Oh man. I could really use some love this week. I am sooo discouraged. Really bummed. Depleted, exhausted, wind gone from my sails. Can I be real with you? (Well, I'm always real with you. I guess what I really mean is, will you tolerate a little venting?) Our house is still in shambles from the flood months ago, our family and ministry schedules are ape-baloney with zero time to work on the house, I can't find anything because we've been living with my in-laws for four months and everything we own is stuffed into the upstairs of our duplex, everyone in our family keeps getting sick, the baby will not go to sleep before midnight, and I feel like I'm totally falling on my face trying to juggle it all and manage a long-term sub job that I feel totally unequipped to handle. Can I scream into a pillow now?! Uuuuuggggh.
Okay. Whining over. I know I am immensely blessed. I know there are people whose basic needs are not met every single day. I know I need to be joyful. But I still get overwhelmed and I still fail, and knowing I need to do those things does not make them easy to do. Obviously, today I'm having to work extra hard to be joyful. Hahaha! I think I'm working extra hard not to be totally and completely grumpy. Feeling kinda gross, actually. What is with the pollen around here? It is kickin' my rear, for sure. Hang in there with me; these allergies seriously have me in a fog. I feel like maybe I blew part of my brain into a tissue and left it in a wastebasket somewhere...
Anyway, usually when I'm feeling like this, I place a mandatory requirement on myself to blog another "One Thousand Gifts." You know, count my blessings. And usually, it "works." That is, it goes a long way toward coaxing me out of my self-centered moods and into more of a God-centered mood, where I should be abiding.
But today, I thought I'd try something a little different. It's not that I don't want to count my blessings, quite the contrary. I'm just in need of a little more focused counting. Rather, I guess I'd just like a little more specificity. For some reason, I keep coming back around to rejoicing in "the little things." I know I, for one, use the phrase a lot. You know, the small victories of everyday, in everything. Mothering. Teaching. Growing, Learning, and Living.
Everyday, I want to be learning and growing in my faith, so I can live out the principles I know to be true. I want to be less of a hypocrite and more of a testament. And instead of comparing myself to others, measuring myself against unrealistic expectations, and focusing so much on what I didn't accomplish, I want to celebrate the progress I did make, however small, in whatever area. I think, especially for women, it is much easier to tear ourselves down and beat ourselves up over what we see as failures or shortcomings than it is to believe that we are valued and loved for who we are. I don't know about you, but positive praise goes a long way with me. Being acknowledged (not to be confused with applauded) for the things you pour so much of yourself into every day. Appreciating the beautiful. Taking two minutes to refresh yourself with something you enjoy. It's the little things. Let's share our smallest of victories and support each other, shall we? I'll start.
So far this week...
When I couldn't reach my husband on his cell phone - repeatedly, all day - I did not leave him an angry text message or blast him over voice mail, like I was seriously tempted to do (and yes, like I have before. Sometimes the truth is ugly.)
Also, I've been more consistent about working with my boys on memorizing a Bible verse every week. We sing them, and they are adorable. And because I sing them 239048437 times a week, I'm memorizing more verses, too. (And the simple ones tend to be pretty profound, don't you think? "Do to others as you would have done to you." There you go.) It's so refreshing to hear my kids singing the Word and applying what they're memorizing, even at their young ages. I'm encouraged!
Surprisingly, I did not give in to my enormous emotional cravings for ice cream! No really, when I feel lousy, it's unbelievable how much of the stuff I can pack away. (And now that I didn't totally binge on the stuff, I can really enjoy a reasonable amount without the guilt. Yay!)
I've noticed a steady improvement (and in this case, decrease) in how much the opinions of others impact me. Make sure you read that correctly. The opinions of others are important, to a certain point. But in the past, I've placed a far greater value on them than is healthy. My focus is turning toward the One whose opinion really matters. This is an answer to prayer!
Even though I feel terrible this week, and what I have really wanted to do is crawl in a hole, have a good cry, and sleep for hours, I haven't. I've gone to work and been pretty darn productive, if I do say so myself.
I've gotten two loads of laundry done so far this week, and yes, given all that is going on, that is definitely worth mentioning.
Last but perhaps most important, this week I've worked hard to win the battle against unnecessary strife and conflict. I've intentionally poured extra effort into diffusing potential conflicts before they start. I've practiced patience and I've forgotten insults. I haven't won every battle, mind you, but I'm making progress.
That's it for now. What about you? What small victories can you celebrate this week? I'd love to hear about them and be an encouragement to you. Even if it's just that you bathed regularly this week. Because after all...
...it's the little things.