Do you ever wonder if God gets a little giggle out of those moments that make us smack our foreheads? Like right now... as I sit down to grudgingly write after throwing myself a little pity party about how life is hard right now. Homeschooling? Homeschooling is hard. Cleaning? Yeah, making myself do the dishes is pretty hard, too. Ha! I am tired and disgruntled today. I would much rather whine about wishing I could call in sick to my life tomorrow than write anything. And then... then I see I am supposed to be writing about counting my blessings and saying prayers of thanks today. Good one, God! Yeah, He made me giggle at the absurdity of my attitude. Excuse me while I take a few deep breaths and find some measure of focus...
Really, when I get to this part of my journey I am once again just sharing what someone else created that impacted my walk with God. I could keep this post super short and just send you on over to the website with the details. However, I feel like there is a reason this topic made it onto my list, and a reason it is one my list for this very day.
I was just thinking of how I have been going to bed every night beating myself up because I feel like a bad mom. We are not having a great homeschool week, and so I feel like all I am doing all day every day is nagging my child and being frustrated. Then every night I go to bed thinking that the next day will be different. I will be more patient, more attentive, more fun. I will find moments of joy instead of just trying to survive another day. And yet (surely this won't surprise anyone) I wake up the next morning and after a burst of positivity while studying my Bible the actual work of the day begins and by lunch I am a frustrated mess again.
I could say that tonight my epiphany was that if I just started counting gifts and being more thankful my problems would all be solved. What I actually found myself thinking is far from that statement. Instead I thought about this 31 day writing challenge and how I didn't want to fail. Then I thought about how every. single. time. I have started a gratitude journal or Joy Dare challenge I have failed. And THEN I thought about how absurd that is. Every time I have started one of those challenges I have spent more time being thankful and expressing that gratitude to God. Yeah, it usually tapers off and I miss some days and then quit because if I can't be perfect I don't want to do it. Before we even acknowledge how much work I need there, though, let's just focus on the fact that starting any challenge and doing good things for part of the goal time is still doing good things.
If I am counting my blessings so that I can feel good about completing a challenge then I am totally missing the point. Do I need to keep coming back to things like this that motivate me to do good things? Sure. It works for me... for a while. Do I need to stop giving up every time I "fail" to be perfect? Oh good grief, YES! It is another heart check thing... what is my motivation and how can I keep it pure? This question is one that I am sure I will need to occasionally ask throughout my life. I am human, after all.
So, NOW I will send you over to Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare page. Why do I like this particular resource?
- I do truly believe that cultivating gratitude has a dramatic impact on both my relationship with my Heavenly Father and my life here on earth.
- I love being challenged to think deeper than the surface blessings that make it on to the list that is shared around the table at thanksgiving.
- I like being told exactly what to do with things like this, so her system makes me happy.
- I enjoy having a sense of community with other women doing the same thing, and when I do this with friends I always end up seeing the world in different ways!
It is good stuff. As long as I remember why I am doing it. I want to spend more time thanking God, and less time complaining and focusing on trivial things. I know God wants to hear both the good and the bad, but it is so much easier to focus on the bad! This isn't about being perfect. It isn't about what listing 3 things every day will look like or accomplish. It is about developing a natural rhythm in my prayer relationship with my Heavenly Father. One that is a little less about me and what I want, and a little more about Him and what He has done. Baby steps... baby steps.
(Oh, and that part about how I am good until my morning quiet time "wears off" and am a mess by lunch? Go read this post ---> Lopsided Living Requires Loving God Most Good, good stuff from another #write31days blogger!)