It has been awhile.
How long has it been since I last wrote? A month? Two months? Even more?
Regardless of how long I’ve been away from writing, the good news is that I am back (insert smiley face emoji)!!! The end of the first quarter is winding down, and I am able to take a momentary break from lecturing on Romantic poetry and literary devices in short stories to instead write a bit about the newest lesson God is teaching me.
And what a lesson it is.
I started off the school year determined. I was refreshed from spending a summer lounging around with the little guy (no agenda to adhere to–yay!), while big sister had fun swimming, reading, cooking, and drawing at summer school. My days consisted of dozing off on the living room carpet for an afternoon nap, creating freshly made breakfasts for the kids, and reading my favorite Bible passages in the early mornings. I was calm. I was relaxed. I was so relaxed, in fact, that I didn’t even need to set my alarm to wake up in the morning. I sufficed on half a cup of coffee a day. HALF A CUP.
Life was grand.
So when the first week of school got underway, I was pretty confident in my ability to maintain balance with my work life, home duties, spiritual walk, and powerlifting training.
Lets just say, by the end of the first month of school, I was back to chugging down two to three cups of coffee a day and begrudgingly hitting the “5 more minutes” button on my phone alarm. It wasn’t that I was necessarily too busy or physically tired to keep on going–I still refrained from checking work emails at home, and I still made sure to get to bed when the kids were tucked in–but it was a spiritual feeling of tiredness. I read my Bible daily and continued to pray to God during those times when I was in need of comfort, but it felt like there was something missing. My eyes glazed over passages, and it sometimes took me rereading the same scripture three times before I finally knew what the author was saying. Something was missing. Only after a chapel talk a few weeks ago (thank you, Mrs. Sim for the wonderful message!) did I realize what that missing “thing” was.
I was not thanking God for the richness and life He blessed me with, but instead I was resigning myself to complaining about all the things that WEREN’T going well: the student that didn’t turn in his homework, the car that cut me off on the freeway, the aches and pains my body experienced from training with a new powerlifting coach.
Complaining. Grumbling. Whatever you want to call it, I was doing it. Every. Single. Day. My negative outlook got so bad that at one point I woke up in the wee hours of the morning and my first thought was, “Dang. It’s so hot. I’m sweating. How can it be so hot when it’s already September?!”
Even the beautiful environment outside–who could say anything bad about the vibrant indigo sunrise and chirping birds outside my window?–couldn’t deter my negative attitude. Rather than thanking God that He provided a sunny day versus one wracked with wind, rain, or hail, I had to rant about the fact that my skin felt sticky from sweat.
That morning God showed me how that negative outlook, the whining and complaining I was doing, was causing my spiritual blinders to be put up–and if I wanted those eye shields down and my walk with him to strengthen, I needed to stop and see the goodness He was placing right in front of me.
I tried to justify my rants and raves with the idea that “I just need to get this off my chest! It’ll be ok after I do!” That may be a totally justifiable statement, but the danger occurred when I would complain to a co-worker about the crazy comments my students gave about an upcoming homework task, BUT THEN NEVER RESOLVE THE ISSUE. I still continued to fume over the situation on the way home, complaining once again to my husband and then moaning to friends via text messages. The negativity did not end when it should have.
No wonder I felt constantly exhausted.
And so I made a vow a few weeks ago, a promise that for one day (just one day!) to speak life to a person or situation when I would normally be tempted to complain. Needless to say, I have yet to go a full day without saying one negative comment. Yes, moment of honesty in effect. Although I am still apt to sprout out my frustrations in the moment without fully thinking about what I’m truly irritated about (Was it the comment from a colleague that enraged me? Or the fact that I felt like I was being misunderstood?), the amount of times I have automatically grabbed my phone to shoot my husband a “I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS JUST HAPPENED!!!” text has greatly diminished.
In fact, so far today, I’ve gone without any negative comment coming out of my mouth.
I am excited to have this day, September 22, 2017, be the first day in a looong time when I have sought God’s peace and presence first before letting the signs of complaining and negativity exit my mouth. Who knows what the rest of this day holds? One thing is for sure–I will keep you updated on this situation (and many more situations!) in the upcoming weeks, and I will continue detailing how God is continually shaping and molding me by His freeing faith.