February: Long, Dull Days

Gray Skies

“Look up, look up, seek your Maker, ‘fore Gabriel blows his horn . . .” ~Bob Dylan~

February can be a real downer. Even the fact that right smack-dab in the middle of the month we all get mushy and celebrate Valentine’s Day doesn’t really redeem it or change Feburaryits overall dullness.

It is likely that February could be arbitrarily canceled and nothing but a loud cheer would greet the news. People might actually dance in the streets because February is often defined by day after day of gray skies that can color our disposition. It is never our intention, but sometimes without even realizing it, our response to life is dictated by our environment or circumstances. Never is that more true than during the somber days of winter when the sun is locked inside a mausoleum of clouds. We get discouraged or downright depressed about everything. We develop a long list of complaints against the world. The injustice and unfairness is magnified. We grumble and complain, seeing bleakness at every turn of the road.

Gratitude & Optimism

The only thing on the planet that we have any real control over is our response to life. Remembering that ought to challenge us to not be so quick to embrace a gloomy outlook.

When we are sad or angry or frustrated, it is too convenient to blame outside forces; it is too easy to claim we possess no ability to change, rather than deal with what lies inside us. We should recognize that we are responsible for our responses. Ultimately we actually live the life we choose.

Feburary3We make a choice when we react to February with negativity; we could just as easily choose to see each day of February—in fact every day we breathe—as sacred. If that view dominated our mindset it’d give gratitude and optimism an opportunity to flow regardless of how many desolate days got strung together.

When we choose to live in humble acknowledgement of who God is—our creator and sustainer—then each day takes on a sense of the miraculous.

Look Up, Look Up

We are to look up and seek our Maker. A God-centric perspective is the only healthy way to live. God loves us and is actively at work in our lives. He is not on vacation or off hiding in some corner.

Like it or not, this side of eternity there is much mystery in the ways of God. Our brains can get tied into knots considering the whys and wherefores of Providence, but instead of squandering valuable time in debates that our finite minds cannot possibly fathom, we should submit to the fact that he is God and we are not.

Feburary2Faith means recognizing what all of the intricacies of nature prove; the Creator of the universe is in our midst. He is involved in the rhythm of life. And his grace is available to everyone who chooses to believe him; his power to transform our hearts is continually unleashed within us when we take him at his word. God is in the business of lifting us up out of the murky confines of our personal situations. It makes no difference whether it’s turbulent skies and rough going or peaceful skies and smooth sailing. God is sovereign and in complete control.

A Hebrew warrior-poet wrote the truth long ago: “The word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.”

Number Our Blessings

The earth is full of his unfailing love. Given that, when anything—be it the winter doldrums or world events or family squabbles or health problems or financial stresses or frustrating computer glitches—urges us to regard the beauty of life through dark shades we should strive to number our blessings.

Feburary4Taking constant joy in the simple pleasures is an antidote against the dreariness because it points us to the Giver of every gift.

Yes, God is faithful. We can trust his promises to be kept and his purposes to be good. How do we know? Well, the sun came up this morning, didn’t it?  The sunrise each morning reminds us that God remains in charge. We ought to greet each sunrise—even those obscured by a concrete crypt of clouds—as a remembrance of God’s faithfulness.

That frame of reference gives us the tools to rise above the melancholia; even when the long, dull days of February threaten to drag us down into its mire.

“Look up, look up, seek your Maker, ‘fore Gabriel blows his horn . . .”