Who signed me up for this?

284494SDC[1]My 5-year-old is still struggling with the fact that we go to school each day of the week.  He goes in the afternoon so the other day we finished lunch and I told him it was time to gather up his things for school.  With a groan and slight stomp he asked, “Why do we keep going back there!?  I wish you had never signed me up for this!”.  I had to laugh – he thought school was an option and I can’t imagine his ideas for how we could better use our time in the afternoon.

There have been moments in my short, but eventful life as a mother when I have had the same thoughts.  Sometimes I look around me and think, I didn’t sign up for this.  I remember standing at the changing table one day looking down at my crying one month old, holding a dirty diaper in my hand and realizing that my other 2 boys were screaming and crying while pulling on my pant legs.  I actually started laughing out loud.  All three of my kids were crying and I decided I had better laugh rather than join them.  The laughter helped me escape the pressure, the noise, and the temptation to feel stuck. 

Mothering can get overwhelming in a split second.  I’m sure you have your stories of those moments when you looked around and had to work really hard to keep it together.  Each of us handle stress differently and I think God knows exactly what we need when we find ourselves in these situations.  Part of what He’s given us is the ability to gain perspective. 

The dictionary defines perspective as “the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship”.  That’s a fancy way of saying it’s our view of the situation.  We get to choose what data is relevant and how meaningful it is to our relationship to the situation.  Before I get too deep here let’s get a working example:  My sweet friend came over the other day and as she was leaving her preschooler vomited on our carpet in the entry way.  To add to the situation my friend’s 6 month old was ready to leave and was crying a lot in hopes of being released from the straps of his car seat.  I could see the panic in my friend’s eyes.

I can guess that the data she initially found “relevant” were the chicken nugget chunks on the carpet and the reality of one child feeling sick and the other screaming.  My focus was on her – I didn’t want her to worry about it at all.  People are much more important than carpet, and the sound of a screaming baby doesn’t even register in my ears anymore.  We were both in the situation but seeing things from different vantage points.

My friend did a great job focusing on her daughter and letting everything else go.   She actually listened to me when I said, “Don’t worry about it”.  I learned a long time ago that people are more important than things.  I was not going to allow this event (or data) to be meaningful to me.  I wanted my friendship and the little girl’s health to be the most important things and I think between my friend and I we accomplished our goal.

The Bible talks about where God brings us in our journey.  My neighbor’s favorite verse is from Jeremiah 29:11.  The prophet Jeremiah tells the people: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  We were talking about that verse one day and I couldn’t help but challenge her to read that entire chapter.  I love that verse and I believe it is true – but we often miss the other part of God’s warning to His people.  He told them that they would struggle for 70 years before He would show them His plans and bring them back to the place He promised them.

God doesn’t want to do us harm, but just like every good parent He won’t keep harm from us.  It is a natural course of life on this sinful earth.  When we feel trapped and overwhelmed we need to remember that this is EXACTLY what we signed up for.  This is life – it’s ups, downs and in-between times are all part of the ride.  We might have to struggle for a little while, but God knows the plans for our lives.  He has a hope and a future for us that we can’t begin to imagine!   Thank goodness we serve a God whose perspective is not limited by time or space.  He sees our past present and future all at once and we need to sit back and enjoy the ride!

Don’t let your perspective become full of data that is fleeting.  Let’s get our perspective in line with God’s timing and His vision for our lives.  Let’s sign up to be on HIS team, listening to HIS direction and accepting HIS peace.  No matter what happens today you can handle it because you have the Creator of the universe on your side. 

You are doing great!  Keep going and keep looking to the God of the heavens, He’s got the whole world in His hands and thankfully that includes you and me! 😮

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