Friday, November 23, 2012

It's All in How You Look at Things Sometimes

Last night we were invited to one of my son's in-laws for a Thanksgiving feast. I came home from a wonderful time with family with sadness. Instead on focusing on how blessed I was to spend time with family, especially my grandson, I was focusing on how difficult it is to raise my two youngest. During the evening they, of course, acted up. Holidays are always difficult. They ignored people's greetings, sulked in the corner, didn't eat any vegetables, and tried to let me know in so many ways that they were not pleased to come. I was trying to get through the evening without causing too much of a scene, but their behavior seemed to concern one of the members of the family who have have kids that were well behaved. The man finally lectured Mr. I on how to politely get my attention, which was all good advice, but I'm sure it fell on deaf ears. Mr. I interrupted me for a reason. He didn't want to be there. Fortunately, Microbio Daughter took them home early, but not before Ms. D came up to me in front of the "perfect" family and took my water. Without asking. And acted sassy too. And then I realized then that in my nervousness, I had eaten much too quickly, which further embarrassed me. Last night I was comparing my kids to theirs, my manners to theirs, my homeschool to theirs, and falling short. And I didn't just feel bad for a moment, but stewed about it until I was in tears by the time I went to bed. I was focusing on where I fall short of perfection.

This morning I decided that perfection was not a good goal. There is no way I can have perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect weight, perfect children, perfect house, perfect husband, perfect anything. Hey, I'm human after all! Oh, and so is everybody else! So why get all in a bad mood because I can't reach an impossible goal? Why compare my weaknesses with someone else's strengths? Why pass judgement on others and myself?

So today, when I planned to bring down the Christmas decorations from the attic and clean house, I helped one of my sons with a project for church. My house won't be perfect tomorrow when the family gets together, but it will be clean and decorated well enough. When I planned to shop for food, I also picked up Mr. I and his friend from a friend's house the next town over. Because of taking an extra half hour to do this, I had to rush to get the food. I may have forgotten something, but we will have plenty of food for everyone. When Hubby took Ms. D to visit the birth father after he finally called, I stayed home to make some pies and watch a movie with Mr. I. Because I didn't go with, I don't know how it went, but I was able to reconnect with Mr. I.

Instead of focusing on my faults, my problems, and all the negative things in my life, I made an effort to focus on the good. It took work. But I was much happier. I was able to joke around with Ms. D as we drove around. I was able to enjoy my family. I was able to thank the tellers for working on Black Friday when I got groceries. I was able to relax and not be all uptight about having everyone over tomorrow. I was able to rest. I was able to make mistakes and not be perfect, yet enjoy life. I was able to love people, even when they were acting a bit unlovable, because I realized that God does that even better than I. It doesn't really matter if someone doesn't like the way I have done things, I did my best just fine. Relationships are more important than having everything go my way. Isn't that what we've been trying to get into our children's hearts all these years?

I can choose whether to focus on the good or the bad. Most life events have a little of both, don't they? Sometimes how I look at things determines how I respond to different events. Will I respond with anxiety, embarrassment, fear, anger, and judgement, or will I respond with grace, love, peace, courage, and joy? The choice is mine.

1 comment:

  1. Mommy Linda, I hear you. I really struggle with this--keeping my attitude positive, and not letting a desire for things to be ideal hinder my enjoyment of whatever unideal thing is happening at that moment! I am so glad you found a good balance by the end, and hope God keeps doing that good work in your heart, so you enjoy this Advent season.