Today I’m going to turn Wifey Wednesday over to my wonderful friend Terry, whom I wish I knew in real life. She has written a beautiful post on why we let the little things in life get to us.
She was recounting a time a few weeks ago when she was driving to church and her husband was bugging her. And then she was convicted of the pettiness of the things that she was allowing to bother her.
It really is a beautiful post, and so well written. Read the whole thing here, but here’s a taste:
As a young child and teenager, I never dreamed of being rich, or famous, a starlet, or beautiful. All I ever wanted was to experience a solid, peaceful family life. For me. For any children I was blessed to birth. I have that. I have no reason to whine or complain. Life can be hectic in our house. Siblings spat, toddlers tantrum, and preschoolers sneak in the cookie jar. Husbands forget to tell you that they will be late for dinner, and the laundry seems like a never ending challenge. But it’s all small stuff. My life is many things, but never boring. I can remember when I knew the difference between hard things and the small stuff. When I was so thankful to have a family that I took great pleasure in the things that now just seem to make my day longer and my work load heavier.
I think this is what happens when life is going pretty well for a good stretch of time. We become masters at sweating the small stuff. We magnify minutiae, making it big so we can entertain our human love of complaint and cries of woe is me. We humans must fight against chronic discontentment, and it’s a never ending battle.
Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel discontented, grumpy, mad at the world? I certainly do, and I hate to admit it, but sometimes it’s hormonal. There are days I feel like I am standing outside myself, watching what I’m doing, and I’m horrified, and I can’t seem to stop. It seems worse since I turned 35. My doctor told me that it’s a sign that menopause is coming, and if so, I’m really not looking forward to that!
But we can’t blame it all on hormones. As bad as they are, we still have a choice. So here’s the question: how do you recapture that gratitude you once had? How do you come back to the perspective you had about being grateful for a family?
When things are going well we do tend to find fault with things. When they are going badly, we notice the good stuff. I vividly remember the moment in my life when I felt most grateful. My son was in the NICU, and we knew he may not make it. But as I was walking into the hospital, I thought to myself, “I have a husband I love, a daughter I adore, a son I would die for, and a God who died for me. What else do I want? If I have nothing else in this life, at least I have this moment.”
And I often take myself back in time to that moment, when I did feel such tremendous bliss, even at the same time as I felt such grief because I knew it wouldn’t last. Perhaps it was because I knew it wouldn’t last that I snatched it, and held it, and grasped it to my heart.
In the years since I do get grumpy, and I do sweat the small stuff. But I try to take myself back to that moment, and remember what it was like to have life crystallized so perfectly like that.
It is amazing how having someone you love so ill focuses the mind on what you appreciate.
Nevertheless, in the normal course of events, people aren’t that ill. We’re just living everyday life. And the challenge is to find that gratitude in everyday life.
When I spoke at a marriage conference last weekend, I really got the sense that gratitude is at the heart of many people’s marriage problems. Or perhaps I should say, ingratitude. When we appreciate our mate, they thrive. When we nag and criticize, they retreat. It’s true for both men and women. Of course, when you don’t feel like he appreciates you, then it can feel especially difficult (I have strategies for this in my book, To Love, Honor and Vacuum). But you can’t wait for him to change. You have to take the initiative. And as we do, we upset the balance in our marriage. Ironically, that can be the key to positive change!
So what can you do today to get a new perspective? To feel grateful for what you do have, and realize your blessings, instead of being grumpy at your hubby and kids? Share with me in the comments, and write a post on it and then come back here to enter it in the Linky! We’d love to hear what you have to say!