Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Perspective is Everything

I'm struggling a little with today's NaBloPoMo blog prompt because it feeds who I used to be and I don't like to go there. 

The prompt is "What are you not a fan of?"

I used to be a big whiner and complainer.  I was always looking at everything from it's worst possible angle.  I was a huge worrier, read obsessive, about everything, whether or not I had any control over it or not.

I don't know that I'd go so far as to call my self an optimist yet, but I have a good handle on negative in my life and how it effects me and so on.  I know that I can't give weight or energy to complaints or potential negatives in my life.  It eventually destroys my perspective and drives a wedge between God and I. 

I don't like being in that place.  I don't like feeling the discontent. 

I do still take a real good, honest look at things and, in a way, plan for the worst.  I do that because it takes the burden out of it.  It takes the worry away. 

So I take something, like for example, a trip.  I think through, briefly, what I would consider "bad" things that could happen and then I make a plan for how I'm going to handle that.  Like say, it's a long road trip with kids.  I think ahead and plan for boredom, fighting, and sickness.  Then when those things happen, I'm not surprised or caught off guard by them.  Because I have a little bit of a plan for them and because I was in a small way expecting them, they don't carry the weight and stress as if they had simply blindsided me. 

I use this approach in most of my life for most of everything.  It helps me to cope and stay calm.

I also know that if I dwell in the negatives, the situation eventually becomes way worse than it ever should have. 

Here's what I mean by that. 

A long time ago, I was unhappy in life.  I was in circles of people who were generally miserable and negative.  They had horrible attitudes and opinions of the people and events in their lives.  They hated their jobs.  They hated their financial situation.  They hated their spouse and kids.  When ever they talked about any of these things, every single thing they said was a negative or a complaint.  I was saturated in it.  They were my friends.  Their words influenced my thoughts and soon, I was just like them.

Every time I spoke about my job or money or my marriage, I said only negative things.  It didn't take long for that to poison me and cloud my view.  Every hour at work became a torture because all I could see was negative all around me.  I wasn't paid enough.  I did jobs that "weren't mine" to do.  Too much was expected of me.  The people I worked with were jerks.  They didn't do their jobs right.  They got more than they deserved.  The customers were even worse, selfish, demanding, rude.

In my marriage, I never saw the good in The Mr.   I only saw the negative of the long hours, the travel.  I saw all the places he didn't think of me by not meeting some need I never told him of.  He never did the things I wanted him to do, like the dishes, because I never asked, but I just added it to the long list of ways he was failing me or not loving me. 

That line of thinking is poison.  It destroys.  It brings discontent.  It left me bitter and mean with everyone around me and with myself. 

I didn't have any grace.

For anyone.

Including myself.

It was a horrible place to be, but I learned some hard lessons there that I will not forget and that brings me back around to the writing prompt.

The focus of today was to write about things you are not a fan of.  Well, I don't want to.  I don't want to dwell on all the little slights and hurts of my days.  They are dull and fleeting.  I don't want to give energy to even the biggest negatives in my small little slice of this life. 

I want to see the beauty in the dark rainy day.  I want to find joy in the sun peeking out from behind the clouds.  I want to discover the humor in driving my son to school on his last day barefoot in my pj's.  I want there to be delight under the dust bunnies.  There is blessing in the overfull schedule.  There is honor in being "needed" by so many.  I want to see the love through the disagreeable words and cranky moments, it comes through clearly in the moments of resolution.

I want to always be checking and seeing and taking note of where God is in my ordinary.

And so today, I have done the daily blog.  I have in a way touched on the topic.  I will not though, give you a list of things I'm not a fan of.

I guess the short of it all is that for me, perspective is everything.

Meet me in the comments and tell me how you keep yourself from falling prey to all the never ending negatives around you.