Sunday, May 3, 2015

Looking for Better Days When Your Attitude Stinks

I want to have good days.
When I crash into bed at night {and yes, I definitely crash every single night at this season of my life!}, I want to spend those last few waking seconds remembering the blessings of my day.
I don't want to lay there mulling over all the things that went wrong, or the messes that were made, or the problems that occurred.
I know this is a choice I make.

As I jotted down notes about how to have better days, some were totally random, but some of them seemed to follow a certain line of thinking.
I'm realizing that many of my rough days are that way because I start them out that way.
Yep, *I* start them out that way.
It's easy to want to blame the crying baby or the truck revving it's engine outside my gate that startled me awake or the electric company for cutting my electricity at 6 am for giving me a bad start to the day, but I'm learning that my attitude is my choice.

I am not a morning person {just ask my father who had to drag me out of my bed on school mornings for lots of years!}.
If I'm going to begin my day well, those decisions have to be made long before the sun comes up.

Right after I had baby #2, I was at a missions conference with a dear friend from college. She had just had baby #3. We got to spend most of that meeting in the nursery together feeding babies. As we talked about the normal mommy stuff I asked her how she found time to read her Bible. She gave me some excellent advice ~ she said she never allowed herself to read anything before she read her Bible. No internet, no books, no newspaper, nothing. Being a mama of 3 littles, she couldn't set a specific time, but she knew she could set up a boundary that would help her make sure she did it. When she had a few minutes to glance at the internet, she was reminded that she could be using that time to read her Bible. When she sat down to nurse the baby and grabbed the book she had laying nearby, it would remind her to read her Bible first. It helped her keep in the Scripture through one of the most exhausting and needy times of a mama's life. Her advice was exactly what I needed to hear.

Word First.
The first thing I must do to have a good day is to read my Bible.
I need God's Word in my heart and mind if I'm going to serve my Lord and my family each day.
There have been days when it is just a handful of verses, but just making that small effort makes a big difference.
For me, if it is humanly possible, this must happen before I leave my room in the morning.
Some mornings that means dealing with a problem and then begging my hubby to cover for me for five minutes.
Some days that's taking my Bible to the bathroom and locking the door!
There are days when that's not possible.
On those days I grab the time at the first available opportunity.

To keep my attitude in check, I must plan to use my mornings wisely.
By "plan" I don't mean a schedule or a minute-by-minute check-off list ~ I would lose my mind.
I must know the order of things that need to be done and then do them.
That sounds simple, but it has been revolutionary for me!
In the mornings, I know I have to get everybody going, make breakfast, help the little two get dressed, start a few chores, and keep an eye on the clock so we can get into the schoolroom at a good time.
For quite a while, though, I'd come out of my room {knowing all that needed to be done} and "just take a few seconds to check email and facebook."
I'm sure you can imagine the chaos descending around me by the minute.
The internet NEVER takes "just a minute."

So I made a decision ~ do the right things at the right time.
It works wonders!
I talked it over with hubby, told him my decision, and then set a time to do my internet stuff.
Knowing what I need to do and then doing it makes for better days!

I am a perfectionist. I'm sure I've mentioned that before.
What that means in real life is that if something cannot be done perfectly, then I tend not to do it, or I will not accept it until it is exactly right.
At certain times and with some things that is good.
With the things God has given me to do on a daily basis, this can be crippling.
I'm learning that small progress is still progress.

This helps my attitude towards myself and what I'm able to get done in a day, towards my children as I see them taking steps {albeit tiny ones} towards learning to do what I'm training them to do, and towards my other responsibilities as I see forward movement.

I have a big God, but He has made me with physical limitations.
This isn't an excuse to be lazy, but a truth to be reckoned with.

I used to make a list every morning of all that I needed to do, plus a few things I wanted to do, and a few things that would be fun to do, and then I'd add a few more that I just really should do sometime.
When I tried to sit down with John and relax for a bit after the kids were in bed, I couldn't do it.
All I could think of was how many things I hadn't gotten done.
The next morning as I sat to make my list, my attitude would get darker and angrier as I wrote all those things from the day before's list plus all that I needed to do that day.

I'm learning to be honest with myself.
I must ask myself what I'm actually capable of doing in a day, factor in time for a few 'unexpecteds', and then do the best I can with God's strength.
And if I only make a little bit of progress on some of the things, that is okay.
Small progress is still progress.

* What have you found that helps you have a better attitude, and thus, a better day?
Please share!


  1. You are right: our attitudes are the key. Before my feet touch the floor, I recite (and sometimes MAKE myself recite) "This is the day that the Lord has made, I WILL be glad and rejoice in it." It's in the little things. My friend Marti says about her time with God: Face God, then Facebook. So thankful to read your posts! They are such a blessing and encouragement to me! Hugs from France!

  2. Reading my bible before I do anything else is key for a better attitude, that is certain! We also start our school day off with prayer. When we "forget", the day shows it. :) I also have learned that asking for help is not weakness - it shows strength. I have to ask God for it, and my family for it. Pride entering in any area in any form ALWAYS leads to a bad day and attitude. Eating right is also key for me. If I eat the wrong things, it physically and emotionally affects me. I haven't arrived - I have a lot to learn yet - but I am getting there. :) I am like you - I like to be able check things off and see the progress. Knowing that I'm not the only one who struggles to see little progress and still progress is a good thing. :) Praying for you all!