Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Choosing Contentment: Part II

So it’s just me and my little chatty man on Thursday. I whipped out my calendar to assess what’s happening in the short term and nearly swooned. There are essentially no significant daytime “windows” for more than a week for stuff that really needs to get done. And now I have a day-and-a-half to play Cherry-O with Mr. Activity.

Red Light! Stop! Pause! Why so negative? What am I thinking?

My thoughts shifted immediately to Celine Dion and her apparent sadness over too little time spent with her child. And I thought about Sarah Bragg and what she said about contentment being a choice. I connected those two dots and found myself in the middle of decision-making process. I could spend the rest of the day fretting about what I “should” be doing, or I could seize the moment with my youngest son. I might never have another opportunity quite like it. Cherry-O. Batman. Forty-three continuous rounds of pick-up sticks. Whatever. Perhaps this is what I should be doing.

Just Daniel and me.

All of a sudden, I realized I was smack in the eye of a blessed opportunity. It was a beautiful day in Texas (85 degrees in November!), so we went to the playground. When we got home, we read books, did crafts, had a little Bible study, and just kind of hung out. When I was putting Daniel to bed that night, he said “Mommy, I’m sad this day is over.” And I was too. I didn’t get a single thing “accomplished” and it certainly wasn’t how I planned to spend the day. But Daniel and I built memories together and we created a day that neither of us will long forget.

A near-perfect day, actually. That almost wasn’t…

Question: What choices are you making when things don’t go as planned? Is there such a thing as emotional flexibility? Can you stop and "pause" and be deliberative about your emotional responses... continually seeking out what's good... versus riding the wave of feelings?

Coming Tomorrow: A Biblical Perspective on Contentment

(Photo of Daniel and his "Hugging Machine")


Anonymous said...

Thank you once again for some perspective. I love this column and can so identify with it..including the "chatty man" part! What "mama" said is true, "It just goes by so quickly..enjoy every second."

P.S. I think those are my neighbors teeth!!! (If not, can they be??!!!) Carrie B.

Sarah Onderdonk said...

Oh, Carrie! Too funny!!! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

tammy said...

I think one of the major themes of the bible is contentment and it is tied to submission to God.

Years ago I read a book by Elizabeth Elliott that gave me a new perpective. She said unexpected interuptions are really God's plan for our day.

So when my "to do" list gets crashed, I try to think...ok, God what's your plan for me today?

When I submit and embrace the "revised" day that God made for me - true contentment and joy comes - often with the gift of a deepened relationship or spiritual growth. And guess what, my "to do" list seems to shrink.

When I don't submit, nothing goes my way, I'm frustrated and discontent, and nothing seems to get marked off my "to do" list - what a surprise.

Sarah Onderdonk said...

Tammy, you are absolutely right on there. That's the heart of the matter. What a wonderful and liberating perspective!

For years, I was frustrated with lack of "clarity" around the direction I was being taken. I wanted to have a roadmap with mile markers and a clear end in sight. More and more, I see that God is in the journey... and we're not to wait until we achieve better end-goal vision to submit... we're to trust in His steerage along the way.

People are always asking me, "What's your degree program at DTS?" Or, "What are you doing there?" My reply, "I'm not really sure," used to bother me. What am I doing there? What am I doing here? Why am I blogging? I don't exactly know. I just feel quite certain that I'm supposed to be doing both right now. And as Junie B. Jones would say, "And that's all."

Tammy, thank you for sharing your insights here!

Love, Sarah

della said...

This was exactly what I needed today. My $1900 dental bill more than tripled yesterday and it was an effort to hold the tears back. "Perspective, perspective," I kept telling myself. If only I'd seen Daniel's photo earlier ... I may have been able to save some money.

No doubt this day will go down in history as one of Daniel's "best days ever!"

Thank you for reminding us to savor every beautiful moment!

Sarah Onderdonk said...

Della... I'm sorry! That's a big bill! Whoa. Will e-mail you. I'm glad that Daniel's pic could make you smile. Carrie B. has first dibs on those teeth, though (for her neighbor).

Speaking of Carrie... Jamey, are you out there? I laughed so hard yesterday I nearly passed out. It was the scene of the first-grade City Park field trip. Carrie was recounting the time she got attacked by a squirrel in the ladies' room. We don't need to go into the details here (please let's not!). But she says it was you who she believes came running to her aid...

Always an incredible adventure with the joyful and wonderful Mrs. Blake.

Della... big hug to you.

Love, Sarah