I have often admired people with enthusiasm: folks who gush a bit; the lady who says, “Aw, thank you SO much! I just love it!” when given a little gift. I fear I often come across as unimpressed, unmoved or ungrateful. I may forget to tell guests how glad I am to have them in my home. Even when I say the right things, I have trouble sounding convincing.
My natural demeanor is a little lack-luster. It’s not that I don’t feel things but that I don’t tend to show my feelings. I’m working on sounding more passionate, trying to gush more, and I like to think I’m doing better. When asked to describe me the other day, a friend of mine called me bubbly. That made me smile.
All this in mind and making allowances for my laid-back ways, I surely do get tired when interacting with people who exclaim over every little thing. I find it emotionally exhausting.
When I volunteer to help with a project, does it really deserve, “You are awesome!”? Is a bookmark really something to squeal about? Should the exclamation mark be at the end of every sentence in a text? How many times in life are three exclamation marks allowed? Is “OMG!” really warranted unless we are calling for divine intervention?
Yes, I’m an old lady but these are not children. This generation and the one following seem to be hyped up on adrenaline and going full steam all the time. If they are not shouting enthusiastically about every little good thing in life, it seems they have to be angry about every little assumed slight or offense.
No, not angry, FURIOUS!!! Because he said that she said I should have put my toddler down for a nap before the party. How dare she? She doesn’t know anything!!! Her kids are spoiled brats!!! She’s a (bad word) and I HATE HER!!!
My optimistic hope is that, like children having a dire moment, fury will pass quickly and all be forgotten tomorrow (or after a nap).
My concern is that, left unchecked, childish behavior becomes a pattern hard to overcome. Maybe if we allow the pendulum to swing too far and too often, we’ll never be able to get it under control.
Many years ago, I studied Titus 2:4, where Paul instructs the aged women to “…teach the young women to be sober…” I knew the Old English word “sober” didn’t mean simply not inebriated but I couldn’t believe it meant they were to be somber and glum all the time. So I looked into it. I found the Greek word sophron means self-controlled or of a sound mind.* It’s sort of the opposite of hysterical and out of control.
Yes, if a person is drunk, they are not sober. That is, they are not self-controlled or of a sound mind. Unfortunately, liquor is not the only way to get there. A habit of over-reacting can and will leave us giddy for no reason, frantic with fear, overcome with grief, and raging with fury over a relatively minor offense or perception of offense.
So here I am, quietly admonishing my friends and readers to get a grip, calm down and try not to gush so much.** It may be important.(!!!)
** But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).