When life gives you lemons – choosing to embrace the suck.
Raise your hand if you’re done with life handing you lemons. Yeah, me too. To be honest, the positive mindset of making lemonade from our setbacks and disappointments this pandemic season can disregard the feelings and emotions we need to experience. Each lemon that gets thrown at us is like a hand grenade that is ticking down to an explosion we’re trying desperately to make lemonade from before it blows up in our faces. However, is this a healthy approach? To deny or suppress any negative thoughts can become a little dangerous, and we can end up one of those super annoying positive people, who’s just waiting to spew hot larva over someone at the slightest emotional tremor we feel. So, is choosing to embrace the suck a lack of faith, or does it deepen our faith to a whole new level?
I am a “see the glass half full” kind of gal, but just lately life has been throwing too many lemons for me to handle. The lemon that caught me right in the eye was when we had to cancel our Christmas family holiday to Queensland. That was the lemon frosting on an already too lemony cake. We were sure they would keep the boarders open as there were no new cases of the virus here in Australia. But the mixed emotions of my high expectations being crushed and reminding myself that it was just a holiday and people in other countries can’t even leave their houses because of COVID-19, weighed heavy on my heart. It wouldn’t have really affected me if it wasn’t for the fact that we had cancelled our trip to England earlier in the year because of the pandemic. We had waited almost 20 years to go on that trip and it was a bitter blow to my family who were looking forward to seeing us all again.
My knee jerk reaction was to suppress my disappointment and think about all the other people who are worse off than me. I took those lemons and started making lemonade, just like I always did. However, I realised that this wasn’t healthy. I needed to embrace the suck and call out what I was feeling.
Disappointment because my family hasn’t been on a holiday in over four years and we needed a break.
Guilt because I felt bad for everyone else who couldn’t go on holiday.
Shame because I felt I didn’t deserve to enjoy myself while the whole world was in lockdown.
Worry because I didn’t know we’d get all our money back from the airline and hotel booking.
Matthew 6:34 reminds us to ‘not worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.’
This verse is saying to deal with the challenge. It doesn’t say suppress or lessen your emotions. It doesn’t say pretend everything is wonderful and that nothing is ever going to disappoint you. It doesn’t even say to make lemonade out of the lemon’s disappointment threw at you. No, it says to deal with each challenge. In other words, embrace the suck, one day at a time. Too many believers think that embracing the suck is a lack of faith. However, I believe, it deepens our faith. While we’re dealing with the challenge of the here and now, God has gone before us and has taken care of all of our tomorrows. This is the faith of things that are not yet seen. (Hebrews 1:11) It is the evidence that we trust God with our future while we’re stuck in the suck.
The lemons of disappointment, guilt, shame, and worry are not for us to put on a happy face apron, cram them all into the blender of crushed expectations, and make lemonade. God is the ultimate lemonade maker. We just need to bring all our lemons to Him. He tells us not to worry about tomorrow, He reminds us to deal with each challenge one day at a time, and He reassures us that tomorrow will take care of itself. The trouble with humans is we like to be in control. We have to be the ones who make all the lemonade that will sustain our future. When we choose to embrace the suck, when we allow our emotions to come to the surface, we’re saying to God that things didn’t turn out how we planned, but that’s okay because You’re in control of all my tomorrows. I will embrace the suck and deal with each challenge one day at a time until you show me a better way to step forward into what you’ve got planned for me.
This time I embraced the suck and didn’t suppress or deny how I felt. I dealt with the challenge that came my way, one day at a time. My faith knew not to worry, and to give every lemon I had to God. He took care of all my tomorrows without me trying to muster up enough strength to make lemonade out of my lemons. I felt a deep level of trust that I hadn’t experienced before.
So, next time life throws you lemons, embrace the suck one day at a time. Give God all your disappointments, guilt, shame, and worry, and watch Him make the best lemonade you’ve ever tasted!
When have you been told to make lemonade from the lemon’s life has thrown at you instead of embracing the suck?