30 Days to 30, Days 15, 16, 17

Day 15 – I will take better care of my health, which, in today’s case, means enduring a flu shot and scheduling for optional but recommended blood work despite my hyper-active vagus nerve.

Day 16 – I will smile intentionally.

Day 17 – I will forgive myself. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. I will make a choice to extend that forgiveness even to myself because, of all the people I know, no one is more exposed to my weaknesses than myself. I have to live through every one of my mistakes. I might as well be kind to myself through them.

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30 Days to 30, Days 13 and 14

I have discovered these are easier to do a couple at a time. I am either busy or lazy, I suppose. Blast you, Masterpiece, for sucking up another hour of my life with your compelling, high-brow period drama.

Day 13 – I Will Stop Eeyore-ing My Way Out of Things.

I think I just broke autocorrect trying to type that neologism. You should know who Eeyore is, right? If not, stop and look him(it?) up. He is bashful and shy and cute. Actually, he is a pessimist and a wet blanket, walking around with his head down and always searching for the thing he has lost, his tail.

I have been known to be a bit of a wet blanket myself, especially when it comes to talking, you know, to people. I do a little Eeyore dance whenever I see a social situation I want to avoid: head down, avert eyes, skitter backwards in alternating directions until bumping into something. When contact is forced, the same motion happens, but instead of my feet backing in different directions, my eyes do it. It’s almost involuntary. Almost.

Right now, you are either thinking I am the rain man, or you are thinking that you have done the same thing before yourself.

What am I so afraid of, really? Why am I embarrassed? What is up with all the (false) humility (Don’t look at me, don’t talk to me!)? In summary, nothing; no reason; stupid human fear of man/judgement/disapproval. Does anyone really look at other people with that much condescension? If so, would we want that person’s good opinion anyway?

No more Eeyore dance. Please catch me if you see it happening.

Day 14 – I Will Choose to Give the Benefit of the Doubt.

Isn’t grace better than bitterness? Isn’t choosing to think, to hope, the best in others better than worrying if they are wrong somehow? I think that’s all I will say about that. Choose grace.

30 Days to 30, Days 11 and 12

So, I missed an entry yesterday.  Here’s a twofer…

Day 11 – I Will Improve the Home I Have (and not pine after ones I don’t).

When we bought our house, we thought we would pay it off as quickly as we could (or at least way down) and sell it for our real forever home in five to ten years.  Since then, the housing market fell, God led me to stay home as a full-time mother, and we have used much of our nest egg to bankroll four mission trips and the remaining two years of a bachelor’s degree.  So, here I sit in our starter home in a subdivision in the middle of nowhere.

My husband and I are Nashville natives and never envisioned staying in this college town after I graduated in 2006, much less at this point in our lives.  We are city folk, and we often find ourselves looking around, daydreaming about moving back.  Plus, our house is at space capacity with two children buzzing about, and the bargain-basement carpet, paint, cabinets, and the like are all showing their, ehem, quality.

On Friday, though, as I rolled fresh paint onto the wall behind our dining room table, I felt a sense of pride.  Everything needs updating, and doing the work of updating is especially difficult when it is on an after-the-kids-go-to-bed schedule and performed by a couple of amateurs.  But, we will improve, little by little, until the cycle begins again.  We will love our place in the world until God releases us to go elsewhere.  We will be grateful to have a place to call our own, no matter what lies over the fence.  We have more than many.

 

Day 12 – I Will be Slow to Speak, Slow to Get Angry.

Not going to lie – this is the one I failed today, and that’s why I am writing about it now.  No long stories or details here, just the humble realization that I need to grow up a little, act in love a little better, and not allow environment or circumstances to create frustration in me.  

30 Days to 30, Day 10

Day 10 – I Will Finish this Novel

Some of you know I have been working on a novel on and off since around the time I graduated college.  I do not write fiction, generally.  I don’t even read modern fiction.  When I want to get lost in a story, that story had better be set, if not written, at least a hundred years ago.  Anyway, I had an idea for something of a story, but with no clue how it would truly progress or end.  I wrote five or six chapters and abandoned it for years to pursue other things (like, real life).  However, about a year ago, the rest of the plot landed in my brain like a gift (or a swift kick in the pants) from God. 

Since I am a stay-at-home mom with a part-time job and a pretty hectic life, getting actual words on paper has been painstaking.  I usually only manage to write a few days a week, usually interrupted by something or someone else, and only for an hour or two at a time.  Flash-forward to this challenge and the realization that it is NaNoWriMo (that’s National Novel Writer’s Month for all you outsiders), and I have the urgency to get a manuscript done. 

Tonight, so far, I finished the second-to-last chapter, which, predictably, is the climax chapter.  Now, all that’s left is a chapter of lovely tie-the-ends resolution and back-tracking to write a prologue.  So, this might actually happen!  So, prayers appreciated.  No, I don’t have a clue what I am going to do with it once I’m done, but if any of you out there in blog-reading land want to be a beta-reader, or have a connection with a publisher, let a girl know.

30 Days to 30, Day 9

Day 9 – I Will Get More Sleep

There is a lot to be said about getting a decent night’s sleep, none of which I will say tonight because I want to live up to this resolution. I am too old to stay up all night working on or worrying about things which are not as important in the daylight. And now, it is late, and I still have a few things to do. Goodnight, dear void!

30 Days to 30, Day 8

Day 8 – I Will Control My Thought Life

I listened to a lesson on freedom today by my pastor, one I’d heard before and through which I was preparing to lead a small group.  The lesson centered on renewing the mind.  In summary, one of the main points was that our thoughts determine our emotions, our emotions determine our attitudes, and our attitudes determine our actions.  Therefore, the negative things that come from me are rooted in my thoughts.  I can control my thinking by taking captive every negative or sinful thought and submitting it to Christ, nullifying it with the truth in the Word of God.

My apologies if you weren’t expecting a sermon.  There is no separating me from my faith.  It is who I am, and it’s going to come out.

Now, I am an introvert by nature and one with an above average IQ.  Trust me that I am not bragging there.  The combination of the two makes for a fairly distracting internal world, and I tend to be very socially awkward and unaware of my surroundings because the buzzing of analysis and synthesis in my brain overwhelms my ability to engage in the moment.  The relevancy then is that my thought life can quickly and powerfully leap from normal and balanced to detrimentally askew.  Negative thoughts create fear, anger, worry.  Those emotions stimulate an attitude of hopelessness and anxiety.  It is usually right before those attitudes turn into actions that I re-secure the reins of my life and begin the process of getting the horse back on trail.

What would happen if I could consistently stop it at the thought-level?

Thirty makes me realize I am too old to play games with my bad emotions and attitudes.  I am too old to be sunk every time my mind takes a situation or word the wrong direction. And, I know I want to kill the habit of being controlled by my thoughts before I get too old. I know what God says about His people, and I am graced enough to claim it for myself.

30 Days to 30, Day 7

Day 7 – I Will Seek to Honor

While this resolution might seem to piggy-back on yesterday’s, I cannot avoid the themes I see stretching across the landscape of each day.  Today is Veterans’ Day, a day on which we honor those who have served in the military.  I spent my morning with my mother, who served her time in the U.S. Army, hoping to honor her not only as a veteran, but as a mother and a grandmother as she spent time with my kids.

I want to honor my husband as he tells me stories about his day and as he struggles with the difficulties and injustices that sometimes accompany college classes.

I want to honor my children by training them up in the way they should go, whether it means telling them stories or calming their fears or sending them to time-out.

I want to honor my Creator my making sure that every word, action, and thought is worshipful.

Honor does not always require a parade or a salute, but instead it demands that the little things of our lives have an intent to lift up and to respect.  That is my goal for today.

30 Days to 30, Day 2

Day 2 – I Will Care Less about What Others Think

I have heard this is the great mental switch of your thirties. Suddenly, the opinions of others are just not important. Well, if that happens automatically, dear God, sign me up!

I have always been the internal victim of others’ opinions. Shockingly, those other people have always seemed completely unaware of the damage they inflict. I am beginning to think I am the common denominator there. This pain gets amplified with children because suddenly everything they do is somehow Mommy’s fault. I will be honest: between my son’s strong-willed and aggressive (but clever, hilarious, and charming) personality and his recent decision to quit naps, I am afraid to leave the house some days. Today, I have to deal with both library story time and preschool class during church.  I have had to drag him and the baby kicking and screaming out of more than a few social functions and been on the receiving end of real or imagined mean mugs from parents of what I can only assume are docile and compliant children.

I kid. Sort of.

Really, though, this issue isn’t about my kids, my stuff, or any external factors. It is about my internal understanding of who I am. That identity is a mangled wreck or an empty shell without an understanding of who I am in Christ. My security, my identity, is wrapped up in Him, and if I can wrap my head and my heart around that, I never have to suffer a bit of worry about what someone else thinks of me. Of course, I just have to remind myself of that. Frequently. So, for today, no imagined looks, no obsessing over how many people view this blog, no freak outs if the kids aren’t perfect, no putting more responsibility on my ability to live up to others’ real or perceived expectations. So, for the record, I am not perfect. Now that that is out in the open, perhaps I can be less bothered when people think it.