Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thoughts #2...

I was thinking about how I do things and what needs to be done and so forth.. feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. I talked to Youssef about all of that and some how it came up that he told me he thought I was a really motivated person.

L. *surprised look* "You really think so?"

Y. "Well, you appear that way."

L. "Wow, I always feel terribly UNmotivated and feel like I have to FORCE myself to be motivated."

Then I got to thinking about motivations... how I force myself to do something. Usually by guilting myself into it, but I came up with something better.

When I know that I need to clean my house, rather than telling myself that it NEEDS to be done, it's disgusting, whatever (drag my feet, complain, complain, get annoyed at the toys everywhere or the husbands socks left in the livingroom)
My new thought to motivate myself for that is that I want to clean my house because it blesses my family and other people that visit, and I like it straightened and tidy.

When I need to bake bread, rather than looking at it like a chore and wishing we had more money to justify buying the bread (pizza dough, pita's, whatever) I can look forward to making it because I do enjoy baking. Fresh bread tastes wonderful and fills our house with a lovely aroma, etc. etc.

You obviously see what I'm getting to. I've been trying to do that with everything lately. There are so many things as a homemaker that could be annoying to do. Yet when I think about what my life could be.. I know I don't want to work outside my home. I like working from here with art and so forth... I could complain that I don't have time for those things now because of having young kids, but even with the spilled milk (again) today that I had to mop up and so many other little things that could be annoying, I really do like where I am.

That's what God has been teaching me. To be content. When I think about where I am though, I can't think of any reason why I wouldn't be content. Yet I was complaining in my head about things. Woe is me, I have too much to do. I really don't though. I mean, I can't plan as many things into one day as I could before, but this is just a season and I'm learning to adjust how I do things with how I can do things around the two kids.

There are so many things (that I didn't realize before) that can get on my nerves. Youssef has had to put up with my finickyness for the past 4 years.. and I'm tired of being this way. I want to enjoy where I am. It seems like every stage in my life I've been wanting the greener pasture in the future and when I get to that "perfect" future I look back with fondness to where I just was... how it was better in certain ways back then... or I'll look to the future again.. if Youssef just had a different job, if we just lived in a different place, if we just had more money for whatever. Those thoughts are not where God wants me to be. Being discontent and easily annoyed is walking in darkness. Ironically, I pointed out this fault to Youssef at one point in our marriage. That he wasn't enjoying where we were, but this fault is much worse in me I think.

I've been trying to stay in the light. Actively changing those negative thoughts into thanksgivings. And believe me... I have a lot of negative thoughts to deal with, but I think just till recently I didn't realize just how sinful discontentment really is. How rude it is to act that way about all the things God has blessed us with (especially if you are like me and have gotten pretty much all that you've asked for and dreamed of.. and some of it is even better than your dreams.)

The result so far? I've been so much happier! I haven't felt as stressed and self induced with guilt and like a looser (like how I felt most of the time before.) I've also been getting a lot more things done.. and doing a better, more complete job too.

So, if anyone wants to try doing that ("that" meaning, becoming an optimist ;) with me here's how you do it. When you get a negative thought about doing something.. for instance, cleaning the kitty litter box. That's not a fun job, but perhaps you love your cat. Or if you don't, are you blessing someone else who does love the cat? Then you think about that positive thing instead of the negative. Of course.. maybe no one likes the cat, but the Bible says that a righteous man takes care of his livestock and animals. So it's pleasing God when you take care of your cat (that everyone hates.) *chuckles*

I need to start working more on those thoughts about my post-pregnant self and not fitting many of my old clothes yet. That's a LOT harder to be optimistic about than doing chores. I just need to keep enjoying my baby though to know that it was all worth it, and of course doing exercise type stuff is easier when I'm thinking positively about it rather than the negative/annoyedness that I felt before. Exercising doesn't have to be annoying... *tries to think of something good about it* .... I do always feel better afterwards. My back doesn't hurt as much and it makes me feel tired in a good way.. and sometimes energized. I sleep better too. Ok *phew* I thought of something good about it. ;) And.. the Bible says that if you are born again than you are the temple of the Holy Spirit... so, if we take good care of ourselves physically (healthy habits and so forth) then it glorifies God.

I wish I'd known how to be content earlier in my life. I used to always strive to understand how to be a better person.. how to do things that would please God.. how to love Him and other people better. And.. I "accomplished" that by guilting myself into righteousness? No, God has a better way. I knew that too. I knew the verse that says to take His yoke, "Because," Jesus said, "My yoke is easy and My burden is light" .. but what does that mean (I thought). How do I take his yoke? How do I give up mine?

I think I'm starting to finally understand...
It really is wonderfully light and easy to carry too. :)


Heather said...

Yes I too find that that being thankful covers a lot of things. I heard once that it is very hard for Satan and his influences to get at those who have a thankful heart. Think about it, the more negative we are, the easier it is for sin to get a foothold in our lives. I have also heard that many times we need to DO things first and the "nice feelings" about doing them come afterward. So in other words, we DO the thankful heart thing and as you discovered, it turns into overall contentedness and a happier life. I am glad you came to this conclusion, it does make life a lot more fun for sure!

Lynne' said...

I think I tend to be a more optimistic person naturally, but when I was a teenager I thought I had to .. I don't know.. make lists or something. I still make lists but the feeling about them is different. Now it's just so I'll remember. Before it was guilt tripping myself. I think I started learning some of this when Youssef and I were first married. He didn't expect me to do anything. I guess I always felt like people expected a lot from me before and when I didn't feel that pressure from him (at all) I was free.. and just needed to be free from myself so God brought me to this point.

It is nice to be happy (AND my house is clean, laundry done, and the kids are happier!)