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Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Which Lens Are You Looking Through?
This is a continuation of the previous 2 posts ...
so you'll probably want to read them first.
As I read through the last 2 posts, I thought that maybe it would be a good idea to show a concrete example, of choosing which lens to see life through.
A Bad Situation
At the beginning of January, I was going through a very difficult time in many areas of my life.
#1 My husband had hurt me deeply, which had created a brick wall in our communication.
#2 I had had a conversation with my son and his fiance where I finally had to excuse myself saying, "I am going to leave now, because I don't want to say anything I will later regret." (Later explaining to my son that the situation with Papa had created very raw emotions, and that I was unable to communicate clearly at the time, without emotion.)
#3 After a whirlwind two months, with visits from Carissa (3 weeks), Cassie (10 days), and Jeremiah (1 month) ... I was physically exhausted. During the same two months, I had also gone on 3 out-of-town trips, and we had had other out-of-town guests as well. While I LOVED having the big kids home, and entertaining guests, I was just plain tired.
#4 After a very difficult fall of homeschooling, and a relaxing winter break, I didn't know if I was ready to jump back into the difficult homeschooling that lay ahead for the spring. Although I have homeschooled for 18 years, our new children have presented QUITE the challenges academically (as I've shared in other posts).
So, which lens did I choose to look through when I viewed the facts of the situation?
The "Poor Me" Lens
#1 My husband is so mean. I can't believe he did that to me. I don't deserve to be treated that way.
#2 My son's fiance is so wrong. I can't believe she's mad at me. I haven't done anything wrong.
#3 Why do I have to keep entertaining my children's guests? Why won't they just give me a break? I just wanted to rest all of Christmas vacation.
#4 My children are so dumb. I can't believe they don't understand what I'm trying to teach them.
The "Why me?" Lens
#1 Why did I marry such a jerk? Why is he treating me this way?
#2 Why are my son and his fiance fighting with me? What could I have possibly done wrong?
#3 Why did I ever want so many children? They just wear me out.
#4 Why did I possibly think I could adopt 3 new kids. Why didn't I get some that I didn't have to work so hard with?
The "It's All About Me" Lens
#1. Doesn't my husband realize how wonderful I am?
#2 Can't my son and his fiance see that I'm always right?
#3 Why can't I just plan my vacations around what I want to do?
#4 I think I'll just throw all of the kids into public school, so that I can do what I want to do with my days.
The "Help Me Lord" Lens
#1 Lord, I know that communication is a two-way street. Please show me how I can break down the brick wall that I've erected between me and Papa. Forgive me for the anger that I have held against Papa.
#2 Lord, I know that I have a lot to learn as a future mother-in-law. Please show me how to break down the wall between me and Heidi. Forgive me for "losing it" during what could have been a helpful conversation for all of us.
#3 Lord, thank you for ALL of my children, and ALL of their friends. Thank you for giving us a house big enough to host all of our kids' parties and overnight guests. Help me to show my kids how much I love them. Help me to get the rest that I need, so that I can enjoy my time with my children and with their friends.
#4 Lord, thank you for these 3 precious children from Africa. Thank you for their desire to learn. Please, Lord, give me wisdom in how to meet their academic needs. Give me the energy I need to meet the needs of all 7 of the children that I am teaching at home this year. Thank you for the opportunity that I have to teach my children. Thank you for the blessing of homeschooling the past 18 years.
Everyone of us has the choice to make, daily, about which lens we choose to look at our life through. In January, while I definitely had a few of the "poor me" thoughts, and the "why me" thoughts ... I CHOSE to focus on the "Help me Lord" perspective.
When I wrote the post on January 4th, about "running away from home" ... I chose not to "tell all", and "air my dirty laundry" ... I chose to tell you that I was "exhausted and at the end-of-my-rope physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually." I didn't "run away" in order to make my husband feel bad ... or to make my children feel bad ... I "ran away" because I knew that I needed time with the Lord, time to rest, to pray, to think, to plan. (Which is what I shared with you all on my blog.) I chose to focus on what I needed to do with the Lord, and what He needed to do in ME, rather than focusing on what I wished the Lord would do with my husband, my son's fiance, my children, etc...
As I said in my previous post ...
I am not responsible for other people's actions.
I am responsible for my reaction.
I hope that you will make the choice ... today, tomorrow, and next week, to CHOOSE the "Help Me Lord" perspective, when you face trials of all kinds.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. ... Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
James 1:2-6, 12