I lowered myself onto the brown couch that gently hugs you as you sink into it. I once again picked up my computer, hoping that this time I could stay seated. I couldn’t believe this was the third time this morning that I sat down attempting to finish off my computer to do list that I had started earlier in the peace and quite only an early morning can bring. I was so close to finishing, and I grabbed the computer eager to bring the job to completion. Seconds after my fingers began pounding away, a demanding two-year voice declared, “Bring me my wa wa!”
Frustration welled up inside me. Frustration over the tone and demanding voice of my two-year-old. Frustration over not being able to finish up the last piece of my to-do list. Frustration that I had forgot to get the water before I sat down. Really…. I know my children. A request for water IS GOING to come if it is not by their plate during meal time.
Instead of gently correcting my sweet girl, and having her repeat her question in a more respectful tone, I marched into the kitchen grumbling and complaining the whole way.
I sure things like, “I’m not the maid around here,” came out of my mouth as I grabbed a cup and filled it with the requested water. With that need satisfied, I sank to the couch one more time finally able to finish that so important to do list.
The frustrated response was soon forgotten once we started our day, but it came back to haunt me later that night.
I CHOOSE JOY
The water filled the bathroom with steam and I allowed the heat to begin to relax my tired body. I grabbed the book called The Fruitful Wife, and began to read. The words brought me back to my temper tantrum that morning, and delivered conviction to my heart. I reread the words once again, allowing them to penetrate.
While I felt it was honest to show my exasperation and fatigue, I started to see the benefits of maintaining a smile over a frown..of having a genuinely joyful face over a sullen or tired one, and I set out to change immediately.
This wasn’t putting on a happy face, but maintaining a mindfulness of all that God has done…..Even when outside forces told me I should be sullen or sad, I still found a reason to smile. (By Hayley DiMarco from The Fruitful Wife)
LIFE IS HARD
As I pondered the words, a precious family came to mind. Their husband and father has recently passed from a horrible disease. A once healthy man spent his last months slumped over in a wheelchair and hooked up to a breathing machine. As this family has watched their loved one deteriorate, their facebook posts have consistently portrayed a word…JOY. Yes, they hurt. Yes, they wish things had developed differently. But through all that, they have chosen joy.
And if you think it is a brave face put on facebook, that isn’t the case either. They have found reasons to smile, and when you run into any member of their family they have gracious and genuine smiles on their faces.
I pray that one day my family can have the same attitude of joy, but I know that my children learn from example. If I want a joyful family, I have to be a joyful person.
MY STRATEGIES FOR CHOOSING JOY
God word says that apart from Him we can do nothing. I know that I can not force joy into my life, or transform into a joyful person by trying hard. I need to rely on the Holy Spirit to work in my life, allow him to calm my frustrations. The only way to have true joy in my life is to have a spirit of prayer as I go about my day. To offer up a prayer as the frustrations that come when little grievances threaten to take away my smile.
2. Scripture memorization
Did you know that there are over 150 verse in the Bible about joy? I’ve chosen 6 that I want to learn and have written them on postcards to keep in the house and car. As I go about my day I now have a sharp sword to fight unjoyfulness in me and my children.
You can find your own verse by using Crosswalk, or you can download the once I choose at the bottom of the post.
3. Changing a wrong response to the right one
Wrong responses do happen when frustration hits, and a certain reaction can become a habit. I want to break those unjoyful , ungrateful, and often angry responses. To do this, I’m correcting my response. When I responded in a way that does not honor God, and the conviction hits, I’m stopping and repeating my response in a way that does honor God. Sometimes I repeat the correct response numerous times, giving me a chance to calm down. Not only does this help me to practice a joyful response, but my children are seeing and hearing the correct way to behave.
4. Finding things I’m grateful for every day and verbalizing them
God has blessed me in so many ways. I have for beautiful, healthy children that I get to stay home with. I have a home with air condition, running water, and electricity. I have a running vehicle that gets us to a wonderful church filled with special relationships. And that is only the tip of the ice burg. I could go on and on. Even it all that was taken away, I still have a loving Savior who loved me enough to die fo me so that I can spend eternity with him. So this week, when life’s annoyance seem to surround, instead of focusing on them I will choose to focus on my blessings.
I’ve even begun to try this out with my kiddos. When they get mad at each other, or they are pitching a fit at some minor grievance I’m asking simple questions.
“Tell me something you really like about your sister.”
“I know you can’t have this toy right now, but can you come up with something to be grateful for.”
Obviously, my two-year-olds aren’t able to respond much, but I have started listing off what I think are good responses. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. I am hoping though that it instills a valuable lesson in them. We don’t need to be focusing on the bad in our life, but the good.
And with all that said, I now have choices to make.
After we finish a day of school, and the toddlers have pulled out every toy.
I will choose joy.
When my two year doesn’t like his cup, and then won’t let his brother sit next to him, and then poops on the floor, and then takes a toy from his sister causing her to scream, and then pitches his own temper tantrum because we didn’t turn the right way on the road….. all in a five minute period…
I will pray, apply some grounding blend to both of us, pray some more…and choose joy.
When I feel unappreciated.
I will choose joy.
When life throws curve balls I don’t want or when my goals and dreams look hopeless…
I will choose joy.
What about you? When frustrations hit today, what will be your choice? I would love to hear how you choose joy in your life.
You’ve Got This…but only through the Holy Spirit.
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