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Have you ever found yourself meeting a new group of people, and everyone is introducing themselves to you, and many want to give you the scoop about who’s-who? Maybe at some point someone feels the need to pull you to the side and point out the “Debbie-Downer” of the group as they warn, “We don’t always invite her to hang around. Watch out for her, you don’t want her to drag you down.”
If you’re like many people, you’re thankful you’ve been warned and feel somehow spared from doom. But if you‘re like me, you take an extra second to think, “Why would she be that much of a downer? What happened to her to get her there? Will her life ever get any better if everyone simply avoids her so they don’t have to deal with her life perspectives, or her reality?” Maybe you don’t identify with “Debbie Downer” but I believe we all have a little Debbie Downer in us. We might not always be her, but there are times when we are like her and if you’re like me, there was a time when you were her.
Who or what is this “Debbie Downer” in simplest form? More often than not, she’s the one who keeps it real. Maybe when you ask someone who’s having a bad day, how their day is going, they might give you the pat answer of “good”. Not Debbie. No she’ll tell you she’s sore, tired, and cold because well, she is. Maybe others put a smile on most of the time, but Debbie smiles only when she really feels she has a reason to smile, which might not be that often. She might not be very excited about life. She doesn’t always have great news to tell. She’s probably not had a great year, or even decade. She’s not full of sunshine, but hey, she’s honest.
If you think about it, the Bible has a host of its own “Debbie Downers”, or at least these folks had some downer times. There was a whole book dedicated to sadness in Lamentations. How about the prophet Jeremiah who was dubbed “The Weeping prophet”? He was the one who had to be the bearer of perilous and devastating news. Hanging with him during that time might not have been the most uplifting experience. There was also Noah who spent the majority of his adult life building an ark that would save his and his family’s lives, and the earth’s animals, while the rest of the people would drown to death in a massive flood. Talk about heavy.
How about King David, a.k.a. “A man after God’s own heart”? He spent a good portion of his life babysitting sheep followed by years hiding in caves and running for his life while documenting his harsh reality in the Book of Psalms. He wrote things like: “I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.” Ps 6:6-7 (NIV). I’m sure he wasn’t trying to be a bummer, he was simply telling the truth about his life and situations and his reality at the moment. There are other Debbie Downers not mentioned here, but you get my drift.
So here’s the thing, there are many opportunities to become, meet, avoid, or befriend the Debbie Downer. The next time you’re tempted to judge and avoid her, remember that we all have had our moments whether we choose to reveal them or not. Catch anyone during a dry and harsh season and you may see Debbie Downer in them, even just a wee bit. Thank God He still loves us right where we are. Regardless of what role we find ourselves in at the moment, God still has plans for us that lead upward and not down. It’s true, bad things happen. Sometimes they keep happening, but so do good plans. When God makes His promises and plans about us, He’s sure to keep them. Yes, God has AMAZING plans beyond the scope of our Debbie Downers! These are the plans that we will live to tell of and God will get the glory.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)