I am sitting at my dining room table. Dinner is hot, the kids are eating, and they are making tons of noise.
I’m looking around and it seems like chaos.
It is noisy. There is mess. There are things that didn’t get done that “should” have gotten done.
I am frustrated with the lack of order and apparent disregard for cleanliness illustrated by my kids stuff being strewn onto every possible surface of our house. (Ok it's not just their stuff, it’s mine too.)
We’re all so messy. I really need to organize my house so we have places to put stuff away. I really need to teach my kids how to pick up after themselves. I really should be more organized, more on top of things, and a better mom.
We really are failing at having a Pinterest worthy home at all times, and the pressure to measure up is really wearing on me. I should be better. My kids should know better. I am really failing at this whole mom thing.
Then I stop.
Why am I choosing to beat myself up for this?
Why is some stuff not put away such a problem?
What is really going on right now?
I am spinning in my head, thinking terrible thoughts about myself and my life, all because of what my eyes see.
So I choose a new thought intentionally: This is as good as it gets.
There is no future moment that is better than the one I'm in right now.
That moment in the future where the house is clean? It has grumpy kids who are mad because mom made them clean. (Or something else like that.)
I think it will be better there, but there will just be a new set of challenges.
So I ask myself: What is going on right now that is available for me to love?
I look away from the mess.
I see my kids. They are eating their dinners as they laugh at each other’s jokes, tease each other playfully, and tell stories.
Their eyes are sparkling.
They are happily eating their food and enjoying their lives.
All of this is available for me to enjoy right now, but I have been blind to it.
Instead of enjoying the meal as a family, I have been lost in my thoughts of self doubt and criticism for myself and my kids.
I feel disappointed, frustrated, and worried. It feels so terrible.
But I stop it all with that thought: This is as good as it gets.
Then I choose to open my eyes.
I will no longer blind myself with judgement.
My life is enough, even with stuff out that I wish we had put away.
Everything else I was thinking is just unnecessary judgement that keeps me blinded to the beauty of reality.
What I think is reality is not reality. Reality is what I choose to see.
My reality is a choice.
Just like the saying goes, the glass is half full or half empty - and it’s a choice. It is not the glass’s decision. It is the viewers decision.
In my own life I can choose to see heartache, mess, and chaos and be miserable…
Or I can choose to see love, beauty, and happiness and be joyful.
It is my choice.
It is a constant decision between misery and joy.
CS Lewis explained the difference between joy and misery this way:
“Son,'he said,' ye cannot in your present state understand eternity...That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, "No future bliss can make up for it," not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say "Let me have but this and I'll take the consequences": little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death. The good man's past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven: the bad man's past already conforms to his badness and is filled only with dreariness. And that is why...the Blessed will say "We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven, : and the Lost, "We were always in Hell." And both will speak truly.”
I put myself in misery when I choose to be miserable.
When I choose to open my eyes to the joys around me, even the things that I once called terrible, will be made wonderful to me.
Right now I can just stop focusing on the mess, and focus on the joy, but there will come a time when I will not consider the mess a mess. It will not be negative at all.
Another point CS Lewis makes is that “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.”
There is joy, I just have to open my eyes to see it.
And I do want to seek the joy.
So I am knocking.
And as I seek, I find.
My brain has shown me this is true in any situation. I am still working on making it be a natural reaction, but for now, I practice it.
I desire to see the joy in the chaos and the beauty in the storm.
Motherhood is no small feat. It is full of disappointments, frustration, and worry.
It doesn’t always have to be this way though.
Peace can come through choosing deliberate thoughts.
I choose to be content. I choose to be happy. I choose to be joyful. Not someday when my list is checked off and all the things are accomplished, but today, right in the middle of chaos.
True joy comes from bending my will to the mold of what life has given me, instead of railing against my life, wishing it were different.
All of the sorrows that hold me down are optional. I do not have to see them as sorrows.
This is why I do the work to be intentional about my thoughts.
I want to choose to see the joy.
The joy is there, I just have to open my eyes!
And so, sitting at dinner, I marvel in all the goodness and blessings I have. I see the love. I hear the laughter. I enjoy my life. It was all always there, I just couldn't see it.
I hope you are able to see the joy in your own life this week.
You got this Mama!
P.S. Read my latest post about how my brain wants to freak out when my husband has a bad day here.
Or read about how my brain thinks I have nothing to say here:
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