It’s all in my perspective

We were sitting at the breakfast table several months ago and I bemoaned to Brian that this was going to be a rough day. The kids were tired and cranky and the day seemed to hold nothing but endless corrections.

I was ready to give up before I even started.

I was none too thrilled when Brian responded that, yes, I probably would. “Thanks for the encouragement!” I failed to notice he was semi-joking, and then he laughed and said, “well if you’re thinking like that before the day even starts, than, yes, you are going to have a bad day”

Yikes. He was so right.

How our day goes really has a lot to do with my perspective.

I can see the mess we made.

Or I can see the artwork that was created.

I can be annoyed at my kids’ childishness.

Or I can revel in the variety of personalities God has created in my little family.

I can see the the endless amounts of dishes.

Or I can see the blessing of a well nourished family.

I can see the failed ideals.

Or I can see the ways to make my reality work for our family.

I can see the the effects of a very busy 16 month old.

Or I can see his beautiful smile.

I can complain.

Or I can give thanks.

Some days go smoothly with my littles, and some days are rough. And you know the funny thing? The biggest factor in how my day goes depends on me. On my attitude, my perspective, and my focus.

When my kids are grumpy and I respond grumpy, we all just get grumpier. When my kids have bad attitudes and I respond with a bad attitude, we all just spiral into worse attitudes. When my kids are negative, and I respond negatively, negativity persists.

Treat a man as he appears to be, and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be. ~Goethe

I can change a whole day around with my own cheerful spirit. Those grumpy days? They are often feeding on me. Or at least I am not helping them change.

I can’t change circumstances and attitudes of others (even my children!), but with God’s help I can change myself.

When we are having a rough day, or a series of rough days, I usually don’t have to look to far to realize I’ve been feeding it. All of us are sinners, but I have the spirit in me to help me change. And each day I must make a choice to have the right kind of perspective.

And when my perspective changes, inevitably the perspective of those in my home change.

Today, I’m choosing to see the beauty in the mess. I’m choosing to let God infuse love, joy, and peace in my words and attitudes no matter what kind of spirits others have around me.

“The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace…” ~Gal. 5.22

Have you seen the power of your own spirit change the entire house?

Comments

  1. Oh, Johanna, how I needed this today! Thank you for this reminder, friend.

  2. Oh yes, my perspective changes everything. This has been particularly challenging lately as I’ve had such bad morning sickness. But even me having a “this is just a season” attitude helps a ton.

    • “This is just a season” is a very needed reminder sometimes….especially in your situation! Hoping you are seeing the light at the end of the sickness tunnel…

  3. Oh how true this is! :)

  4. Yep! The whole atmosphere in the home is made by the woman. It’s our choice to make heaven in our home. You got it more than exactly right!

  5. Absolutely and all the time! Love the Goethe quotes I think I need to post that one around–I tend to perpetuate issues more than I really want to admit.

    Near the end of Voskamp’s book, she says something like “Every breath is a battle between gratitude and grudgery.” (The alliteration as well as the coined word “grudgery” makes this thought so memorable and helpful to me.)

    And De Moss in her Choosing Gratitude book contrasts whining and worship. I really need the constant reminders of these (basic) concepts. I’ve greatly enjoyed finding more and more “gratitude” passages in my Bible reading as well. So thank you for the great reminder as I start this particular day!

    • Didn’t proofread well–just one Goethe quote! But thank you for it! :)

      • It’s a good enough quote to count as two. :)

        Love that Ann Voskamp quote. Thanks for sharing. I too find myself perpetuating issues instead of being the tool to redeem the situations.

  6. Yes! Yes! You are right! The attitude in my home has a direct correlation with my attitude.

    “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all int he name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Colossians 3:17

  7. This is the second blog post I’ve read just today talking about perspective! Maybe the world is trying to say something to me… 😉

    I’m normally positive, or rather I have a ton of patience, but yes there are those days when I just want to give up before anything bad has even happened. I never even thought to look at the pile of dishes as a sign that at least we’re well-fed. Truly a great way to look at life.

  8. Whew. This is where I live.

    The Goethe quote brought to mind The Happiness Project resolution, “Act the way you want to feel.” While one part of me wants to run from that advice, protesting, “I want to be real!” I’m realizing it IS very helpful advice. Sometimes just putting a smile on my face and *acting* patient (we’re potty-training here ;)) has an amazing effect on how I feel – and I realize my own negative perspective was nurturing my feelings of impatience and frustration.

    Like you, I ponder this phenomena on a spiritual/theological level. On the one hand, the love, gentleness, patience I’m seeking to show toward my children are the fruit of the Spirit – something I can’t simply “work up”. On the other hand, that choice to act loving [i.e. obey to command to love my neighbor as myself] when I feel the opposite is a very real way to “yield my members as slaves to righteousness” and is perhaps near the heart of what it means to walk in step with the Spirit.

    Thanks for posts like this that help me think about my daily life and my faith – where the rubber meets the road.

    • Such a familiar concept, but I too loved how Rubin put it. I also love C.S. Lewis’ quote:
      “Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”
      The intersection of where our faith meets real life is always a good discussion. Thanks for adding some great thoughts.

  9. I’ve been here so many times before, but on a particularly rough day today, I needed this reminder! Thanks for sharing from the heart and reminding us to change our perspective.

  10. Oh yes I have… I’ve been there countless times where I start bad and it gets worse. Kids are very perceptive although it doesn’t take much to see the difference between glowing eyes and a contented smile or an irritated frown and a strained voice. I find it helps, when I actually realize it’s happening, to stop everything, hunch down, grab my kids, hold them tight for a while without saying anything, and then looking at them in the eyes and tell them I love them. It’s easy to start afresh after that!! It also helps that my little one is really vocal about it too when we’re having a bad day… more than once I’ve felt my heart break a little when he looks at me and says “why you angwy, Mama??” A day can turn out to be soooooo different depending on our OWN attitude, and as usual, you put it into words so well. Thanks!!

    • LOVE the hug idea. I used to randomly yell out “family hug” and we would all run and huddle together in a big hug. It always helped lighten the mood. It’s been forever since I’ve done that so thanks for reminding me. :)

      • The random yell sounds like fun too :)

        The CS Lewis quote you mentioned in a reply also caught my attention some days ago when I read it on my FB feed. You end up loving someone when you act as if you did.

        I couldn’t help but notice – hehehe – that the picture of the “endless pile of dishes” is a nice pile of already clean ones 😉

        Have a great day today!

        • True, true. I was just really thankful that the moment I decided to get my camera and take a picture they were clean… 😉

  11. Good comments. I was a stay at home mom for six years…that was 28 years ago. It is so hard to appreciate the day to day occurences while they are actually happening. I know that when I stayed home I was concerned about the housework, having individual time with my kids, the meals that I was supposed to get made, the financial situation, the fact that I did not always feel optimistic and positive and that sometimes I was impatient and yelled too much at both my kids and my husband. Now after all these years I remember the time that we spent walking to the post office looking at leaves, bugs, worms, etc. I remember Joe and Sarah playing in boxes and climbing in the bottom kitchen cupboard after we took out all the plastic stuff. I remember our trips to the orchard in the fall, the snowmen we made in the winter, walking in the creek and catching tadpoles in the spring, and Little League in the summer. Every minute in every day was not wonderful, but the overall experiences were, and those are the memories that survive the test of time.

    • “Every minute in every day was not wonderful, but the overall experiences were, and those are the memories that survive the test of time.” — such a great perspective for me to remember while I am in the midst of the little years! Thank you for sharing!

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