“If you don’t get everything you want, think of the things you don’t get that you don’t want.” ~ Oscar Wilde
On Friday I was staring down a very long list and starting to feel crabby. Stressed. Overwhelmed.
I need to do this and this and this, and then I have to do this and that and the other. Oh and I also have to finish that and fix this and send another…
To be honest, a lot of my days have started like this lately, under a cranky cloud fueled by my extremely long to-do list. It’s too much and I don’t want to do any of it!
Only it’s not really too much. It’s just life.
I know this because I ran my list past a friend and accountability partner just to be sure. She confirmed it.
I was actually kind of hoping she’d say I was trying to tackle too many projects and that I was being too hard on myself. But she said, “It sounds to me like those are all pretty important things you really do need to take care of.”
I decided to bring my list into my quiet time and pray over it, because I don’t like feeling crabby and stressed all the time.
I don’t like having my peace and my joy stolen from me. My sense of God’s presence.
And He’s said to cast all my cares upon Him, because He cares for me.
I’ve brought Him my to-do list in the past, and sometimes He’s pointed out things that shouldn’t have been on it. Things I needed to cross off or let go or give to someone else. Sometimes He’s given me wisdom – amazingly creative ways to tackle the most seemingly insurmountable tasks.
This time He reminded me to watch the way I talk to myself. The way I talk about the things on my list. I need to be careful how I frame them.
I’ve learned before that when we look at something in our lives, we tend to look it through a particular frame, a particular lens or perspective. Whatever frame we choose causes us to see it a certain way.
All kinds of things affect our frame choice – our background, our upbringing, our personality or temperament, our life experiences, our hormones, you name it! And most of the time it’s subconscious on our part.
But the thing is, it IS a choice.
We can reframe things – choose to see them differently – any time we want.
It doesn’t change the things themselves, but it changes our attitude toward them.
Here’s what it looks like to reframe the complaint: “I have to do laundry today.”
“I get to do laundry today… because unlike half of the world’s population, I’m blessed to have more clothes to wear than the ones currently on my back.”
Or: “I don’t have to do laundry. I choose to do it because I like feeling fresh and clean and so does my family! It’s one of the ways I express my love for them.”
I don’t have to exercise. I get to exercise. I get to take a few minutes out of my busy day to breathe deeply and stretch my muscles and take good care of the body God’s given me, to help it to function at its best.
I don’t have to do this unpleasant task or that difficult project … I do all of these things because they make it possible for me to do the things I want to do, the things I love to do — for me, for my family, for my ministry, for God’s kingdom and His glory.
And especially this one: I don’t have to have a “quiet time” or personal devotions or Bible study on a daily basis. I don’t have to spend time with Jesus. I don’t just need to (or need to get back to).
I get to!
I get to read my Bible without fear of being arrested or imprisoned for my faith. I get to spend time with the Creator of the universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Lover of My Soul, my Savior, Redeemer and Friend.
He actually invites me to spend time with Him.
He wants to spend time with me. He waits to spend time with me.
How can that ever be just one more thing on my to-do list?
I’m asking Him to help me reframe a lot of things this week…