I'm doing a new thing this month. I've been feeling pretty tired with words lately; I haven't had much spark to write. I've often thought it would be fun to have some kind of writing challenge, something that would push me.
And then in an online group I'm in (The Influence Network-check it out!) a friend asked if anyone else was doing the 31 day writing challenge in October. I had to know more! It was already October 1st when I read that, so I had to decide quickly to jump in, and then we were on a trip visiting family so I thought, what better time to push myself to write something on the spur of the moment than when I have NO time to write because I'm having so much fun visiting and playing! Well I stayed up just a few minutes later than I would have and cranked out my first post.
I'm going to try REALLY HARD to make it all 31 days because I just want to practice writing and it seems like such a good way to push myself. If you want to read it, check in as often as you like!
I'll link to each post here as I publish them each day.
My topic is Silver Lined Lessons. So often there is a pain point during our day right? Whether it's emotional pain, scheduling pain, parenting pain, marriage pain, it inevitably shows up. I don't like to waste the pain, and there is always something we can learn from it. So, my goal during the 31 days is to keep my eyes wide open to the lessons that God wants to teach me through whatever challenges arise during the day. Wisdom. I need it so badly these days. I'm hoping this will train my mind and heart to seek it wherever it can be found during the minutes of my day.
So, without further delay, here is a retroactive posting 0f what I wrote on Oct. 1, 2016:
2 drumsticks. 4 kids. Of course everyone wants one. “Pick a number between 1 and 10" one of the dads said. 2 winners, 2 losers. The boy who lost just couldn’t stand it. He instantly burst into a cacophonic mix of shrieks and tears. I escorted him down the stairs for the sake of everyone’s ears.
Through his screams he said “I didn’t know what they meant by 1 to 10! I want a drumstick!” In sympathy, his cousin had actually offered a drumstick to him after he had rightfully won it. As his parent though, I had to make the decision that though his cousin’s gesture was very selfless and kind, our boy could not be the recipient of the coveted drumstick because I didn’t want to reinforce the behavior of fit throwing=getting what you want.
As I laid on that cool basement floor next to him (and somehow didn’t get that angry racing-heart feeling in my chest that I usually do), I thought about how easy it would be to just give him the drumstick so his tears and screams would stop and we could all carry on with dinner. But in some God-given moment of perseverance I saw his future and realized that this moment of pain would be well worth it when the stakes are much higher someday.
He is going to have so many times in his life where he doesn’t get what he wants, and he is going to have to be okay with it. Even when the person sitting right next to him gets that very thing.
In that moment I realized I do the exact same thing. I scream and pout and have an adult version of a temper tantrum when life seems unfair. When someone else gets the thing I’ve been longing for. All the while God waits patiently by, giving me as much time as I need to see that life doesn’t have to revolve around the thing I think I can’t live without.
In this denial of getting what I want when I want it, character is forged. I learn to wait. I learn to be content with the very generous table that has been spread before me, even if the menu doesn’t match my friend’s.
I can scream and kick on the floor or I can pull up a seat to the table and gratefully receive what’s been given to me. So often I choose to have the fit, but in His grace, God has given me these wonderful kids who keep teaching me these things. In the midst of correcting my kids’ behavior, over and over I see how much I still have to learn for myself. God doesn’t leave me in my selfish, childish state, and that’s a gift. Even if it requires some flailing limbs and tears and a skipped drumstick.
(this is a picture of Sucia Island. We were visiting family in the San Juans when this chicken incident happened!)