Where do I start? So many thoughts have been in my head for so many days. My computer remains in the shop, so my opportunities to chronicle our days have been limited.
The break from the computer has been incredibly refreshing and eye-opening. Two weeks without it at the beginning of December was just frustrating. But the past ten days of it being buggy, unreliable, and out of commission have actually been kind of nice. Freeing, almost. I have realized how much of a habit my computer had become; an incredible time-eater. Having it out of the house and not even as an option to go look at has made me aware of just how much of my time and attention it was getting. Clearly, I need to redefine the relationship. As part of my goal setting and planning for the new year, I have spent some time making up an early morning schedule that (in theory) should allow me to get the bulk of daily computer work done in the morning, before the girls get up. After that, I think I need to just turn it off. I can do just about anything I need to on my phone, but it’s small size and touch-screen keyboard prevent me from wanting to do excessive browsing and time-killing on it. I have realized that I am very tied to my computer. It is an incredible asset in helping me keep our family running. Menu planning, list making, calendars, bill paying….almost everything is on that machine. But so are a lot of opportunities to be distracted from that which is most important and real. And I need to have my attention here, in real life.
Which brings me to something new for this year. I am doing something I have seen others do; I am choosing a word or a theme for this year. My word is attentiveness – showing the worth of a person or task by giving it my full concentration. My mind is always going, always moving (albeit, sometimes very slowly), and typically it is on the next thing that needs to be done. I am task-oriented to the core and I can go all day without noticing people. I go through WalMart and never notice those around me, except to think that there are way too many people out. I want to pay attention this year. Pay attention to my husband and children; not just what they’re telling me, but what they’re not necessarily telling me, to hear their hearts. I want to pay attention to those around me when I am out. One of the most convicting things I read last year was in Francis Chan’s book Erasing Hell, where he talked about sitting in Starbucks and stopping to look at all of the other patrons and began to wonder about the eternal destination of their souls. I see and encounter people every day. They are not just the cashier at Aldi, the drive-thru clerk at Wendy’s, or the frustrated driver in the other lane. They have real lives, real stories, real hurt, real joy. And the least I can do is notice them and interact with them and (even without words) share the love of Christ with them. And most of all, I want to pay attention to the voice of God. I want to be attuned to that still, small voice. I want to hear Him when He leads my heart or my day in a direction I hadn’t planned.
And because I can’t ever do the simple thing, I have a second word and it goes with being attentive to God. That word is yield. It came to me this morning as I looked at my calendar and saw another day filled with crazy. I’ve written about this and fought this for the past six or eight months. No matter how hard I try, I cannot get our schedule to behave itself. And I know God has some purpose for taking my scheduled self through this and as I said before Christmas, it’s time I stop fighting and learn to yield to it. Yield to the interruptions, yield to the constant going, yield to the fact that my time is actually His time and I am simply to do with it what He tells me to.
Attentiveness. Yield. My words for the year.
I have read some incredible quotes this week. Quotes I want to remember…
First, this one, from Ann…
“Contentment isn’t a state of organization, a weight on the scale, a state of better: better kids, better marriage, better health, better house. Contentment is never a matter of circumstances; contentment is always a state of communion — a daily embracing of God. A thankfulness for all the gifts – and moments and life, just as He gives it. Trying harder may only bring harder trials and contentment, it won’t be be found in the resolutions, but in the revolutions – in the turning round to God.”
And this one, the same day, in my quiet time…
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” (John 16:33 AMP)
And this blog post today, shared by a friend on Facebook.
I love it. I have so long wanted to write something similar, but could never find the words. I, too, have struggled with the well-intentioned grandmother-types in the grocery stores telling me to “Enjoy every minute!”, “These are the best days!”, “It goes so fast!”. Yes, that is all true…these are the best days and it does go so fast. But let’s be honest, it’s really, really hard. And some days you just want to make it through to bedtime without losing your cool or running away to Jamaica. I’ve often wondered how much we gloss over the hard days as time goes by….kind of like pregnancy and child birth. Although, I still remember both of those very vividly and there’s a reason why I really don’t want to do either again. I equate it more with running, actually. I love running. Rather, I love how running makes me feel. There are days when I love the action of running. But most of the time I hate it. It’s hard and I can’t breathe. I have to get out of my warm bed on dark, cold mornings and it’s highly inconvenient. But I love finishing the run. I love how I feel afterward. I love time with my friends that run with me. I love that post-run feeling so much that every once in a while, I’ll go crazy and sign up for a half marathon which only multiplies the hard and inconvenient. And for 13.1 miles (not to mention the countless miles of training), I will ask myself Why in the heck did I do this to myself? And then I cross the finish line and it feels amazing and I ACTUALLY THINK OF DOING IT AGAIN! I think that’s what these older women do in the grocery stores. They are trying to encourage us by telling us how great it is. But like the author of this post, I would rather they be gently honest. Not dumping on me about every bad thing ahead, but just empathize – These days are hard, but you will get through and you will look back on them fondly. Take a moment to enjoy this season a midst the crazy.
Well, it’s time to go pick up my oldest from art. Here’s to a wonderful 2012 – filled with paying attention and yielding to the will of God.
For His Glory ~