going to have all this free time to do stuff with. I was going to do all the things that I wanted to do but couldn’t since I was in school.

One of the benefits I have at my job as a firefighter is the ability to do stuff at the station during our down time. That’s how I was able to get my degree. With 4 kids at home, studying there wasn’t going to happen.

Since I graduated, I have been struggling to use that time to my advantage. I need to develop a plan of things that I want to do during that free time and get my butt in gear again.

I need to structure my time, both at the firehouse and at home. I will start looking at my calendar and planning what I will do on what day. If I want to learn sign language, I need to plan when I am going to spend time working on that. If I am going to have time to read, then I need to figure out when I can do that or it probably isn’t going to happen.

I believe that by spending a little more time planning things out, it will help put me in that better place instead of a bitter one.

I need to be embracing the “garbage in, garbage out” philosophy

My wife uses this expression constantly. If I fill my head with negative stuff, chances are, that is going to filter into my daily life, from the movies I watch to the songs I listen to.

This goes hand in hand with my social media limits but it also will help in conversations I get in too. With an election going on, people are looking to engage in battling discussions, especially opinionated people like me. The problem with that is it stays in my head and causes negativity to come out.

This also includes the food I am eating. What might seem like a good idea at the time I eat something, tends to not make me feel better later. Better choices will result in better results. It’s not rocket science. I know what I need to do, now I just need to do it.

I am going to start going with “positivity in, positivity out” and see how that works for me.

I need to be spending more time with God

I have seasons where my prayer life is amazing. I have had had seasons where it isn’t quite where I’d like it to be. I talk to God throughout my day but I have missed our uninterrupted “one on one” time. I think that having dedicated time with Him will certainly help me stay on the “better” path.

I need to embrace Grace

God has blessed me with so many things. The biggest thing He gives me is daily grace. It is something I don’t deserve but He gives it to me anyways. It’s a certainty that I will continue to mess up but the grace continues to pour in.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness

I also need to extend that same grace to others around me. If I want God to forgive me, and I want others to forgive me when I screw up, then I also need to extend the same grace and forgiveness that I want extended to me.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

So this is where I start being better and not bitter. It will be days filled with little positive choices.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

 

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Steve DeLuca is a 13-year, stage 3 colon cancer survivor, acoustic neuroma brain tumor survivor, 23-time marathon finisher, 2007 Ironman Wisconsin finisher, happily married father of 4, and a follower of Jesus. Not all in that order.

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