Tuesday, April 14, 2015

From Frustration to Peace

I stayed home from church Sunday.

We travel about forty-five minutes to get there if we don't get too many red lights. It had been a busy couple of weeks and I woke up tired and achy. Just the thought of getting into the car again was not something I wanted to do.

What I needed was some alone time outside so I could relax, pray, think and write. So late morning found me sitting on the hillside with my journal once again. It was a beautiful day and I was struck by how quickly the trees had filled with leaves. A few weeks ago you could not see the different shades of green on the far hills as shown in this photo, the view from my perch on the hillside.

Feelings of Failure

I was frustrated about some things and it always helps to write things out. So I wrote about how sometimes there is a feeling of tension in our house. Sometimes it's about finding writing time that doesn't interfere with other responsibilities. Often it's a feeling of failure because of unaccomplished goals. It seems to happen most often when one or more of us is tired and becomes irritable, but I also think that the clutter has a lot to do with our state of mind. Some may not agree, but I know it affects me.

People tend to feel better and work better when there is some kind of order.

For whatever reason, things have piled up, and we seem to get buried further and further under the ever growing mountain. It can be overwhelming just thinking about where to start. We would rather do anything but clean or sort and throw away some items. We often look right past the clutter and try to ignore it, but that only works for so long. It's hard to get motivated to do much about it, and we seem to get in a rut.

Don't get me wrong, I love my house and my family.

We have all talked about making schedules so that we have time to accomplish what we like to do along with the jobs that are not as much fun. We talk about making plans and we can start to get excited, but it doesn't mean much if we don't follow through.

Good Intentions not Enough

I actually had good intentions a few months ago when I started my Empower: You Can Do It series. I was all excited about getting the clutter taken care of little by little and thought I'd be done by now. Instead it seems to be worse. That series has been put on the shelf for awhile, but I want to get back to it.

As I continued writing in my journal that morning I began to think about some things I HAD done in the past week. I made granola and cinnamon buns, but they didn't turn out as well as I thought they should. Then I remembered the bone broth I was making in the crockpot. It had been there for nearly a week and I was afraid it wouldn't be any good, so I started to feel bad about that, too.

You see what I was doing? I started finding fault with even good things I had done.

The truth is the broth turned out fine, and the cinnamon buns disappeared quickly. The granola is not as clumpy or sweet as we like, but it still looks and tastes fine. There were other good things that were accomplished during the week as well, but I was only focused on the negative at the time.

How could I turn things around?

I thought to myself how nice it would be if I had a week or two at home where I didn't have to go anywhere at all and had no interruptions. Maybe I could make schedules for writing, cleaning, clutter removal, and school for my son. Then I'd get to work following the schedule and everything would be just great. Isn't that how it works? Of course not.

Real Life Has Interruptions

There will always be interruptions. Even if I had a block of time that large, it wouldn't guarantee that the work would get done. There could be some laziness involved, but it's not like I'm just lying around doing nothing. I have so many ideas to implement that I tend to neglect some duties while pursuing other interests. Those interests are not wrong. In fact, I believe God has called me to write and share my words and art.

I think there is something bigger here.

Maybe the answer lies in my attitude about myself and how I perceive my life. I began thinking of different scenarios in my head asking myself questions. To many of them my answer was, "I don't know." Then I wrote this: What I do know is that I am frustrated. I don't know how to get out of the slump except maybe to start praying more for wisdom, to pick an area to start on and then follow through.

There I found the key.


I can go first to Him in prayer when there is a need or something I don't understand. While I may not get all the answers when I want them or in the way I want them, I can trust God to know what is best for me. I need to look at myself as God sees me - a beloved daughter covered by the righteousness of Christ. 

Yes, I will stumble at times, but God will always pick me up.

The clutter is still here and the tensions will come, but I don't have to let them keep me down. I can move through them with an attitude of praise and thanksgiving knowing that God will bring me through. Then by taking one step at a time I can move ahead in my life gaining strength and grace as I become the woman I am meant to be.

My daughter, Jamie Bagley, in her e-course on prayer wrote some simple patterns for praying when you need help getting started. I used two of them to express what I thought I needed that day on the hillside. 

Dear Father,

I am frustrated with my cluttered life and house.
I need Your wisdom to help me figure things out.
I surrender my mess to You.
I praise You because You hear and answer prayer.

Give me trust in this moment.
Grant me peace in this hour.
May I have a desire to simplify my life.
May I find strength to follow through.

As I closed my journal that day, I felt more at peace. The combination of the fresh air and sunshine, the writing out of my words and the time in prayer helped me to see I have a lot to be thankful for. My family and I will get on top of the clutter. We will work together, and love will always win.

I'm linking up with Motivate and Rejuvenate Monday and also  Kelly Balarie and Friends and the #RaRaLinkup.  Come join us and link your own encouraging blog post. You'll be warmly welcomed!

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