“Back to school” felt really different this fall. And I did not like it one bit.
My oldest daughter really took responsibility this year.
She looked up her schedule.
She organized her supply needs.
She drove herself to registration.
And to school.
And to practice.
All. By. Herself.
Before she left for school one morning last week, I began to load her water bottle with ice so it would still be cold by the time her 3:30pm cross-country practice rolled around. She’d already prepared her own breakfast and lunch; this was my small token effort to come alongside. But she interrupted me, saying that she wanted to do it… a particular way.
I felt rejected.
She didn’t seem to require anything from me. She just didn’t need me. While we’re raising our children to prepare them for launch into adulthood, I wanted her to need me (for more than just registrar fees, anyway).
Do not be anxious.
Easy to say, isn’t it?
Harder to do.
I wouldn’t normally say I’m a person given to anxiety. I would, however, freely admit that I get overwhelmed. Perhaps they’re not entirely different.
God’s Word speaks about anxiety and how He wants us to handle it:
…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6 ESV)
The Greek word translated “anxious” is mérimna. It has some of the meanings we’d expect, such as worry, fear or care. But it also carries the connotations of being drawn in many directions, fracturing a person’s thinking into many parts.
I’m confident they’ve been trained.
Fire alarm batteries know how to strike with the precision of Seal Team 6. Their needy chirp to be replaced always occurs in the dark of the night. When it’s cold. And when my husband is out of town.
When you’re already overwhelmed (and trying to sleep), this is not a welcome noise.
I knew it would be a big commitment.
As part of leadership development, employees that have been identified as having great potential are given “stretch assignments” that put them in situations that will push the boundaries of their knowledge and skills. These experiences broaden their professional horizons and cultivate new traits, equipping them for the next steps in their career progression. Writing for thirty-one days on the same topic has been a such a stretch assignment for me. (Heck, just writing for 31 days straight was a stretch!) This goal seemed to sit barely on this side of the line between possible and impossible. Yet, here we are, thirty-one days and posts later.
Do the words we speak to others matter?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. –Philippians 4:8 NIV (emphasis added)
I confess I find this word in Paul’s list to be the least connected to all the others in Philippians 4:8.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (ASV, emphasis added)
Not that I don’t like lovely, mind you. I sure do. It’s just that when I hear the word, I always think of something pretty, or aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Occasionally, I hear it used to describe a particularly charming or kind woman, as well. And my definition isn’t too far off of Merriam-Webster’s:
No news is bad news in my little world.
I found (yet) another place where my pessimism reigns: communication. Specifically, the lack thereof. To me, the absence of information can only be interpreted negatively. Though there are juvenile aspects to this tendency (likely the residue from middle school girls’ tactics of ignoring someone when mad), I recognize that a large portion of it is simply my bias:
- If a lengthy period of time elapses between communication with a friend, I routinely begin to wonder whether something is amiss in our relationship.
- When someone offers feedback on a portion of my work, but doesn’t mention another aspect, I assume they didn’t appreciate the part they chose not to discuss with me.
- After posting a new blog, and receiving no comments from readers, I immediately believe the content didn’t resonate with anyone and therefore wasn’t valuable.
Yesterday didn’t start all that well.
I was awake for hours in the dark of the night. I spent more of it awake than asleep. (I’d love to tell you that I did something constructive or spiritual. But I didn’t. I just got irritated.)
I was greeted with some difficult news as soon as I sat down at my desk. Given my lack of rest, it took more of an emotional toll than it normally would. I had a very negative reaction to it, even though I knew I would respond differently — less pessimistically — with more rest in my system.
My post yesterday was a somewhat sarcastic rendition of my day’s events: the truth that God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23), but that I’d have to wait almost 24 hours to get another fresh start. I have noticed, however, that almost everything does seem to look a little brighter at the dawn of a new day. I subscribe to the notion that we should “sleep” on whatever is bothering us for a night.
With so much injustice happening the world-over, how are we to ‘think on’ things that are just?
It’s a four-letter word we use as an adjective, usually to to describe that something is “fitting” or “appropriate.” Some Bible translations render today’s word as “right” or “fair.” Paul urges his hearers to think on things that are just, as a way to guard their minds from anxiety and fear. In Biblical terms, “just” means
I didn’t even know this was a thing. Until today.
I started some mental meandering on who the most classic optimist is/was. Pollyanna (from the 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter) is the archetype. But I had no idea that there is a whole “principle” bearing this character’s name. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the Pollyanna Principle (courtesy of the all-knowing Wikipedia):