Friday, April 16, 2010

What overwhelms you?

It's easy for me to start to feel overwhelmed sometimes just looking at the pile of laundry to be done, or trying to do something that I just am no good at.  Today I was really awakened to how even just our conversation can make for a quick nose-dive into the negative, and emotional "junk" starts to soar.  A quick walk outside to relish the beautiful day can become overbearing if all we see are the dandelions coming up through our weedblock, or the thicket of dead viney junk threatening to overtake the rose of sharon bushes.  (Your exact scenario may differ!)

Why is it often so easy to see the negative aspects of a situation instead of the bigger, more beautiful picture?  Is it just our human natures?  I've met a few people that don't seem to have a drop of pessimism in their bodies..but is this for real?  Can they really walk into a room and smile at the new pencil marks on their cabinets or the spilled potty-seat?!  If so, I'd love to hear about it.  In my experience, the only way to break free from that tendency to become overwhelmed (with frustration, for example) is to choose to be overwhelmed by grace instead.  Maybe it's my chemical makeup, but I don't wake up with a "I'm ready to take on the world" attitude.  It's more like a "Nrghgahh, is it really time to get up already??" type deal.  I don't get very far without asking the lord to give me grace for the day, and trust me, it's not worth putting off!  Here are some ways I've found that help me to "put on" my shoes of peace and keep them laced tight from morning to night:

1.  Don't do much of anything in the morning without welcoming the lord into your day with prayer, and/or reading his word.  Even 2 minutes will do the trick if you're pressed for time.  Maybe 1 if you're sometimes like me :()  If you wake up with the kids crying, and begin your day like a race to the finish line, it's OK to tell the kids, "Mommy needs a minute to pray", or "Let's stop and pray for our day together" when there's a free moment.

2.  Be slow to speak.  (From James 1:19) Think about what you are talking about.  Does it bring life or strife?  A little bit of bad conversation can go a long way.  If you realize that what you are saying/ talking about is negative, then good for you.  Change the subject to something worth talking about instead!  The word of god is to be always upon our lips.  You can't go wrong with that!  Or in the case of an argument for example, just stop talking if necessary.  Breathe, walk, and try again later :)

3.  Look for beauty in the midst of the storm.  Relish it.  For me, the tender bleeding hearts blooming in my yard were like a small breath of heaven right when I needed it the most.  Make it a moment to remember.  Give a hug, put on that funky new necklace, or take a picture.  (Just try to leave the  overturned potty seat out of the viewfinder...)

4.  Be willing to surrender your expectations.  Sometimes things just don't work out exactly the way we plan.  We may be trying to take on too much, or maybe the timing is just off.  We have to be able to relax and let God be in control when things seem to be a bit shaky.  Trust me, he can handle it.  God is just cool like that.  :)

Psalm 117Praise ADONAI, all you nations! Worship him, all you peoples!  For his grace has overcome us, and ADONAI's truth continues forever. Halleluyah!

Have another suggestion?  Please share!  I'd love to hear from you :)