Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
Since about the middle to end of April, I began to desperately pray these verses over myself. My patience had been deteriorating and irritability was at an all-time high. The distressing part of this was the unfortunate familiarity of it all. This is something I have struggled with long before the middle of April of 2017.
So many times I would lie in bed at night, full of guilt and regrets over my attitude during the day with my family. My tone was less than amicable. I was letting the smallest things be bigger than they needed to be and the big things all the more mammoth. I was going through these bouts where I would be so irritable with every little thing, all I wanted to do was sleep and be left alone. I was so tired of being talked to and asked questions and needed for things.
I did not want to be this person. I did not want to be consumed by moodiness and agitation so much that I wanted the whole world to leave me alone, especially my personal little world. When the nights would wind down and I could grasp some true peace and quiet, I would be overtaken with grief over how I behaved and how unloved I must have been making my family feel.
As I often do, I turned to God and let my prayers spill onto the paper of my journal. On April 25th as I was journaling about this struggle I wrote: “How am I going to love people when I am so selfish in my attitude?”. I know how Jesus loves me and how the awareness of His unceasing endearment affects me. He calls me to give that same love out to others, and I so badly want to love like He loves. The next morning I journaled: “God, I want You! I want Your ways! I want Your life for me, the life you call me to. I want to love your people!” That is when I took note of David’s words at the end of Psalm 139 in my journal. Afterward, I took my dry erase marker and wrote it on the mirror in my bedroom, on the mirror in my bathroom, and again on the dry erase board in my kitchen.
I knew I needed to be intentional, deliberate in seeking to grow in this area. I knew God heard my prayers, but I also knew I needed to put in some elbow grease of my own if I truly expected to get anywhere. I was aware I had a lot of selfish ways I needed to die to. I had to be on guard for this looming attitude of crossness. It was time for a game plan.
I prayed Psalm 139:23-24 at the beginning of my day, and I kept coming back to it throughout the entirety of the day. I clung to God through those verses steadfastly and I clung to my desire to be moved in my attitude just the same. I knew I was going to have to be ready for when things went awry, whether it be someone having a meltdown on the way home from wherever we were, someone asking me for something the moment I sat down or someone doing something that required me to redirect or correct their behavior for what seemed like the thousandth time.
This is my commitment, my charge and it is my responsibility to do it well with a heart of gratitude and grace. This is where the game plan would be coming in, and it had to start before our day ever really began. I resolved to institute a few different routines in my daily activities in hopes of putting this change in motion.
First and foremost, getting to bed early to ensure I have a great chance at waking up early. Rising for quiet time before the day takes off seems to help me get ahead of my emotions. I can plan out how I am going to react to the happenings of life throughout the day, expected as well as unexpected. This also helps to safeguard daily time with God’s word and direction.
Another aspect I started to implement was keeping a short list of tasks I want to assure get done by the end of the day. It’s usually three at max as far as housekeeping goes, because I regularly struggle with the daunting feeling of overwhelm when it comes to keeping up with chores. To keep this feeling in check I remind myself everything does not all have to be done in one day. It’s gonna be alright!
Then there are the days where even with all of the precautionary behavior in check life still hits the fan, and we all take a trip down crazy lane. This is when I have to stop myself, stop the kids, realize what is happening, and find a way to chill us all out. This is the perfect time to halt everything else that is going on, sit down, breathe, grab a book, and huddle together on the couch. My kids love when I read to them, and I myself am an avid lover of books. It is a grand opportunity to grasp some grounding and redirect our focus.
Something else we like to do when wildness takes hold is to learn how to turn our wills over to God. We grab one another’s hand, close our eyes, and thank the Lord for blessing us with being able to spend our days together. We ask Him to show us how to treat each other better, with respect, kindness, and love. We close with anything else that may be weighing on our minds and always with a “thank you and amen”.
All of this reminds me of how God is always giving us the opportunity to grow, to learn how to depend on Him with everything life throws around. Every single time He showcases His faithfulness and teaches me how to be faithful in everything that consumes my days. He teaches me about grace, how to receive it and how to give it back. He teaches me how to love, how to shed a light on the way everlasting, and how to persevere even when I mess up. He is an honorable Father that has promised to never forsake or abandon me, and I hope to exude this more and more to those around me all through my life.