A Head (and then a heart) Full of Thanks and…A Very New Life!

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Psalm 27:6-8 (ESV) 6  And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD. 7  Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! 8  You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”

 The schedule looms heavy…busy…your heart fills with dread at how you can possibly get everything done, have everyone where they should be. You feel burdened…almost depressed. Well…depressed! It is depressing to think of all you have to make happen and none of it is anything that nourishes your soul. Each of your three children needs to be driven somewhere or helped with something. Your husband needs you to work on an excel sheet and pick up his shirts from the laundry. You are hoping everyone will be home in time to sit down together for dinner before your son goes to the movies with his friends and your daughter leaves to spend the night. Your second son is likely to be disgruntled because he has no plans for the evening. Sigh.

All of these thoughts are plaguing you as you look at the alarm clock. Ten minutes. Ten minutes of peace before you need to hit the ground running. Yesterday was awful. It was very much like today is laid out and everyone was edgy with their own particular wants and needs in mind. Today promises to be more of the same as does tomorrow and the next day and the next.

Oh, it isn’t that you didn’t have some fun in between the demands. You did. There was the moment your oldest came through and raved about your chocolate chip cookies, laughing as he purposely shoved one in his mouth, clamped another between his lips and grabbed three more with his adult-sized hands…eyes sparkling with mischief. He knew you were going to tell him to share with his brother. But you didn’t have a chance. He walked by and shoved one in his brother’s mouth and laid another next to him, looked at you and laughed as he went out the door.

Nothing makes you feel better than that kind of mischievous camaraderie and kindness. “Maybe we are doing something right.”

Yet…the stress involved in what needs to be done far outweighs the peaceful or fun moments. It is hard to be present in the present when you are just trying to be sure you get everyone where they want or need to be, make sure they are fed and clothed and hope that everyone will get along. Minutes later your youngest son and daughter are in a screaming match. Seriously?

How does one navigate this without being filled with dread and depression? Ann Voskamp, 1000 Gifts says, “Wherever you are, be all there” is only possible in the posture of eucharisteo (thanksgiving). I want to slow down and taste life, give thanks, and see God.”

 Then a little later she says, “…full attention slows the current. Don’t I always have the choice to be fully attentive? Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus. Eucharisteo, eucharisteo. That keeps the focus simple…sacred.”

Often we can find logical ways to slow down, that’s true. But is there a way to accomplish what needs to be accomplished and not dread the treadmill and then…once on it…feel empty…lifeless?

Yes…Yes! A very big part of the answer is to “be all there” in each moment. “Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus.” Focus on the moment with a head (and eventually a heart) that is thankful. It only takes 21 days to develop a new habit.

With this one, you also develop a very new life!

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