Disclaimer #1: I realize that I was a teensy bit stressed with my rodent issue during my last post. You truly deserve an upbeat, life is PERFECT message for this happy month of July, but I'm writing this when I'm a tad bit peevish.
Disclaimer #2: I also realize that sarcasm is a very low level of humor, and can be offensive to some. If you dislike sarcasm, skip the bits that are italicized. Otherwise you might not like me anymore, and that would make me very sad. You can skip over the italicized words, and just get straight to the part when I tell you what (by the grace of God) can get us out of a funk of a mood.
Here we go….
So. I'm on vacation. And I'm re-learning a little discussed fact that I seem to forget every year; vacation for a mama is not the same as vacation all by one's self. Because let's be honest, most of the home duties don't go away. People still want to eat (every single meal, it seems), the house still gets dirty, and laundry just might possibly INCREASE, if that is even possible.
We made the monumental trip north from Florida to Maine, a mere twenty-nine hour drive. We experienced “joy in the journey” because the I 95 is so scenic and scintillating. There was a brief low point when the only restroom we could find had a sign that read, “Don't put the toilet paper in the toilet, please use the garbage can.” (I'm not being sarcastic- that's truly what it said). But that quickly faded in our memory when we had the pleasure of a slight detour to the emergency room in Virginia to treat Bobby's broken wrist. It was nicely timed in the middle of the travels, so it provided a lovely break for all. Charlotte especially enjoyed her time at the hospital, since she would normally be in bed at 11 p.m. It was a special treat for her.
This morning, I've been changing toilet paper rolls (FYI- that is HARD WORK for the person who used the last square, and I do not want anyone in my family to expend unnecessary energy while they are vacationing). If you are about to write to me to tell me that my kids will never learn if I keep doing these things for them, I will heartily agree. But here's the problem, by the time I find them to tell them, I've forgotten what I needed to say. Then one of us winds up in the bathroom having a crisis because there's no paper. I've also been doing copious amounts of laundry (current count: I will be caught up if I do twelve loads today), and cleaning the remains of Charlotte's diaper off the carpeted stairs (you truly do not want the details of that story). In my spare moments, I am attempting to finish a book that should be inspiring me in my vocation as a mother, but it's actually making me a wee bit grumpy.
The truth is, I don't really want to be inspired to do more and be better. I know I'm supposed to be content and just be happy that we can afford to go on a vacation. I'm aware of all the things I should be thinking, feeling, and saying, but what I really want is for Alice from the Brady Bunch to appear downstairs, offering her services for free for as long as I desire a relaxing break.
Serving when you don't feel like it isn't just a challenge during a summer vacation. A spirit of discontentment can crop up any time of year. I don't know what gets you grumpy- maybe it's feeling taken advantage of, or being exhausted, or having too many challenges with no let up. Whatever your unique circumstances are, there's probably going to be a point this summer when you don't want advice, but you do need an attitude transformation. So here's what I'm going to do today to kick my complaining heart to the curb and embrace the present circumstances that God's ordained for me; maybe this will work for you on one of your down days. I'm going to blast some good for my soul music.
Nothing snaps me out of a crabby mood like fabulous soul music. These are my current mood altering favorites- my go-to playlist:
This is how I press on when I'm feeling grumpy, and it's how I get over writer's block when I'm writing talks and Bible studies. In fact, if you pop over to the WWP website under courses, you'll find the playlists that I listened to when I wrote each course. Check it out! You might find some new favorites of your own.
For whatever reason, I can receive truth in the form of music better than I receive it when someone tells me how I'm supposed to be behaving. Music softens my heart, and gets me to a point where Scripture and God's voice can get through to me. Once my heart is softened, God can talk with me about my expectations, and about how if I enter each day with the expectation that I'll be comfortable or that all my desires will be satisfied (or at least a bunch of them), I just might possibly get disappointed. By contrast, if I'll start my day remembering that authentic love is very often uncomfortable, that my holiness is measured- not by perfection- but by how I love, and that true love is displayed through self-giving, things go a lot more smoothly.
I'm writing this while listening to my playlist, and do you know what? I already feel better. Time to prepare a picnic…
With you in the trenches of serving those we love!