Saturday, December 20, 2008
Are You Positive?
I have learned a lot this year.
This year brought me lessons in patience, perseverance, and humility. There were times this year when God's Word was proven faithful and true in my life and times when my trust and faith in the Lord were tested. I have gained sympathy for people with skin disorders and uncontrollable itching (it's NO fun!) and even compassion for a few people (that's not a feeling I've really ever experienced--this is new to me).
However, daily, I am reminded of all the lessons I haven't yet learned. Lessons in time management, organization, tact, hospitality, patience with children, general people skills, gratitude and graciousness, how to really listen, and how to ask questions (to name a few).
I did form a good habit this year. When the gas prices rose so high and didn't appear that they would ever come down I really formed good gas conservation skills. I can now stay home for days at a time and be content and when I do have errands I combine them to be efficient.
But there are many, many habits that my mind keeps telling me I haven't formed yet. The mind is a powerful thing and it has the ability to get you down over things. For example, my housekeeping habits--after almost 14 years of marriage, I still DON'T have good habits formed! There, my secret is out!
I can hear many of you saying, "Oh, you're being too hard on yourself!" And you're right, that is the truth, we are always hardest on ourselves. We are our own worst critics. I'm sure you all have things that you're down on yourself for.
Why is it that we focus on the negative things in our lives? "I can't do it...I'm not good enough...I'm not smart enough...I'm not pretty...I don't do enough"...and on and on and on.
Let's go into 2009 with a proper outlook. Let's focus on positives. There is a time and place for introspection and change, but make sure that you are doing plenty of reflecting on the growth and change that you have already made--the positive things in your life and give yourself some healthy affirmation! If this is an area you struggle in (seeing the good), perhaps a good idea would be to keep a journal so you can look back and see all the positive things in your life.
Last year at this time I wrote about focus--focusing on changing one thing at a time for best success. It's ironic, I am still thinking about focus, but in a little different way. For myself, this year, rather than focus on one thing at a time to change, I am just going to focus--every day--on what ever is before me. I'm not making any resolutions this year. I am just going to focus on my normal routine, but with making a real effort to be mentally present in each activity that I do.
Let me explain, perhaps you can relate. In this multi-tasking world that we live in, we all have to juggle so many things. I'm not so sure this is healthy for us. If you have been reading for a few weeks, you know that I have to cut down on my stress levels for my physical health. I have relieved a lot of my stress by cutting down on the activities I have to juggle, but I am now seeing that I am juggling too many thoughts as well. I could be home all week, but my thoughts are running around like crazy! If I'm doing one thing, my mind is thinking of 3 other things! I don't feel this is healthy for me, it can add to the stress. So I'm going to change.
I made changes in my physical health--my activity level and now I'm stepping into the realm of mental health--laying down rules for my thoughts. Yes, you can take control of your thoughts. You can read more here. My rule is (I've already started, no sense waiting for the new year) that whatever activity I'm involved in (cleaning, cooking, conversation, homeschooling, blogging, etc.), I determine to focus mentally and not be tuning out and thinking of all the other things I have to do. No more juggling!
So you see it's the end of the year and once again I'm thinking about focus. What are you going to focus on? Whatever it is, be sure to focus on the positives! Maybe you need to focus on being positive and stop condemning yourself. I love what Joe McGee said in this month's newsletter--you can't love your neighbor as yourself if you don't love yourself! So true. (Matt. 22:39)
And I will leave you with one final thought. In Psalm 139:17-18, the Bible tells us that God is thinking so many precious thoughts about us each day they cannot even be numbered! That's got to make you feel good. :)
Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!