“There is no one righteous, not even one;” Romans 3:10 (NIV)
It only took eight years, but I’m done. Finished. I’ve finally had enough and am ready to call it quits. With control. With perfectionism. With letting circumstanced determine my mood, attitude, and the way I treat those around me. Especially those I love.
I don’t know if it was one particular event or just a series of years where God has been trying to get my attention and I finally looked up and realized the billboard was directed at me, but one day God opened my eyes to see what truly mattered. It was sometime this past summer and I realized that my children are growing up. I only have a short window of time left with them and once again I was reminded that time is fleeting. Maybe it was because summer was almost over and it barely felt like it had begun. Maybe it was because we were given so many wonderful opportunities together this summer to bond and be together and God used those times to remind me of what life used to be like and how it could be even better than before. Maybe it was all of that or none of that or a combination. I’m not sure but I realized I have a choice and I need to choose wisely…or the time to choose will be gone and what will I have left? Broken relationships? Children who can’t wait to leave the house and never return? Maybe children who enjoy our relationship but I’ve soured them on life, giving the impression that being a grown up is full of hard work, sour faces, stress, and responsibility.
So, I decided right then I wanted to live life differently, the way I used to approach life. I know the significance of eight years. I know what happened to trigger the change of my mindset but I also know while the circumstances surrounding my shift weren’t in my control, the fact I allowed my mindset to shift was. And still is. I can continue making those around me miserable or I can choose the better path.
And so today, I just decided to quit. Quit making myself miserable by putting things before the people in my life. My husband, my kids, my health, all my relationships are more important than deadlines, stuff, spotless houses, perfect bodies – much more important. This doesn’t mean I’m quitting boundaries, rules, and teaching important life skills. It means I’m quitting my old approach and instead asking with kindness. It means paying attention to the people in my life more than my surroundings. It means looking in their eyes and speaking softly and kindly instead of barking orders as my stress level reaches new heights. Because nothing, and I mean nothing, can’t be fixed, washed, or cleaned easier than repairing a broken relationship or healing a wounded heart, not even stepping in dog poop which I referred to in an earlier post.
I wish I’d learned things quicker, but I’m glad God is patient and keeps lovingly guiding me toward His version of perfect even when I haven’t looked up long enough to see the billboard glaring in my eyes.
© Cheri Swalwell 2015