Small Moments of Frustration
It was early in the morning, and my oldest two were just off to school. The baby of the family was still sound asleep in her room.
I sat on my couch looking around at the toys sprawled across my living and dining room floors. In front of me was, what seemed like, every crayon ever made by Crayola, a pile of pretend kitchen accessories, TWO Doc McStuffins vet kits (that each of my daughters recently received as gifts) and a baby doll.
I was starting to feel overwhelmed by the fact that, yet again, the toys were everywhere. How much more has to go before I am no longer surrounded by this all too frequent wave of disaster? As I looked around the room, I could feel my environment beginning to dictate my attitude.
Clutter, to some degree, is inevitable with children roaming. I do my part to keep it in check. I try to keep our belongings sparse so that when it happens it doesn’t own me, it can’t consume me. But this morning it tried.
And then I felt it. A check, in the quiet of my soul and the the stillness of the morning. I inhaled a giant breath of gratitude and exhaled peace.
Gratitude Covers Frustration
You see, these toys won’t always be here. My daughter’s artwork taped to the wall with uneven, crinkled pieces of scotch tape will one day disappear. My two year old will eventually come to realize she is not allowed to add to this wall of art with the marker she found beneath the table.
When my children are grown and gone, the fingerprints smudged across the windows will forever vanish, and I’ll no longer be gifted a glob of syrup beneath my computer on the counter. Then what?
I’m confident I won’t sit back in the silence, thankful it’s finally over.
I dread even a hint of the possibility that I could look back with regret for where I placed my priorities and how I used this rapidly fading time I’m allotted.
Rather, I want to know I treasured it all, passionately. I want to revel in gladness for what I was gifted and how I used it. I want my eyes to fill with tears of gratitude and pride for the memories made and the hard work accomplished. I want to come through, having grown and poured myself into others.
Choosing Gratitude with Intention
That morning, as I recognized the frivolousness of my frustration, my heart spoke even deeper. Outside my front window, the sun began to rise without a cloud in the sky. It shined, almost uncomfortably bright in my eyes. So brightly that I could barely see. But you know what? Those gleaming rays hid that messy living room floor.
When I raised my hand to block the sunlight, the clutter around me magnified. My gaze shifted from the glory of the morning to that mess that surrounded me. But when I let that light fill my vision, my perspective shifted and the feeling of being overwhelmed faded away. I could breathe.
Therefore, this day, I’m choosing gratitude. I lower my hands and let that light, that gratitude, blind me. Not because I’m oblivious to my surroundings. Not because it’s easy to do, or because I’m strong enough to ignore it. But because I choose to, intentionally.
I look for reminders like sunlight and breath to keep what I value most at the forefront of my mind. I choose to focus on the good, the time I have, the moments that matter, the magnificence of our Creator, and the wonder we get to experience…in this day.
Proper Perspective For a Firm Foundation
To focus on the mess, is to stand on a sinking foundation. I wind up being knocked down by frustration, consumed with an overwhelming sense of worry, and distracted from what is truly valuable. The chaos doesn’t speak LIFE.
Whether it’s a physical mess or the unpredictable waves of life, let’s lift our eyes in order to shift our perspectives. Let’s rest on a firm foundation by choosing gratitude.
I’m reminded that His mercies are new each morning. I’ve been granted another day to breathe. I’ve been given another opportunity to wade through this mess and see His goodness in it, wrap my arms around my little mess makers, and hear the heart of God through their curious conversations.
In that simple, blinding moment, I went from frustrated to humbled, and I smiled. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. His Spirit brings with it peace and joy. Peace that passes understanding. Joy that comes in the morning.