When you got up this morning did you sing Oh What A Beautiful Morning, or did you sing, Make the World Go Away? When you took your bath did your Ivory soap bar sink? Then you may have the blues.
Life has its great times, it has its average times, and then it has its rough times. The mountains always have valleys. The old preacher said, "Sometimes I'm up, sometimes I'm down, and sometimes I'm almost to the ground." Sometimes we feel like we're on the fast track, and other times like we're on the slow track. But sometimes we may feel like we're tied to the track. Those are the times when you feel helpless, hopeless, humorless, and hurt.
Everyone has been through it. People have different names for it. Paul called it losing heart, Swindol called it low tide, Spurgeon called it the minister's fainting fits, the psalmist called it the depths, the poet called it the dark night of the soul, psychologists call it depression, and I call it Monday. It's the down time.
Everyone has bad days. One guy's love life was so bad he tried to place an ad in the personals and they put it in the obituaries. Even Robert Schuller, the positive preacher of the possibility persuasion, probably has bad days. I suspect he checks into a hotel under an assumed name and says all day long, "I hate glass and I hate Windex." In that same motel are Zig Ziglar thinking negative thoughts and Paige Patterson thinking liberal thoughts. Rick Warren checks in for no purpose whatsoever. Everybody has bad days.
How do you battle the blues? First you grow up and prepare for difficult times. Unless you're Superman and there's no Kryptonite around, you will have some wrecks.
When Muhammad Ali was in his prime, about to take off on an airplane, a flight attendant reminded him to fasten his seatbelt. He came back brashly, "Superman don't need no seatbelt." The flight attendant quickly came back, "Superman don't need no airplane either." Ali fastened his seatbelt.
Let's see if you are Superman. Can you leap tall buildings in a single bound? Are you faster than a speeding bullet? Are you more powerful than a speeding locomotive? Are you Superman? No? Then don't go through life thinking you are. Prepare for the wrecks of life. Put your seatbelt on. It might wrinkle your shirt, but so would the windshield.
Grow up and don't give up. An eccentric inventor developed a new drink. Everyone who tried it told him how great it was and that he ought to market it. He got excited, formed a company, came up with a marketing plan, and called his drink 4-UP - but nobody bought it. He got a little discouraged but went back and hired a different marketing director, added more sugar, less fizz, and called it 5-UP. Once again nobody bought it. He was still discouraged but he went back, tried again, and this time he called it 6-UP. Still nobody bought it. He was completely discouraged and quit the drink business. If only he knew how close he was to 7-UP. Don't give up. Think up. Think 7-UP.
Grow up, don't give up, and keep moving. When you have the blues there's a tendency to isolate yourself, stay home, eat, watch Jerry Springer, and tell yourself you'll get better. You won't. You can't feel your way out of the blues; you act your way out of the blues.
A pastor was visiting a hospital ward for the terminally ill and asked three patients what they wanted said at their funeral. The first said, "Tell them the guy in the casket was a good family man." The second asked him to say, "The guy in the casket was a loyal husband." The third guy said, "At my funeral I want you to look down at my casket and say 'That guy ... that guy is moving!'"
Keep moving. Go to work depressed, but go. Much of life is just showing up.
Grow up, don't give up, show up, and look up.
A young husband's wife died and left him alone with their small son. The night of the funeral the boy asked if he could sleep with his dad. When the man turned off the lights, his son boy said, "It's so dark I can't see you. Daddy, is your face toward me?" His father realized he had his back to his son, so he rolled over and put his face very close to his son's and whispered, "Yes, my face is toward you."
It doesn't matter how dark it gets, by faith, look up. His face is toward you.
Charles Lowery is pastor of Hoffmantown Baptist Church in Albuquerque, N.M.