Whatever is True

Well, the second half of my week did not go as anticipated. On Thursday I suddenly realized that this Sunday was August 1st. I mean, I’d known July was almost gone, and I’d known for a long time that all the units for my two online Astronomy classes were due August 1st, but I didn’t really get the connection with THIS SUNDAY. Until yesterday. I had six units for one class and five for the other to complete. I’ve knocked it down to three and a half total left as of right now, but it hasn’t been fun. So, instead of researching all the fun things I wanted to write about yesterday, I’ve been staring blankly at my computer screen, trying to match the orbit of a baseball with either Orbit 2: Semi-major axis 3189km, highly eccentric, or Orbit 4. Semi-major axis 22,000 miles (35,000 km), eccentricity 0. And I don’t even know what a “Semi-major axis” is.

The last two days have been discouraging for me; I feel like I’m not doing well in my classes, so I think I’m a bad student. I feel like I’m not doing well at fixing meals, or unpacking the guest room, or cleaning the apartment, so I think I’m a failure at housekeeping. I’m SO grouchy and touchy every morning when I fix Brian’s lunch, and I’m always frustrated by my lack of productivity by the time he comes home, that I must not be doing a job as a wife either. Plus, I’m worried about the state of our finances, because I don’t know exactly how we’re doing with our budget, and I feel like since Brian isn’t worried, he must not care, and since he isn’t interested in making plans for my birthday, he must not care about that either, which means the he must not care about me, right? 

God reminded me of the sermon I heard last Sunday morning. Pastor Joel explained “Thoughts lead to Actions which lead to Feelings which leads to more Thoughts.” So wrong thinking leads to wrong doing, which leads to wrong feeling, and more wrong thinking, and so on. This is the cycle anyone who has suffered from anxiety or depression will recognize. It’s how fears, worry, and despair get started and soon become so ingrained that they are second nature.

That’s what I’ve been doing the last two days, wrong thinking about myself and about Brian, leading to wrong doing and wrong feeling and more wrong thinking. I need to renew my mind, start thinking true thoughts, and then doing what is right, and wait for the right feelings to follow. I need to realize that I made a mistake with my class, but I need to do all I can to rectify it and get it finished. I need to recognize that the housekeeping can go by the wayside for this week, until I get these classes finished, and that I don’t have to do it all. I need to remember that Brian is not the enemy, and it’s not fair to take out my frustration or exhaustion on him. And I need to get enough sleep. I need realize that Brian’s lack of concern over our finances probably means that my worry is unnecessary, and I can trust him to take care of me. I need to remember that Brian loves me deeply, and he does care about me, and my birthday, and I just need a little patience. 

I’ve been listening to the Christian radio a lot lately, and there’s a Dr. with a talk show who always talks about “The Power of One Thing,” or focusing on one thing at a time, growing in one area, fighting one temptation, parenting one situation, completing one essay, doing one good deed, at a time. I read this blog post by Simple Mom, and it totally reinforced the idea of doing one thing, even if it’s for only 15 minutes. Often we are perfectionists and think that if we can’t do it ALL just right, right now, then why even start? That kind of wrong thinking keeps us from right doing, and we don’t do anything. Go read the article, it’s worth the two minutes, and I know it will be a blessing to you as it was for me. 

When you find yourself feeling discouraged or dissatisfied, what are your thinking patterns like? Are your thoughts true? Are they noble? Right? Pure? Lovely? Admirable? Praiseworthy? Excellent? If you are at all like me, you know your thoughts are often quite different. How does the way you think affect the way you feel, or vise versa? What do you do to change that unhealthy cycle? 

Philippians 4:8 (New International Version)

 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Let’s remember these criteria for our thoughts this weekend! See you next week!  

  • Oh, Emily… I had so many similar thoughts to this when I was first married–thankfully I had graduated by then since Paul thought I was stressed out as it was–he had no idea how bad I was in college! I am a closet perfectionist, which means that I am a closet procrastinator–since it won't work out "right", I put it off and put it off until I am forced to do it wrong :-D. (BTW, I love Dr. Randy Carlson's show too :-D).

    Over the years, I have learned to let things go, but it has been hard and I still struggle with wanting to be "perfect". I hate letting people down. But God doesn't ask us to be perfect, God asks us to do our best…FOR HIM. And what He thinks is our best isn't always what we think is our best. People are His priority and they should be ours too (well, after God of course! :-D)

    When we were first married, I wanted to keep the house perfect for my man :-D. I wanted to be an excellent hostess and cook all the perfect foods like the women at my church did. I wouldn't have anyone over unless our house was "perfect" and I would stress myself out getting it that way. And then one day I realized that I wasn't having any fun when we had people over. I was so worried about what they "thought", that I wasn't really taking care of the most important aspect of hostessing–actually conversing with your guests! I decided then and there that what you see is what you get when it comes to me. I was actually doing my friends a disservice in assuming they wouldn't like me if my house was less than perfect. What kind of friends did I think I had??? Anyone coming to my home knows me and knows my life and frankly, if they are going to be that judgmental about my imperfections, then they don't really need to come over in the first place! And OF COURSE they weren't being judgmental. They were/are my friends!

    When I first started staying home, Paul and I talked about what my priorities should be. Since the reason I was staying home was so that I could be with our children, that was the number 1 priority. So…if the house wasn't perfect when he got home, so be it. That being said, he is also my priority, so I refused to allow it to be completely torn apart either–there's that balance thing again!

    Give it time. Eventually you will come into a rhythm that works for you. You will find meals that you both enjoy and housework will become more efficient. It will come. Focus on one thing at a time (like, your schoolwork at the moment! :-D). Brian understands because he loves you.

    At the end of the day, don't forget to count your blessings. It may sound silly, but it can change your whole outlook. Focus on everything that went right that day. If, at the end of the day you can't find at least 10 things to be truly thankful for, then you need to count again! Thank God for the trials and learn from them.

    And hey…if you ever need to talk, I'm here :-D.

    Sorry if this made no sense, but it's late and I really should be in bed anyway! 😀

  • I'm here from SITS #31DBBB.

    This post really rang true with me. I struggle every day to balance my desire to be perfect with my laziness. Some days I'm good with accepting I did my best and other days I'm a little more nuts about it.

    Making sure you're focusing on the really important things and being thankful for them is a great way to get the perspective in line.

    Thanks for a great post!

  • Oh…and I forgot to mention two things (what? really? After that whole book?? YES…really :-D)

    First, it has been my experience that guys tend not to worry about things until there is something to worry about. Women are nurturers, they want to make sure things are taken care of in advance…men are fixers, they take care of things when they are broken.

    And Second, don't trust Brian…trust God. That was another hard lesson for me. I spent 22 years trusting my Daddy for everything and then all of a sudden I was supposed to turn around and trust this man I'd known less than a year with every aspect of my life. That was a change! It was only after a couple of years of marriage did I realize how much it hurt Paul that I would ask my dad questions that he probably knew the answer to, but it was a hard habit to break–I'd done it my whole life! I remember that I could ride around with my dad all day long and never feel nervous, but there was a wreck around every corner when I was with Paul. God laid it on my heart that HE put Paul into my life to serve as my protector (amongst many other things), and I needed to let him fulfill that role. So I asked God to help me trust Paul, and eventually it came.

    Oh…and ONE MORE THING… (really this is it :-D). I was reading a good book called "Managers of Their Chores" (perhaps you've heard of it), ANYWAY, in there, the author points out that ADAM was the one who was responsible for everything. (Quotes from pages 33 & 34) "God placed Adam in the garden to dress and care for it. Vine's Expository Dictionary tells us that the Hebrew word for "keep" is defined as "to watch, to guard, and to keep." The Garden of Eden was Adam's home, his domain. God put him there to work in the garden and to watch over it. Adam was assigned his first responsibility."…"It is important to know what 'helpmeet' means. The Hebrew word is ezer, and it means aid or help. The Lord meant for Eve to help Adam fulfill what God was calling Adam to do. Eve was a completer, one who enabled Adam to accomplish what God held Adam responsible for but which Adam couldn't carry out by himself."…"Had I understood that God considered it ALL my responsibility and Teri was merely helping me, I would have had a different attitude. Instead of a critical spirit, I would have been grateful for anything she did. Instead of a negative comment about something left undone, I would have been more likely to praise her for her efforts."

    Breath

    Okay, I put all that in, not to point out what Brian should or shouldn't be doing, but rather to let you know how much this passage freed me. I felt weighed down by all the responsibilities I had, but when I started looking at it as helping Paul, it made life much easier. It is easier for me to be a helper than to feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders.

    Hopefully that was helpful for you too :-D.

  • Tara, I think I'll copy and past your comments into a Word document so I can print it off an put in on the wall 🙂 You are a very wise woman and your observations were very helpful for me!!!

    Gnomeangel, thanks for stopping by! I'm glad I'm not the only one out there who struggles with balancing these things!

  • Emily, I know about semi-major axes!!! You need to call me for help, because I can help and I would love to help you. I am a science and math whiz and I have a special gift of being able to teach. Next time you get stuck, please call me! Love (and happy birthday)!