Thursday, April 28, 2011

uncovering the smile when life gets tense

My daddy used to say that either we are in a trial, we just got out of a trial, or a trial is on the horizon. Not too comforting at first glance, but reality none-the-less.

On this side of heaven, trials will come. Some are the big, life-stamping trials. The ones that end up defining us. But many are the small, minute-by-minute frustrations of life that aim to steal the smile.

The pressures of the everyday come...every day. If I'm not diligent, then all the stuff that needs my tending can wipe away the grin. And I'm left standing there slicing apples with a frown.

But I want my kids to remember their younger years with me having engaged eyes and a joyful face. As the daily demands increase and the mental list grows, he is teaching me how to rejoice in my soul so that it comes out on my face. So here are some practical ways that I choose the smile.

  1. When life gets tense, I lay down the list.

    Literally. Figuratively. I set it down. I remind myself that I have enough time to do what he has for me to do. And loving those beside me is what fulfills his ultimate call.

  2. I pause to gain perspective.

    I sometimes escape to the laundry room and close the door; or go for a long the mailbox. Alone. Or just close my eyes and slip away in my mind while the wildness grabs onto my legs. The point is in the pause.

  3. I ask for his vision for that moment, or for that person.

    The only life-giving perspective is his perspective. When I have stepped away, I commune with him. This is especially vital when one of my little ones is acting particularly irrational or excessively whiny. {One of my flesh triggers.} To see as he sees spurs love.

  4. I choose to engage the now and the one standing before me.

    As I commune with him, he often reminds me of the blessings in the moment or the gifts within the other person. The ways he designed them with precision and purpose. They too are a work in progress, just like me. The smile slowly creeps out.

I fail at times. The stuff coming at me occasionally wins. But he is either the God reigning over every single circumstance--big and small--or he is not the God revealed in the scriptures. Believing him sovereign and love mingled together changes me. It changes my face.

Bringing it home...

What brings a smile to your face even when life comes with fierce persistence?

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