“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” –Philippians 2:14-15 ESV
Every evening the sound of guitar flows through my home. I often go and peek into my son’s room watching him in total focus on his guitar, sometimes I even get to enjoy hearing him sing. (No, I’m not a creeper. He usually knows I’m there.) It’s awesome to see him enjoy his music.
Twice a week I get to watch my fourteen year old dance. I love it when she dances. She’s elegant, graceful and beautiful. She enjoys ballet and it shows through her excitement to go, on her face as she performs and in her joyful demeanor as we leave the studio.
Thorntonville is privileged. Our kids have gotten the chance to explore their talents and gifts by trying different extracurricular activities each settling into their perspective areas of music and dance. Enthusiasm reigns during these times.
But what’s it like at Thorntonville when we aren’t doing our favorite things? Ha ha! Thankfully, we are past the stage of fits and unruly crankiness. Both my kids do their chores when asked and sometimes even when they aren’t. (Ok, from time to time we have our moments.)
My husband is a saint. It doesn’t seem to matter what you ask him to do. He maintains an even and steady disposition with a smirk of humor always ready to unleash a playful comment when a laugh is needed.
Then there is the other member in our family. She diligently works hard at her task that she loves with a smile and nice words…until it hits. The dreaded undesirable task. I’ll call this person…me. While, I tend to get my work done, my disposition varies according to the day, mood and task. It’s easy to stay in a good mood when I’m doing something I enjoy, like my kids when they are dancing and playing music. The challenge is when I don’t want to do what I need to do.
I stumble through Philippians 2:14-15 which states, “Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” –Philippians 2:14-15 ESV
Ok, I may not always grumble, but I can say with honesty, that I pretty much always question. Being a light when I don’t want to do what I need to is horrifyingly difficult. I may plant a smile on my lips, but my eyes always reveal my attitude.
I’m learning though. The following are steps that have helped with my attitude. I’ll have to keep working on the questioning. When I master that one I’ll write another blog.
- Step 1: Prayer. If I don’t give my attitude to God right away and ask for guidance, the “Dum, da, dum, dum, dum” sound should immediately kick in, because my icky mood will shortly follow. Prayer centers me. It keeps my eyes focused where they need to be.
- Step 2: Scripture. Along with prayer goes scripture. Taking a mom time-out with the Bible in hand is worth the small delay in starting a project. Staying in God’s word, helps me stay within his will. When I don’t know where to look, I go straight to a praise Psalm. Giving God his due praise and thanksgiving usually adjust my attitude. Then at least if I don’t like what I’m doing, I can celebrate who I’m really doing it for.
- Step 3: Plan. There are times I may choose to let progress just come without a plan, but not when I don’t want to do what I need to. If I don’t have a plan, I tend to lose motivation. Making a list or creating an order of progress in the challenge ahead is like a road map helping me not to get lost and distracted. Focus is important for me in completing something I don’t want to do.
- Step 4: Get started. Not procrastinating on the undesirable, but facing it head on. The less I dread an event or chore the better off I am.
Playing background music or listening to an audio book helps me maintain a descent mood as I work, but the biggest motivation involves me planting my feet in determination to finish.
Whether it is a house hold chore, exercise, a volunteer project that makes me nervous or working with people who make me uncomfortable, these four steps help me keep perspective and set me up for a better opportunity to be a light to others I encounter along the path of my resistance.
There are always things to be done. There are probably always going to be things I don’t want to do but need to anyway. Turning to God in prayer and word helps me plan and get started much easier.