Monday, January 25, 2010

I CHOOSE JOY
Somewhere along the way of giving birth to four little boys, I became an angry person.
Or maybe I always was angry but never had circumstances to bring it out.
At any rate, it is here in my heart and it shows itself in the most unbecoming ways.
It shows in the sharp edge of my tone, when I answer the same question from my two-year old for the tenth time in as many minutes. It shows when I close the door just a little harder than necessary, to make sure the boys know I am not happy about the way they are carrying on. And if you could read my mind, it would be obvious in the fuming thoughts that tumble around in my brain...angry that I am tripping over my husband's shoes, that the kids are bickering, that the laundry is piling up, etc., etc., etc.
It doesn't really matter what it is that has makes me angry so much as why. And the why is because I am not getting what I want. What I want is a house that is always clean, with children that never fight and a husband that always picks up after himself. That probably won't be a reality any time soon, so I have two choices.
1. I can continue to be angry, contaminating the energy of our home and making everyone miserable -or-
2. I can change my perspective.
My husband may or may not start putting his shoes away. In the meantime, I can be thankful that I have a husband who is a hard worker, a loving husband, and a kind father. If he wants to take his shoes off in the dining room, it is a simple thing for me to put them away for him and takes a lot less energy to carry them to the closet when I am heading to the bedroom anyway, than to berate him and feel frustrated that "I have to do everything around here".
Instead of being angry that my two-year old talks non stop, I can be thankful that all my children are healthy and that I am able to be with them all day to answer their questions.

In 2010, I want to adopt the practice of putting off my negative, angry thoughts and replacing them with thankful, happy thoughts. I am going to deliberately and consistently change my thought patterns, through prayer and my husband's encouragement, and doing it again and again and again. I know how powerful our thoughts are to shape our reality. I experience it first hand when running. When I am running, and am tired and ready to quit, my body follows my thoughts...if I think "I am so tired, there is no way I can run another mile" then I guarantee you, I will turn home early. But if I consciously think to myself "I am not tired. I could run all day. This is easy" then almost magically, my footsteps get lighter and I feel a rush of energy. It is the craziest thing!

I am going to start meeting weekly with a woman counselor at our church. I am so excited! I love counseling. It is kind of like scratching an itch. It is uncomfortable but feels so good at the same time. My husband does marriage counseling and I often tell him that I wish I could go for counseling. I asked last night, and she said she had an opening and could start meeting with me!! I am looking forward to the accountability, looking at myself honestly, answering hard questions, and growing and maturing. I may or may not be able to change my circumstances but I can change the way I respond to them.

This year, my word is JOY and I am looking for it everywhere.

31 comments:

  1. way to go, Laurel. this is such a wise thoughtful post. i struggle with anger too and pray for the Holy Spirit to bear the fruit of self-control in my life in that area.
    Can't wait to hear about all the good stuff you learn with the counselor...please pass it on!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It happens to those of us with fewer children & jobs outside the home too, so it's not just you!! I think it's simply part of being the female head of housekeeping. We see the shoes; nobody else does. We see the need to do laundry/change sheets; nobody else does. We bring the folded laundry into the bedrooms if we're walking that way; nobody else does (can you tell what my peeves are?)

    If Donna Reed really was that happy, she must have been sneaking a cocktail by mid afternoon. If you find that there's an "answer", let us know :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. laurel,
    i always had a cross stitch by my back door- Come in sit down converse my house doesn't always look lit this sometimes its worse.
    my kids were always first. i have just always taken my me time late at night. going to be 12 or later. i found out a long time ago to say NO. to outside requests. it doesn't bother me at all. if it benefits my family i'll say yes. if i have free time and it benefits me i'll say yes. getting sick 13 years ago was a reminder to get my prioritys right. if you are always at home and don'e have a support group of girl friends it seems to allow you to hold things in. make time for friends in addition to time with hubby. al;ow yourseld to get mad. then get over it. don't hold it in. i continue to be the person to do everything. it just started out that way with dale in school and then working all the time. for the most part i'm okay with it. Good luck with it. but enjoy it. this weekend will be the first time in 3 years we have all been together. i had one at home for thanksgiving. preston hasn't been home for christmas in 6 years. so enjoy. do what you can do and its okay to not be a supermom.(sorry it was so long)
    love janet

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post. Really inspiring :)

    Thank you and good luck with your journey. I'm saying a prayer for you right now.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I enjoyed reading this post so much because I can Empathize!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am eager to find out how the counseling goes...I would love to do that, but I'm afraid of what they might say ;/...I guess I'm worried that I'm more screwed up than I thought!! HA! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. you are not alone. i feel like i'm two different people lately. i'm so frustrated and angry, acting bitter sometimes and coldly toward my husband and small children. but then i catch myself and i'm trying harder, super-sweet, so guilty for my behavior. but it's not resolved. i have to remind myself to make that same decision and chose gratitude instead of disappointment. it's not easy, chickie. i really enjoyed this post.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Good post. It's a good reminder that we and not our circumstances determine our response to what happens to us. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous11:05 PM

    Sometimes I think anger is an appropriate response. I have quite a temper on me and seldom keep my feelings to myself so I can undertand the desire to control your personal responses - especially when it feels like anger is clouding your ability to prioritize or be appreciative. But on occasion getting good and mad isn't a bad thing I think. Every now & again the steam emitting from my ears is a wake up call to the other 3 people who live in our home. It helps remind them that I'm not a slave nor am I waitress or a maid. Just as much as I believe in "shaking the sugar tree", I believe in a not so gentle reminder to loved ones that they can get up, pick up & shut up! They're ALL healthy and able and it might help them to practice a little gratitude as well. That might not be the gentlest response to my circumstances but sometimes it just feels great! You're so much sweeter and kinder than I am. If you think you're angry I can't imagine what you'd think if you came to my house when I had a meltdown. Bless you and your patient heart...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Laurel--I think it is awesome you recognized the anger in yourself and now are taking steps to control it--with the help of the Holy Spirit--(the *only* way you can control it!) Counseling is a wonderful thing--I hope it helps you immensely.
    Over the past 6 mos I have been meditating on Phil 4:4-8 and it has really helped me be so gracious and thankful and also change my thought patterns. I encourage you to memorize that verse or at least post it above your kitchen sink. The power of the Word is amazing. love to you.....andrea

    ReplyDelete
  11. I feel you summed up my continuous thoughts as well. I never thought about myself as an angry person, but I guess if I am walking around having those negative thoughts then that is being angry! I love your word of the year!!!! I am so proud of you for recognizing this cause that is half the battle. Thanks for such an insightful post. love you girl!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous3:26 PM

    The stress of having so many so little takes a toll. I know how it is! I have 4 under 8 and at one time I had 4 under 4! It tries every FIBER of your being sometimes. Don't criticize yourself and just focus on what you can do at this moment, not what has to be done in the next. I applaud you for realizing you need a little help working through it. We appreciate your honesty! Praying for you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You are not alone. I agree there are so many hard things about infants that I forget until I have another one (my son was born right at the time as your number 4). For instance, I totally forgot about how horrible driving in the car with a screaming baby is or how frustrating it is to be barfed on so many times you run out of clean clothes for yourself. But I also remind myself that I am not (in my case) working part time out of the home (rather than full time) so that I can clean house, it is so I can spend time with my children. Letting go of the idea of a perfectly put together is important sometimes. I also find that on the nights when I get woken up two, three, four times are when things look the worst the next day. Remember, sleep deprivation is a form of torture.
    BTW, love the pantry challenge!

    ReplyDelete
  14. good to know that i'm not the only one who feels this way. you've encouraged me to try to change my perspective. i heard someone on the radio the other day say "we should strive for excellence not perfection" and that's what i do most of the time - seek perfection. i get frustrated and angry when that's not achieved (which is 99.9% of the time). i find perfection in the blessings God has given me.
    thanks for you post!

    ReplyDelete
  15. gosh laurel, i read it. will tell you thoughts privately. don't want to have to qualify. love.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh my goodness...... I could have totally written this post. I understand every thought and feeling in your words. I too have decided in the midst of my anger and frustrations to just be thankful.
    Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for this post.

    ReplyDelete
  17. love u and sad i missed u this weekend... liked reading your post.

    ReplyDelete
  18. laurel, this post just reminds me of how awesome you are. every single thing is just amazing. you are so inspirational. you have inpired me to analyze my anger issues. excellent post.

    ReplyDelete
  19. What an awesome post. Just what I needed to read!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous1:00 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous5:31 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous9:57 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous4:45 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anonymous2:16 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous5:44 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous9:57 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anonymous3:57 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Anonymous7:38 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Anonymous6:05 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Anonymous6:52 PM

    I am not so scintillating to be well-qualified to give words to cool stuff like you do but I am trying to pay it back so hoepfully this will pass you a bright smile or make you belly laugh or at the very least give you a thought for the day? :

    Horn Broken Watch for Finger



    http://timtang.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=4525;sa=summary

    ReplyDelete