Thursday, March 3, 2011

♫ ♪ stop, look and listen, baby...that's my philosophy♫

If I had to condense my thoughts about purposeful living into one main idea, I would say it would be about not letting life happen to you, but rather, taking what life may throw, and choosing specifically how you are going to handle it.  There are times when this seems easy, and times when it seems nearly impossible.  Times when I totally crack and say "who cares..." and just let the frustrations of life wash over me.  But as I grow, and make healthier choices, I am noticing these times are fewer, and less extended periods of time.

Even in the midst of a bout of PMDD, or simply other difficult seasons, it is possible to maintain some semblance of purposefulness.  There are two key things that I have found to be helpful in not completely losing it.  They can, and have, help keep me from throwing in the towel and/or making poor choices.  The first thing is to just STOP.  Do NOT pass Go, do not collect $200.  (Monopoly, anyone??)  Even when I'm feeling like a complete loon, I can be sane enough to, at the very least, look at my situation and say, "now would not be a good time to make a decision on this."  (STOP!)  It might be something related to handling a discipline situation with the kids (STOP!), or making a purchase (STOP!).  Most definitely not a good time for dealing with relationship issues (FOR-THE-LOVE-OF-ALL-THAT-IS-GOOD...STOP!!!).  Get the point?  Not everything has to be done or dealt with right now.  Often, insisting on doing something when I am in a poor frame of mind will only end up causing more grief, or a bigger problem to deal with later.  It's better to just wait.  Sometimes waiting can seem like inactivity, but I've learned that waiting can be one of the most productive and purposeful things that we can do in life.

Secondly, I can also recognize that during certain seasons in life, (maybe they last only a week, maybe much longer), when I know I am not really seeing things clearly, it is so very vital to have someone else that you trust to ask for help in gaining perspective.  Regularly I will say to Todd something along the lines of  "I'm feeling completely off my rocker, and I'm gonna lose it, so you need to step in..."  Admittedly, I might wait a tad bit too long to reach this point, and usually there's steam coming out my ears, and, as Todd so eloquently put it last night, my head is about to spin completely around.  And just maybe it involves him physically placing himself between me and a certain child, for both of our safety...look, I didn't say I had this down pat, I said I'm growing, okay?  But in all seriousness, coming to a place of knowing ourselves and our limits, and asking for help is a sign of maturing.  (Not that I'm saying I'm mature, of course!)  ;)  I have friends who I can simply tell about a situation, and how I'm feeling about it, and know that the feedback they give me is much truer that what I'm thinking.  Even when they tell me I'm wrong and say "Jess, I don't think that...fill in the blank...[is really what happened], [is what that person meant], [everyone hates you and thinks you're a complete control freak and that you should never open your mouth and speak your dumb ideas ever again] know, those are just some random examples off the top of my head.  (Just thought I share a quick glimpse into the Crazytown that is my mind on occasion.)

So stopping and looking is what it comes down to.  Wait, and ask for help.  Listen to what others, and God, are saying.  Stand still and don't do anything crazy.  These are my mottos for right now.  Yesterday I meditated on these verses, words spoken by King Jehoshaphat as he and the people of Israel faced a battle bigger than what they could handle.  Seems like a good plan...
"O, our God...we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” ~2 Chronicles 20:12
And to end on a light note (because after all, scripture says, laughter is good like a medicine), but in keeping with the theme of the's a funny little video clip for ya...(apparently Elvis had the the same philosophy):

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