- crab about my problems on the internet
- feel sorry for myself
- be a cranky couch lump
- feel depressed
- buy things / distract myself with media
- pray for God to change my "problem" and wonder why he wouldn't
You see, most of my life has been spent reacting. I react to a problem and let it control my mood as I cycle through the list above. I feel bothered. I feel like whatever "thing" I am going through is unfair, and this mindset sours everything around me.
Recently I have began to see how futile this all is and how all the things I am doing are wrong.
Here is what I do now.
- Problem happens.
- I want to give in to my pity cycle
- I fight myself by reading the bible, praying and studying God's word
- I realize that in the Grand Scheme of God's plan, my problem is a flea, a mote of dust, a speck in the Eye of God and I feel silly for letting it control me
- Peace, acceptance and joy (even through I still have a problem)
Of course it's more complicated then a mere list can denote.
I'll try and give an example: Last week my Grandfather fell and was admitted to the hospital. The same day my husband announced he has mandatory overtime all week, and possibly next week. My kid turned three, Becky is growing two teeth. Our church had a really stressful meeting. A good friend of mine almost died giving birth to her 11th (12th?) baby. My extended family is dealing with a really upsetting issue that is unbelievable, and I am having legit heart issues that I need to see a doctor about.
All of that is just overwhelming and it all happened in one week.
My first desire was to just give up and spend the rest of the week on the couch. My husband would come home to no dinner and a crabby wife. I couldn't do it. How could I keep the ball rolling when I can barely function? I stared directly into my own defeat, afraid. Life seemed ruined, how could anything good happen while all this stress was going on? Better give up and just let the misery run its course.
Instead, I forced myself to read my bible and pray every morning. And I didn't pray for God just take away my problems and fix it all so I could be happy and get on with my jolly life; I prayed that God would give me the strength to make it through the week. I prayed that he would give me peace of mind about my heart, no matter what the doctor has to tell me. I prayed for my grandfather's recovery (he starts rehab this week) and for his wife. I reached out to my women's group to pray for my friend who just gave birth (it's a girl! and she has red hair!) and today I brought her a meal. I made sure that my husband was greeted by food upon his arrival to our home, no matter how late he came. I know if I'm completely wiped by his mandatory overtime, he must be exhausted too. I know he also is feeling the effect of all the things that happened last week too.
Every time I felt like falling apart I ran to God. I won't lie, it was hard. Most of the time I didn't want to. I just wanted to vege out on the computer or eat chocolate and lay on the couch and feel sorry for my life. But repeatedly humbling myself before the Lord helped hold me together AND made sure my perspective was in the right place. Instead of the focus being on me and what I was going through, my eyes were on Him.
Don't think everything was all roses. I still had a stress-argument with my husband one morning that we both had to apologize for, and I still let my toddler watch a little much TV and I tried to make time for myself to relax and reflect because I knew I needed it. I was mean to a friend because of my stress. And my house is nowhere near as clean as I would like. But my mood: my mood is where the biggest difference has reigned. And the mood affects everything.
I'm learning more and more that in times of trouble and times of stress and hardship I need to run to God. It won't fix the problem. But I need God like plants need rain and life needs breath. Without him I am only able to perpetuate my sin and wallow in it like a pig.
God never promised life would be easy or rosy. In fact, he promises the exact opposite. If I am to follow him I need to get used to alpine climbs and sudden drops. But God is with me every step of the way and I am not alone.