A few years ago a section of road on the way to and from town to my house was under construction for several months. The detour route was not completely out of my way, but it was different than my normal route.
It took a little while for me to remember the detour was there and ended up making U-turns the first several times on my way to town. The detour route was on a road that has a significantly slower speed limit than my normal route so it increased my drive time too.
This detour was a bit of an annoyance, but it really wasn’t that big of a deal. I really didn't want to take the detour, but in this situation I had two choices. I could chose to be frustrated at the situation, get upset and be irritated by the detour; or I could accept the detour and make the ride enjoyable for me and my kiddos. I chose to accept it, take it, and enjoy the ride.
Unfortunately, I have not taken this same approach to different area of life. If there is one thing that irritates me most, it's being sick or my husband and/or kiddos sick. I'm busy ya know?! I have plans, things that need to get done, things I want to do, and being sick or taking care of sick ones is going to mess all that up! The house chores will fall to the way side which means the house is going to become a complete wreck and I will mostly likely become totally stressed out. Ugh! Illness can be so frustrating! Can anyone else relate?
At the time the road construction was going near our home, my family had actually been sick on and off for several weeks. Thankfully, I managed to not get sick during that time, but emotionally I was down. I was tired and my patience was wearing thin. Being mom, wife, and nurse 24/7 to all members of the family is exhausting! Caring for my sick family stretches me beyond my capacity. This bout of illness though was different for me in that it brought awareness to my unhealthy attitude about sickness, really with life interruptions in general.
Here is what I discovered during this particular life interruption…
For some reason, I thought that the more areas of my life I can control, the better life will be. If no one ever gets sick, if all the chores are always complete, and if everything is in order and done efficiently, then life will be peaceful and abundant. Ha! Talk about wrong thinking.
Having this kind of expectation with life will leave us discouraged and defeated, which is exactly how I have been feeling for the last several weeks. There is no way anyone, especially one with little kids, can live up to these expectations, unless of course you have a nanny, personal chef, a housekeeper and maybe even a chauffeur. Not even close to realistic in my world nor for the majority of other people's world. Nor is it the answer to living a peaceful and abundant life.
When things don’t go the way I expect them to or have planned them too, I have a tendency to get upset internally and unfortunately, sometimes these emotions bubble over into angry towards others, specifically my hubby or our children. I can be short tempered with my loved ones, especially when I am overly tired. It isn’t their fault they are sick; they didn’t get sick on purpose. They certainly didn’t choose to get sick just so they could irritate me or make life difficult.
So how am I showing grace and love to them if I am taking out my frustration with sickness on them?? How am I glorifying God if I am caring for them with a hard heart and clinched teeth?? Plain and simple, I am not.
What I am doing is selfishly clinging to this idea that life fits in a perfectly size box during the midst of uncontrolled variables. I am making my ideals a hard and fast rule for life with no exceptions. This mentality is rooted in perfectionism and it is unhealthy. I believe ideals are good, but flexibility is a necessity.
Illness reminds me that life is not predictable, nor perfect. Illness reminds me that life cannot be controlled and that our bodies are fragile. It also reminds me we cannot do this thing called life on our own, nor were we meant to. We need help; we need the One who is in control of it all, Almighty God.
I read a book by a local pastor titled Addicted to Busy. I think it is an insightful read. Pastor Brady Boyd has logical interpretations about the cultural norms of today and brings a lot of things to light on the subject of ‘busyness’. The main idea is that our culture is so addicted to being “busy”, we don’t “have” or actually “make” time for rest, true rest—rest in God.
During this time of illness God has been telling me to “Let Go!”. To relinquish my obsession with control and perfection. He is telling me that I am focused on being “busy” instead of actually living in the present and enjoying the blessings around me.
He is telling me to acknowledge that sickness is going to happen. It is a detour from “normal” life and I have a choice of how I will approach it when it appears. I can either waste a lot of energy and make everyone’s lives, including my own, unpleasant by fighting against it or I can take the “detour” and make the ride for everyone involved as pleasant as possible. I didn’t realize I had been fighting so aggressively against the detour of sickness, but I do not want to make this choice any longer.
Do I really think that my reacting to illness this way would some how make illness magically disappear? Wow has my attitude been in the wrong place!
Illness can actually be an opportunity. This illness detour has given me an opportunity to stop, to retreat from the world, and to evaluate how I handle unexpected circumstances, such as sickness. It has also given me a chance to evaluate how me and my family spend our time. I have actually been thinking about this idea of rest for a while now, but this recent bout of sickness has given me even more understanding on the subject.
When we stop trying to control our lives and let God be our Conductor we will find peace. When we acknowledge circumstances for what they are we can gain a better perspective. When we rest in God, we find peace. A peace that passes all understanding.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV
Hubby and I are working on changing our family’s way of life to be less hectic, less “busy”. We want us to slow down, live more calmly and MAKE time to ‘rest’ in God on a regular basis. We are not to rest only when we get sick; but I think God sometimes uses things like sickness to help give us a little push in the right direction. Some of us more stubborn types need that extra push.
Side note: I actually began to like going down the road that was the detour road and now it's my "normal" route.
Peace be with you
My hubby can not stand going to the grocery store. It is one of his least favorite things to do. Any time we are out together and I mention the grocery store his face scrunches up and his shoulders drop. I on the other hand, like to go grocery shopping. I am pretty picky about food, especially produce, so when it comes to grocery shopping I really prefer to go.
Although I enjoy grocery shopping, I do not like to go often.
Going grocery shopping takes time, especially when one or two
of my young boys are with me; it can eat up a chunk of our day.
Last year life got a bit out of control and we got lazy with our money. We were not consistent with doing a budget and I got lazy with
I was shopping sporadically and usually showing up at the store with a 'sort of' list in my head of what we needed.
I don’t know how many times I have gone to the store for “just a few things” and come out with a whole lot more than we needed.
On top of that, we ate out way too much, threw a lot of food away, and…blew any kind of pseudo food budget we were trying to maintain. Being a household of one income means we really have to be purposeful with our money; otherwise it disappears fast!
Hubby and I recently started going through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University again. (We took it 7 years ago and really need a refresher!) I am so glad we are in the course again and getting back on track. To find out more about FPU click here.
After evaluating where our money has been going, we discovered that I have not been as in control of the grocery shopping spending as I thought I was. I realize now that have been putting unnecessary strain on our lives because I have not been diligent when doing the meal planning or household shopping.
Are any of you like me? You get to the cashier at the grocery store and they ask, “Did you find everything you were looking for?” You glance at your items on the conveyor belt and say, “Yes, and then some!?” I don’t know how many times I have gone to the store for “just a few things” and come out with a whole lot more.
I realize now that if I walk in unprepared, my inner child takes over and I am drawn to the “shiny” stuff. I get sucked in to the ‘Deals’ and can end up putting way more in the cart than we actually need. They can actually be great deals, but maybe not for our family at that particular time. As the old saying goes, 'You go broke saving money'.
I personally am not disciplined enough to stay away from the deals and “Buys of the Day” unless I have a plan. Going into a store without a shopping list is like going into battle without your shield. You are going to get hit and hit hard! So don't get hit, be prepared and have your ever so vital shopping list!
In order to get back on track with a budget, having a shopping list is a big help. Hubby and I are Mac users and we use the Reminder app that is built into the devices. We also have iPhones, so this app syncs automatically between the two. You can create as many “Reminders” as you want. We have a ‘Grocery List’ reminder and a 'Costco' reminder. It's great because can both edit the list as needed.
As the old saying goes, 'You can go broke saving money'.
I am sure there are lots of different types of list apps available. You can use any kind of list. Find what works for you. In fact, old-fashioned paper lists work great too! Who knew!?
The point is…MAKE A LIST! I promise it will help you stay on track. It is not only like a friend there saying, “No, don’t buy that right now. It's not on your list.” You can also use it to tell your little tikes, “Sorry sweetie, we can’t buy this or that because it’s not on our list today.”
I know life is busy. It gets crazy. But we can either let the chaos control us, or figure out ways to remove chaos from our lives. I choosing the later.
The preferred place to make your shopping list at home. You can see what you have and what you don't have and create your list accordingly. But this isn't always possible.
Sometimes you end up going to the store and you haven't had a chance to make a list at home. When this happens, and you arrive at the grocery store without a list. Before you even get out of your car, I encourage you to take the few minutes, and make a list. Take the information regarding what you think you need to buy out of your head and put it somewhere else. In an app, on paper, on the back of your kid’s homework, even on your paper coffee cup. I doesn’t matter how you do it, you just need to make a list.
Let's stay on track with our food budgets and guard ourselves against those "Buys of the Week" arrows. I hope this helps you in some way today.
Do you make a shopping list? What type of medium do you use? Let us know in the Comments below.
On Sunday the Pastor of our church, Pastor Boyd, shared a very heartfelt message, a personal message, a message that really spoke to me...the message was one that made me feel a bit silly, and a bit ashamed really because I had been there too. Just recently in fact.
Pastor Boyd spoke about how just that past week he was feeling down about himself. He called the situation he felt, "Death by a thousand paper cuts." And then he shared how he began to throw his 'party of 1'...a pity party.
Have you ever done it? Thrown yourself a pity party??
I have. You see Pastor Boyd's message spoke very loudly to me because I was just there. Feeling very similar to how he felt. Feeling down, a little depressed, and having a silly and destructive pity party.
It can happen so easily. A few things might go wrong with household stuff, the kids might not be minding as well as I think they should, the house is an utter mess from the busyness of summer time.
...and then it happens.
I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, down, and I begin to focus on all the things that are "wrong" in my life. I begin to worry about what will happen next. And in this moment I lose focus on what is important.
The underlying theme of Pastor Boyd's message was focus. Life can get tough, no doubt about it. But are we going to let our emotions control our attitude and allow us to take our focus off God?
During the message we looked at several passages from the Apostle Paul's letter to the believers in Philippi. There were several verses that jumped off the page to me and so yesterday morning I spent time reading through the entire book of Philippians. This letter Paul wrote is so encouraging for believers.
I struggle a great deal with fear. Unfortunately, fear invites itself into my life far too often. But Paul reminds us to have confidence that Christ Jesus will complete the work He started in us. Paul writes, "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6
Satan would love nothing more than for us to cower down and hide. To let the 'things' of this world get us down and for us to lose focus, to let go of the confidence we have in Jesus. But we must not give in.
I just, like Paul, want to encourage you...
Focus on the one who gives strength and confidence to face each day. You are special to Jesus and He has a purpose for your life. He will complete the work he started in you, but you have to be willing and available.
What about you? Where is your focus today? Are you letting life's circumstances steal your confidence or are you focusing on God?
Happy Freedom Friday! I am back highlighting the Principles of Liberty and today we are on #7: 'The proper role of government is to protect equal rights, not provide equal things.'
It just amazes me how American society and our political ruling class has gotten this principle completely twisted. It seems there are many double standards when it comes to "equal rights". I don't even know if most people know what true "equal rights" means???
Our American culture has become so wrapped up in materialism; and sadly, there are many people who value things more than they do people. Many in our society have become slaves to material things. And this breeds a warped measure of how to value one's self. Personal value is then measured by how much "stuff" one has. Ideology likes this results in culture of entitlement and confusion about personal rights.
True personal worth is not measured by things, but by the One who created us. Two Scriptures come to my mind to help understand how valuable we are to God and much our lives are worth.
Luke 12:24 - Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Our Founding Fathers knew these scriptures and knew where true value of people comes from. They also knew that government's role should be to protect people's rights. A right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...freedom of speech, religion, and right to bear arms. These are the kinds of rights we need our government to protect.
Let's ponder principle #7 today and consider what the Founding Fathers intended for our government in America.
Have a wonderful day!
Please share any thoughts you have about this Principle of Liberty. Thank you.
I decided to take a break this week from the Principles of Liberty in order to give full attention to America's Independence Day holiday. I want to wish everyone a safe and fun holiday weekend. May we remember that we are truly blessed by the freedom that was fought for and won so many years ago and for all the brave men and women of America who continue to sacrifice to keep us free!
Hi! My name is Mandy Jo.
Thanks for visiting my blog! Being a mom in this modern age is a blessing, but no cake walk. So many expectations are imposed on us and it can be overwhelming and often discouraging.