Too often our thoughts and spoken words are spent grumbling about what we have. The mountain of dishes, laundry, bills, assignments we have pilled up against us so high we feel as though they will reach a tipping point, cascade and swallow us whole, like a snowball transformed into an avalanche. Or our bodies, we dream about changing different aspects of ourselves and imagine how much easier it would be for us to look into the mirror at our own reflection. I’m guilty of both, on an almost daily basis if we are being perfectly honest with ourselves. But then it hit me, a realization that shifted my entire perspective completely. It was so simple; it was like a hairpin trigger that set the gunpowder ablaze.
I once prayed for everything that I have now. I can still remember those countless, sleepless nights where I tossed and turned, praying that I would be reunited with my middle school sweetheart. I was. Dreamed of a life where I was able to stay home with our children and enjoy every single moment of their beautifully fleeting youth, being the one to lie down a strong foundation within them before we sent them off into the world. I am. I remember those nights that I uttered prayers between sobs for God to cure me of an incurable disease. He did.
It is true, but all of that is nearly impossible to see when we go through the motions of our day-to-day. We often can’t see those answered prayers when we wake up, hours before we hoped, to a toddler crying out for you to start your day. We can’t feel the weight of the immeasurable joy of being a stay-at-home-mom when it feels like we are going through the day fighting battle after emotional battle with them, all while working frivolously to check one single freaking checkbox off of our growing to-do list. Or when my husband comes home late and the first thing that I say is “Here,” while handing him our screaming 7-month-old because our toddler needs major intervention. No warm embrace for either of us, just relief that another set of hands has finally entered the building. It is hard to see and feel the weight of our beautiful blessings when we are sporting a macro lens. All we see is the hair-thin graphite on paper telling us we aren’t ever going to be able to sit back, breathe and know it is all taken care of (for good.) Tomorrow is a new day with new demands. But we don’t have to think of it that way. Tomorrow is a new day with new possibilities, new adventures to be had and memories to be made. Tomorrow is a gift from God. And not everyone receives it.
Something that I thought of that has lingered with me is that everything I have, someone somewhere is praying for that very thing right now. Not only have I prayed for it and had it answered, but it is a blessing that is longed for currently by someone else and I need to appreciate it as such. That sink full of dishes that I am scowling at, someone is praying that they have someone to share their life with, someone to clean up after and it isn’t just them all by their lonesome. For the simple desire to have someone to be with, they would happily tackle all of those haphazard piles of dishes and clothes and then some.
We see it as a curse, they see it as a blessing.
Personally, I wanted to finally start showing some appreciation for the gifts that God has given me and start actually taking care of them. There are three things that we are all blessed with, maybe in different forms but nonetheless, that we can change our perspective on and start taking care of:
Take care of yourself
Stop tearing yourself down, because you don’t measure up to some unreasonable, even irrational, idea of what you SHOULD, and start appreciating the person you are. We are human. We make mistakes. If you are making a mistake in one area or two and are tired of it, you have all the power to change it. And you know what? You deserve to use that power to do so because you deserve better.
I have let comparison rob me of my joy since I was a child. I have wrestled with fluctuating self-esteem since adolescence. I have struggled with mom-guilt since the day I brought my firstborn home. I’m done. God has blessed me with this one body, heart and mind and I am tired of squandering the days I have been blessed with wishing for something else. Let’s vow to take better care of our bodies and what we put into them and our minds, ridding ourselves of as much negativity as possible.The Creator of the Universe looked through all of time and space and said that there needed to be a you on this Earth at this very moment. If that doesn’t lift your self-esteem a few points, check your pulse.
Take care of your relationships
Once we are able to treat ourselves with the care that we deserve, let’s go one step further and be deliberate with how we care for the relationships we are blessed with. They aren’t all perfect, but that’s because human beings aren’t. I think most if not all of us can unwillingly agree that the people we release our pent up frustration and anger on are the ones closest to us. If you’ve had a rough day at work, or at home wrestling the irrational emotions of a toddler or baby with colic, and your significant other walks through the door and the first look you give them is one dripping with disdain, or the first words are loaded with sarcasm. We have to remind ourselves, they aren’t the enemy. What is? Let’s address that and save ourselves unnecessary damage to the ones that we hold dearest to us.
Take care of your possessions
My house is a regular, modern-day, stucco, cookie cutter house but it honestly looked abandoned. The landscaping looked so overgrown, it looked as if this house was straight up dropped into the rainforest with how neglected it was. (Anyone who has visited me is snickering as they read that, nodding their head in pure agreement, I promise you.) As I reflected on my “take care of your blessings” epiphany, I said to myself, “this house is a blessing. A gift from God. It is our home. I am tired of being embarrassed by it and I am going to give it the care that it deserves…finally.” Whatever your Amazon looks like, whether it is the inside of your home or the outside, roll up those sleeves and tackle that beast. It deserves it and you deserve to be comfortable in your own space. Our homes should be a refuge, our solace from the world, not our cage.
When you are frustrated with that state of something, whether it is your physical appearance, the insurmountable pile of dishes, laundry, bills that can’t seem to be paid on time or in full, widen your lens. One of my favorite, uplifting quotes is: It is well. As in it is well with my soul; it is well with me. We can gain clarity and relief when we see the bigger picture and how what we once saw as a curse is a true blessing. Take care of your blessings.