(a short excerpt from the book I’m writing – and WILL eventually finish)
Why is it that when faced with a problem, my first inclination is to do something? To take action? Why is it that my knee jerk reaction is to throw myself into problem solving mode? Then, when I’ve expended every effort, when I’ve explored every possible option, only then do I pray? Why is it so counter-intuitive to pray first? Why is it that I, more often than I’d like to admit, see prayer as a last resort in a time of crisis instead of a first line of defense?
This is not something I’m proud of, nor is it something I can rationalize or dismiss. What I want to do when faced with a challenge or crisis, is immediately, intuitively go to God for help, but instead, time and time again, I find myself at the end of my own abilities, begging God for direction and ideas – and supernatural intervention.
Prayer is seriously underrated. We tend to keep it in a nice, neat little box, taking it out only when we need it. In the words of Robin Williams as the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin:
“Phenomenal cosmic power! itty bitty living space.”
I’ve found that when I’m actively committed to consistently spending time with God, the tendency to handle things on my own is automatically diminished. When I’ve already spent time with God on a given day, reaching out to Him as a first response when something happens later in the day is much more intuitive. I’m also less easily discouraged because when I talk to God first, my approach to a problem is much clearer and calmer. I’m not saying that every time I bring a problem to God I come away with a crystal clear approach to successful and immediate problem solving.
But in the great debate of whether prayer changes God’s mind or our hearts, chalk this one up to a changed heart.
“We can always find all kinds of small, dead-end projects to work on, but getting a lot done is not the same as getting the most important things done. If you start work by jumping right into the hardest task for the day, you’ll get bigger and better results and feel better, too. Often things we’ve dreaded, dodged and evaded forever take less than half an hour when we finally face up to them.”
We’ve adopted a saying in our house: “eat the frog.”
What does that mean? If the hardest and worst thing on your to-do list is to eat a live frog, just get it over with. With that nagging burden gone, you’ll feel re-energized and the momentum will carry over into everything else you do. Because after eating a live frog, your day has nowhere else to go but up. (http://www.eatthatfrogmovie.com)
I need to work on invoices today. HATE doing it. But it’s my frog.
What’s your frog?
“Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.”
I find myself saying certain things that, in the future, when they are adults, I’m sure my kids will remember and make fun of. My own personal idioms. Keep in mind that these phrases are spoken in a lighthearted, casual tone. I’m not angry or snippy when I say this stuff (okay – MOST of the time.) So. Here’s stuff I say a LOT.
“Yo. Pretend I’m your mother and that you respect me.” (When I’ve asked a kid to do something one too many times.)
“Is that working for you? Cause it’s not really working for me.” (In the middle of a tantrum.)
“Handle it differently, please.” (most recently, this is being said to PinkGirl when her first response is to yell at someone – usually her brother – when she perceives herself a victim of something “unfair.” Also said to FavoriteSon when he reacts to the yelling.)
“It’s not grace when you give it that way.” (Said when someone makes a “sacrifice” or “compromise” for another, but in the process, makes sure everyone knows how put out they are by doing it.)
“Solve your problem.” (In response to whining, complaining or having a fit.)
“What do you git, when you have a fit?” (answer? “nothin.”)
“Will you be complaining all day?” (Self-evident. I asked PinkGirl this question yesterday and she flippantly replied, “Pretty much.” I am so proud!)
“Don’t eat it.” (Deadpan response when a kid – ANY kid, says they see something yucky or gross. OFTEN said when a kid says they see a bug or lizard, but also when they say the see dog poop, rotten food in a forgotten lunch box, a cat hairball . . . you get the idea.)
“Are you done yet? How bout now? Now? What about now?” (This one is just fun. It can be used in the middle of a tantrum, when a kid is complaining about something or even when they are just thinking about something.)
“Leave no trace.” (Picked this one up from cub scouts. I say it when I see a kid’s stuff – aka “path of destruction” – dumped in the common living areas.)
“Isn’t it annoying that you had to stop (playing/watching tv/doing something fun) and come back and (do that/pick that up/put that away)? If you had (done it/picked it up/put it away) before, you wouldn’t have to do it now. You could still be (playing/watching tv/doing something fun).” (oh. they are getting TIRED of this one.)
“Good enough isn’t good enough.” (I rarely finish this sentence. I usually say, “Good enough . . . ” and the kids finish it in that “alright, already” tone of voice, while rolling their eyes.)
“Sometimes it’s not enough to do your best, sometimes you have to do what’s required.” (Got this one from Winston Churchill.)
Mom, can I . . . (something ridiculous – or ridiculously expensive)? “Yes” “REALLY?” “No.” (PinkGirl recently asked me if I would buy her the Barbie Mariposa doll. I said “Yes” and she looked at me and said. “I’m not fallin for it.”)
This was fun! I may make a page and keep adding to this.
What about you? What will your children remember and imitate when they are grown, sitting around the Thanksgiving table, doing the “do you remember . . . ” thing? What will they say to their kids? What do you remember hearing from your parents – over and over and over . . . ?”
If you have more than a comment’s worth of examples and happen to write a post on your own personal idioms, include a link to your post in a comment here! I know I would love to read it! I might even discover some new things to repeatedly say to my kids.