Have you ever had someone say this of you: "He must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed"? It's an idiom that means the subject of the sentence is in an unusually sour mood; it's better left unquestioned and just dealt with later. I understand that this is a euphemism, but I have this to say about it:
It's a bunch of horse hooey!
It doesn't matter on which side of the bed one awakens. Truly. Is the distance between left-side-of-bed and bathroom that much greater than from right-side-of-bed? Are there toddler and cat toys on one side of the bed but not the other? Let's be honest. Both sides of the bed are pretty much the same: thrown back covers, carpeted (or not) flooring, and stiff muscles that need a good stretch to get going. And if you're married, I guarantee you always wake up on the same side of the bed every single morning. Now, if, in your early morning stupor, you occasionally climb over your spouse to get out of bed, I'd be willing to bet one of you would have a bad start to your day!
The phrase itself is silly. Fine. We're used to clichés that don't really mean much in themselves (that's what makes them cliché). So why then do we say it when we're aware someone is in a bad temper but afraid to address the real issue? Are we even aware of the real issue? I have an idea I'd like to share.
The bed itself is an inanimate object, capable of neither love and joy nor fear and despair. The root of the issue is this: waking up on the wrong side of the head. I don't mean in the naval sense. I mean your noggin, your brain, your noodle, your mind. What do you think about when you first wake up in the morning? I have no scholarly journals or original research to cite but I have a bit of wisdom (based mostly on personal experience). The first thing you think about each morning can and will determine the course of your day.
There. I've said it. Now what do I mean? Simply this: thoughts are seeds. Think about it (Ha!). What we think about determines what we say and what we say reflects what we believe (Matthew 7:34). So if the first thing on your mind in the morning is the mountain of unpaid bills in the other room, you'll probably have a pretty rough day. If all you can think about is the mile-long list of chores that have to be done before 7 AM, you might just start and finish your day stressed out.
What about the alternative? I know that when I have something big to look forward to later in the day, I'm ready to go when that alarm clock goes off (sometimes before!). You might start out by thinking about all the people you blessed the day before and be encouraged to do so for more people today. Or maybe you fell asleep in the arms of someone who truly loves you, knowing all your faults and flaws, and you wake up realizing how awesome it is just to be loved. I bet you'd have a pretty good day!
All too often, we get trapped into believing the lie that we have no control over our thoughts. They just come and go. In one ear and out the other. This is absolutely not true! I prove it by calling to your memory a time in your life when you were head-over-heels in love with someone. You consciously focused your thoughts on that person most of your day, at the expense of other things. You would daydream at work (or in the car). You would doodle in your notebook while the professor droned on about facts and theories. You would go into auto-pilot mode for the better part of your day because all you could think about was that special someone. Am I right? You can absolutely control what you think about—even first thing in the morning. It may take some practice and discipline but it can be done.
The Bible tells us to think on things that are true and virtuous and lovely and good and pure (Philippians 4:8) and to renew our minds in the Word of God (Romans 12:2). I certainly haven't gotten this down 100% but I'm working on it. I encourage you to do the same. Put little notes with Scripture on them by your bed or your mirror or even in your shower. I have a verse printed out in huge letters and tacked to the ceiling over where I sleep. It's a bit tacky to interior decorators but it's the first thing I see and it sets the tone for the rest of my day.
I've been listening to some of Joyce Meyer's teachings lately. She parallels the Word of God to physical food: we snack all the time to keep our bodies going; we should also "snack" on Scripture to keep our spirits happy. Satisfied. Well fed. And why not do it from the start? Have a little spiritual breakfast to start your day off right.
Stop waking up on the wrong side of your head. And have a great day!