As I prepared for bed, I began to mentally start my checklist of what all needed to be done the following day. It would get done, it always does, and I would just get through the day. But I don’t like simply surviving. I don’t like days that start out with “just get me through today”. I want each day to be “Thank you Lord for this day you have made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Just as I felt my anxiety level rising over the upcoming day, Macy, our 6 pound Schnoodle, came flying through the air out of nowhere. Overly excited for her nightly ritual of snuggling in the bed with me before retiring to her crate, she must have decided I was too lost in my own thoughts to remember she needed help onto the bed. Taking matters into her own hands, she took a running leap and landed smack into the side of the bed, throwing her body back onto the floor crumpling her legs underneath her fluffy, white body. She gave a yelp, then just laid down until I scooped her up in my arms, holding her and comforting her. If she had just waited 10 more seconds, I would have placed her on my bed safe and sound.
How often am I Macy? How often do I think God has forgotten so I decide I need to take control of the situation on my own. How often do I think I can do it on my own and don’t need any help? My husband has been known to call me Nemo at times saying, “Renee, you are like Nemo. You think you can do these things, but you can’t.” How often is God saying to me, “Renee, I didn’t forget. The timing wasn’t right yet. I never left you, and if you had been patient and waited on me, it would have worked out perfectly. But you took control and now you are lying on your back yelping. And you still need me! Either way you are going to need Me. If you do it My way, it’s much less painful. Just wait for Me!”
I tucked Macy into the comfort of her warm crate and prayed several times through the night that she would be ok. That her leg wouldn’t be broken. That we wouldn’t be given the news she needed surgery costing more than we would want to spend. Then the anxiety crept back in. How would I get the carpool to school, get Macy to the vet, get Andrew to preschool, and still make it to my dentist appointment all before 9:00? Each of these were located 30 minutes from each other.
The sin of my anxiety carried over into our morning routine. I rushed the children, snapped at them several times, hurrying them up, speaking unkindly, and simply not being the mom I desire to be. I failed to take ownership. Rather, I continued blaming my actions on my concern for Macy and our need to get out the door as soon as possible.
Too many interruptions. I hadn’t planned on so many interruptions. Not enough margin had been built into the morning. But don’t all interruptions come from God? This was from God. He must interrupt me to shake me up. If He can’t make me be still, He will shake me up for sure. It wasn’t the amount of stuff we had going on, it was how I was handling it. Why was I allowing my anxiety to control me this way? All the while, God is whispering to me, but I’m not hearing.
Why was I ruining precious moments with my children? It didn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way.
We pulled up to the doors of the school and I touched my boys on the shoulders and said I’m sorry, to which they immediately offered their forgiveness with a smile. And I pulled away simply disappointed with myself that yet again I found myself in need of apologizing to my kids.
When I start the day in my own strength, it always falls apart. When I start the day in His strength, there is nothing that can’t be handled with grace. I gripped tightly to my schedule and my responsibilities, never allowing God to direct my steps.
Andrew and I arrived at the vet with Macy. She was x-rayed and given a good report. She would be sore for a few days but should begin to use her back leg in a few days. No broken bones. Exactly what we had prayed for. I paid the bill, felt sickened over the money I was spending for the x-rays, then sent Steve a text that read, “Macy is fine, $180 later.”
That’s when God really got my attention. It was as if I could hear Him saying to me, “Renee, how can you have so little thanks? How can you be so ungrateful? Did I not take care of everything for you? Did I not get you safely to each of your destinations? Did I not allow Macy’s leg to not be broken? Did you ever consider it could have been so much worse and that it is because of Me that it is as good as it is?”
Lack of gratitude leads to lack of joy. Being thankful changes everything. Being thankful changes every single moment we will ever experience.
Often God uses what I see in others to really show me the magnitude of it in my own life. I just recently had a conversation about noticing how negative people seem these days. Then, I noticed I did it as well! It’s more noticeable in social media because thoughts are shared so freely, especially the negative, frustrating moments. Last summer we all complained about how dry it was, we needed the rain. Now God is abundantly blessing us with rain and we are complaining about the provision. We complain about it being too cold, yet there are people living in dire poverty who would give anything to feel the warmth of a bed. We are cold when we have to walk out of the comfort of our heaters. I want to take every thought captive. I want to change my negative habits that ruin my moments. I want to turn those negative tendencies into praises and offerings of thanks and change the moments in my life.
So here is my challenge to myself. Every time I am about to complain about something, I will rephrase it into a positive. When my child has just thrown an Oscar worthy tantrum, I want to think to myself “Thank you, God, that you blessed me with this child. I know you have a wonderful plan for his life.” When I am burned out on winter and about to say, “I’m so sick of winter and ready for spring,” I hope instead to say, “Spring is just around the corner. I am so thankful for the changes of seasons so that we can truly appreciate each season we are given.” And when I’m about to complain of a runny nose preventing me from sleeping well, I hope instead to say, “I’m so thankful that of all the health ailments I could have right now, this is the worst that I’m experiencing. I’m thankful I’m not battling cancer right now or fighting for my life.”
This is not easy. I’m curious to see how I do. I know I will fail if I do this in my own strength, so I will rely on Him.
I desperately want to experience life to the fullest the way God intends. And I believe a thankful heart is the key. Being thankful changes every moment. It changes the way we see our moments.
Our world needs a good dose of positive right now. Let’s be the ones to make the first move.