I absolutely love my kid. He’s smart, funny, imaginative, and at the ripe old age of four, just slap full of life. And after eight years of being unable to have children, he’s that much more special to me and my wife; almost a miracle baby, that boy is. On a completely different note, another thing I’m quite fond of is my morning routine.
Stretching, Bible time and a meditative walk all tend make for a fabulous start to the day, and I really look forward to it. Oh, and coffee; one does simply forget about the coffee.
The two though (children and routines), don’t often “jive” if you know what I mean. How many times has this guy found himself downright frustrated because his RSS (routine for sanity’s sake) has been thwarted by his four year old wrecking ball? More, honestly, than I care to admit. This past Sunday was one of those days. Sweatpants (don’t judge me) and hoodie donned, hot coffee freshly brewed, stretching routine almost finished; I was about to walk out the door, when suddenly my ears alerted me of the rapid succession of the splats of a flat-footed little boy running at max speed down the hall. The child was officially awake, but my routine was officially wrecked.
So what happens now? If I’m honest, usually, there is a fair amount of grumbling on my part as I despair over the peaceful scene that almost was (Proverbs 13:12). I stress, resent, and complain far too much than a believer should over something like this. I am beginning to learn something though – that I am not doomed to despair and stress when my plans have been thwarted, but instead, have options.
The first and most obvious option, is that I can discipline myself to rise earlier in the morning; a novel idea, I know. Should you find yourself perpetually frazzled from the moment your feet hit the floor, you probably need to get up earlier and create some order in your chaos. Few people operate well without constant, daily resets anyway. Get yourself some rest, but sacrifice thirty minutes or so in the morning, for your sake.
The second, nearly as obvious option is just reacting differently to the interruption.
We need to understand that while we may not be able to predict or control life’s little surprises, we certainly can control how we respond to them. But how though? Me thinks the answer lies in our perception. How do we see the interruption? Are we so rigid that we must have everything laid out in exactly the same way day after day after day in order to just maintain “happiness”? Really, when you think about it, that doesn’t sound very happy at all, does it. To me, it sounds rather boring.
This life has adventure, wonder, and breathtaking beauty awaiting us all (per the amazing grace of God). Opportunities to show love, to discover new things, to meet new people, to pass on knowledge, to do good, and even to rest, present themselves almost daily. But we often completely miss them because we bristle and huff when those opportunities come knocking. Why? Well, because these opportunities don’t usually appear as opportunities from the get-go. Instead, they are MOST often disguised. They take the form of:
- Inconveniences on our way to work
- Changes in the day’s schedule
- Seasonal illnesses
- Surprise visitors
- Unexpected demands
…and a host of other “interruptions.” How we see the events that take us by surprise has much (and maybe everything) to do with how we react.
Thankfully, I can say that this past Sunday, while I really wanted to frustrated, I chose, instead, embrace my little interruption. Regardless of the fact that I really did need some time to gather myself, plan for the day, study my Sunday School lesson, and practice my music, I chose to just roll with it. I got the little ball of all-boy energy ready for the day, took him outside (allowing the others in the home to continue resting) and spent the morning with him. And you know what? I’m glad I did. Sure, I wasn’t as prepared as I would’ve liked to be when I got to church that morning, but, my lesson got studied, the music was practiced, and would you know it, I ended up finding a few minutes to be by myself (with the assistance of my amazing wife). It all just worked out.
“What does any of this have to do with me?” you might ask. Well, let me ask you a question… how has the first part of this year been for you and your spirit? Have you found yourself perpetually frustrated? Have you consistently cycled through high levels of stress? Have you felt hurried, anxious, and easily agitated? The good news is, you really don’t have to be. This even transcends personality types by the way. Whether you’re type A or type B, introvert or extrovert, laid back or wide open, you can respond differently to life’s little bumps along the way. As we’re in the first quarter of the new year, it’s not too late to change your mindset. It’s certainly not easy (without a doubt), and it must be worked at, but it really can be done. May 2020 be the year that sees you change everything around in your mind, for the better. May we learn to embrace the interruptions, see them as opportunities, and discover life anew as we never have before.
Suggested reading: Luke 10:38-42
Grace and peace,