July 5, 2012

coping with crazy

I gave up on keeping up with photos of our vacation. You're not missing much, trust me.

Today I have a question, but not necessarily an answer. Before I ask the question, let's chat.

Today, I tried something new. The kids were whining. The baby needed a bottle, the toddler was hungry, and both could use a nap. I was at my wit's end trying to stay pleasant. Have you ever been here? If you are a parent, I'm guessing the answer is a resounding "yes." I have been struggling with impatience for some time, but since beginning "Parenting by the Spirit" I have been realizing that it's not a kid problem, it's a mama problem. So, little by little I have been trying to, for lack of a less cheesy term, let go and let God. Today every time (emmm, ok, maybe not EVERY time) I felt impatient I asked God to chance my feelings and thoughts to pleasant feelings and thoughts. Oddly enough, it worked. I'm not certain yet, because I'm dense and have to try every option before making a decision, but I think I'm on to something here.

God is so many things to me. He can be so many more things if only I'd let Him. Today I tried letting Him be the filter for my thoughts and attitudes. He loves it when we give Him our stuff. Like crappy thoughts and frustrated feelings. He loves to be a fire that refines them, and then gives them back to us good as new. So many times, I give Him my stuff, but then I take it back before He can cleanse it. Then I'm mad at God for not fixing it.

I'm learning that so many things, like thoughts, need to be put on a leash. I'm not a "leash" using mama, because I don't have kids that need them, but I totally understand why parents do use them. Kids can be fast, and before you know it, they are half way through Target hiding in a rack of discount pants. Thoughts are pretty much the same. They move quickly. They go where we might not intend for them to end up, but then they get there, and kind of like a toddler in hiding, thoughts can be hard to get back to a good place. I have fished my fair share of toddler out of clothing racks, if you were wondering.

Learning to keep our thoughts in check is hard. At least it is for me. Here are a few thought processes gone wrong that I tend to have on repeat:
1. Husband took kids to park. It's getting late. They are still not home. Why might they be late? They could just be playing. Or, maybe they are walking home. Maybe Millie fell. Maybe when she fell a car hit her. Does Hubs have his phone? What if he doesn't? The battery could be dead. Or maybe he's too busy on the line with 911 to call me. What if the car hit all of them? Oh Good Lord...
2. Finally, the kids are napping. I'll just sit down and look on Pinterest until 1:00. Oh, it's already 1? I meant 1:30. 1:30 rolls around. The laundry is calling my name. But I'm really tired... I meant 1:45, really... and before I know it I hear the door open upstairs (because toddlers just magically make everything louder, like opening doors).
3. The kids wake up whining. Both of them. I'm trying to soothe them, but nothing works, so I go in the kitchen to make a bottle. They follow. Whining at me. The small one hangs on my leg, hindering me from moving around the kitchen. The big one tries to find something interesting in her grabbing radius. Then the small one falls over. And cries harder. So the big one looks to see, hitting her head on the counter. And cries harder. Meanwhile, I'm mentally cursing whoever put our hot water heater so flipping far away from the faucet and trying to locate the formula, while mentally screaming at my screaming children to shut up for one minute so mama can think. About anything. Outwardly I am getting grumbly, because I've been thinking about wanting to scream. When the kids continue, I find my self saying dumb things like, "I need you to be quiet now. Do you want a time out? Be quiet please."

All 3 of these "made up" situations all actually happened. Today. It was one of "those" kinds of days. But, in the morning when I felt like screaming, I stopped myself and realized my thoughts were really crappy. So I gave them to God, and asked Him to replace them with clean thoughts. I didn't take them back. I just silently prayed and got the kids what they needed, and what do you know - once I stopped thinking negative thoughts, my negative attitude changed too. Could I really be on to something?

So, on to some questions. What do you do to change your negative thoughts? Do you take your stuff back from God before it's finished? I would love to hear some coping-with-crazy tactics. What's your thought changer?

I can picture God up in Heaven shaking His head at me because it's taken me this long to figure this out. Slowly but surely, right?
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