It is sooo easy to get frustrated and take it out on those we love. We let all these little things build up until that final straw hits the pile. The final straw can be something as small as the laundry not getting done or dishes on the counter or shoes in the walkway. When we feel buried by that straw pile, there are two things to remember that I learned growing up and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt retaught me:
1. I can get through ten seconds.
If I take ten seconds to think about my reaction, I become more intentional. All I need is ten seconds to breathe and think. If I can get through ten seconds, then the next ten will be easier, then the next ten will be easier. I just need ten seconds to breathe. On Pinterest there is quote that says: “no matter the situation, never let your emotions overpower your intelligence.” There is another one that says: “how beautiful it is to stay silent when someone expects you to be enraged.” I am not ruled by my emotions. I am not controlled by my emotions. I need to take those ten seconds and repeat to myself: I am an intelligent, intentional, beautiful human being whose God is in control.
2. I can’t just Febreze the surface problem.
The little stuff always points to the big stuff. I have to look at the bigger picture and fix the inside problem first. That last straw is not the problem. I cannot spray Febreze on the surface without cleaning out what made the smell in the first place. Spraying Febreze on my stinkin thinkin will not magically solve my problems. I cannot control the things around me, but I can always control my reaction to them. Back to those wonderful Pinterest quotes: “You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel. Remember that.”
Ok. Story time. When my little brother, who is my world btdubbs, was reallyyyy young, and would have a bad day, he would come home crying and fussing about the smallest things and my parents had to learn that he was struggling with stuff at school and it wasn’t about us. They had to teach him healthier ways to let out his frustration than on us. They had to learn to look at the deeper issue rather than just febrezing the surface issue. My dad is the same way, when he has a bad day at work, we are gonna hear about every single speck of dirt in the entire house. I do it too. When I’m super anxious about something, I can’t function. I start waving my arms. Seriously, I look like a bird trying to take off in flight. Ready for another quote I found on Pinterest: “thinking of your child behaving badly disposes you to think of punishment. Thinking of your child as struggling to handle something difficult encourages you to help them through their distress.”
Tonight, I was sitting around the living room watching Pitch with my family. I loveeee when a show flashbacks and shows us why people are the way they are and their motivations. The characters took the negative stuff they were facing and created something positive out of it. They channeled the bad stuff into good. This Is Us also did that. I loveeee when TV and movies and songs try to teach me something. Like there’s a story there beyond just trying to entertain. The doctor in the show is sharing his story about the “path You sent him on” and he says: “…how you took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade.”
By taking out my issues on those around me, I am just sharing my baggage. I am not unpacking it, I’m loading it onto someone else. I am just transferring my hurt and adding to theirs. I am not making mine lighter, I am making theirs heavier.
So, here is my prayer today. I pray I find my peace in your name. I pray that I remember that I can get through ten seconds. I pray I remember to stop and ask for clarity. I pray that I create intentional choices. I pray that I break bad habits and stop letting my emotions run all amok. I pray that I remind myself that you are in control. I pray that I remember to use silence and beauty and strength and intelligence when I’m faced with things outside my control. I pray that I stop using Febreze on my stinkin thinkin and I get straight to the heart of the problem. I pray that I create new habits with dignity and grace and your love. I pray that I take responsibility for my actions. I pray that you keep working on my heart. I pray that I stop packing up my baggage and carrying it around with me. I pray that I stop transferring my baggage. I pray I stop making those around me carry my baggage. I pray that I help make those around me carry less, not more. Lord, I pray that I leave that baggage at the cross. I pray that I stop going back for it. I pray that I help others to see through their distress too. I pray that I take the bad stuff and use it for your glory. I pray that I take the negative and funnel it through your love. I pray that I make something resembling lemonade. Thank you for the path you sent me on. Thank you for teaching me and guiding me. Thank you for reminding me time and time again the importance and meaning of the rain and of your promises. Thank you for remaining in control in the eye of the storm. Thank you for guarding my soul in the middle of the war. Thank you for being my anchor when my sails are torn. Thank you for surrounding me in your love. Thank you for holding onto me. Lord, my only hope is to trust you, I pray I remember that. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.