Sunday, December 30, 2012


I was going to write about something else today, but it has really hit me hard over this break about how much I want to be present in my present.  I know that sounds funny. But this has always been a failing of mine. Being present, enjoying what I have when I have it, being fully there for the people around me or even just for myself if I'm alone-it's always been a struggle.

My tendency is to look back, to think about what I used to have or who I used to be. I think about all of the mistakes I made, how I could have done things differently. Would I have done things differently? It's not so much that I want to live what I did over. I usually just wish I could have done things better, made better choices, perhaps so my present would be different.

My other tendency is to look to the future. What is waiting for me just around the bend? Will I be able to change my circumstances? If so, how. I'm already making plans for a year from now, five years from now, even ten years from now. It's got to be better, the grass has to be greener.

Tonight, as I sent my kids out the door to spend the remainder of the holiday with their dad, my daughter clung to me, telling me how much she would miss me. And I thought, did I fully engage with them? Was I present during this time? Was I fully here? I think I was. We spend a lot of time with relatives, so it wasn't just me and the kids. But when I was with them, I think I was fully engaged. However, I have to admit there have been times that I haven't been (see I'm doing it again-thinking how I could have changed my past).

And I have to say the last couple of days spent with relatives I spent quite a bit of time counting down some minutes so I could get back to my normal routine. I know that's a normal holiday time response. But this is just a failing of mine. I said in an earlier post that I was going to try to post thankful posts everyday. So far, so good. I've been putting them on facebook. Sometimes I've said what I'm thankful for. Sometimes I've put quotes (which has sparked some interesting conversations). But I think thinking about what I'm thankful for has sparked this thought in my head. One key to being thankful is to live in the present fully.

I think living fully in the present for me is living purposefully, thoughtfully, with an effort. Thank God for God, because I honestly don't think I could do it without Him. I know He's molding me into who He wants me to be, and this is part of it. But it is hard. I may have to come back to this post throughout this year. Yeah, I definitely will (see I'm already looking into the future :)  ).

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Grateful Heart

I read on one of the other blogs that I follow that one way to be positive is to have a "thankful" journal.  It really struck me. I am naturally a pessimistic person. I know that is not a valuable trait in our society, and yes I can be negative. Luckily, I have a mother who taught this dark cloud of a daughter to look at the negatives, acknowledge them, and get to the other side of the positives. I think negative people can have their value. They are more realistic and they do keep the overly-optomistics grounded, but they can also get stuck in negativity and only see the cloudy days. I can really fall into that.

Another thing I struggle with because of this is being content in the situation that I'm in. Discontent is something I struggle with all the time. I have moments of contentedness, but it is easy for me to look at what someone else has or what I would like to have instead of being thankful for my circumstances. If I experience something fun or gratifying, it can be very tempting for me to feel irritation when I return to everyday circumstances.

So I'm really excited to try to pick out that one positive or great thing that happens every day to share and give thanks for. I decided to post these things on facebook. I think making myself make it public will hold me accountable, and I hope that it will subtly change the seed of discontent that I have been struggling with lately. I hope that facebook users don't see me as a goody-goody. I (being negative) get irritated with those posters who only say happy, positive things. But maybe instead of being irritated with me, people will see a change in me (for the better!)!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Never Able to Crawl Out

What is it like to be stuck in your greatest character flaw or deficit, not able to get out or change? No matter how hard you try, no matter how good your intentions, you find yourself back in that place again. We all have that struggle or deficit in ourselves that we have to work on for our entire lives. No one gets away from it. Some people are aware of it; some aren't. Mine is fear. Fear can choke me, disable me, help me not to see things clearly. Fear can physically take me out. But I have a lot of strategies to overcome my fear. In fact, if I am fearful of something I will almost certainly go through whatever is scaring me just to overcome that monster.
 I have been trained from childhood how to do this. My mother, bless her amazing heart, knew that I was a fearful child, and she started teaching me how to overcome and triumph over my fear. And most importantly, because I am a Christian, God gets me through that blanket of fear that grips me. I know that ultimately, even if I mess up He will be there to catch me. When I feel fear's steely grip, I turn to Him and He tells me what to do.
But what about those who don't have that? What do those people feel? How they must feel that they are in a web that they can't step out of. I've encountered that lately. And though the struggle this person has spilled over onto me and stung me a bit, I mainly felt bad for this person. I kept thinking, how could this person live with this over and over, trying so hard to do the right thing, but making the same choices and mistake over and over again. And this person has been aware of this and doing this for a long time. Because of this person's desire to control that character flaw and fear of losing control, the person makes the same decisions and mistakes over and over.
I can't imagine living this way. How desolate this person must feel! This person does a really good job of filling up time with activities and people, but it's all surface. Nothing and no one can get too close. I think when that person goes home and shuts the door, darkness must fall. And after observing this person pretty closely for about a year, I'm pretty sure this person can't change.
And actually, can anyone, without God? I know the answer's no to that one. People on their own just aren't good enough.
So then I started thinking, what a great young adult novel this would make-applying these principals in a spiritual way. I'm definitely going to do that. Because I know that every person who doesn't have Jesus in their lives must be miserable and in a dark, dark hole that they can't get out even their trying.