Moments. Our lives are broken down into them. They seem so little, but each one catapults into the next and together they write the story of our lives. They lay out our future.
It is in the moment…
We have been confronted with an ugly comment.
We have been turned down for a position.
Our kids are ALL having meltdowns…at the same time.
Our spouse did not show up when we needed them.
We were lied to.
A competitive parent has said something critical of our child.
It is those such moments in our everyday lives.
So, what are we going to do with them?
My oldest son, Zachary, has been challenged throughout his life with the effects of ADHD. Along with the ADHD, God wired him with a beautiful, sensitive, and determined spirit. That spirit came with a desire to do well and when he could not get his body and mind to consistently cooperate with his heart, he would become extremely upset and his confidence would slide and his sweet little heart would break. Looking at the big picture only caused him to become overwhelmed and more frustrated. Therefore, one of my strategies very early on became that of breaking life down into manageable moments for him.
I think he was only about three years old when I began utilizing that simple strategy with him.
It is not fancy. It is really quite basic. It is summed up like this:
Ownership over our actions and thoughts. Every moment in life, we are given the opportunity of choice. We break them down into three manageable choices.
- Make the moment better.
- Make the moment worse.
- Make the moment the same.
I can choose to take any moment, not the whole grand problem….just that simple moment, hold it captive, and make it better by choosing the way I handle my attitude and emotions in the situation. I can find myself a step closer to solving a problem.
Or, I can choose to take any moment and make it worse by allowing my emotions to manage me as opposed to me managing my emotions. In turn, I and the others around me become more agitated and no resolution or betterment takes place. However, I do find myself in a deeper pit of negativity.
Finally, I can choose to take any moment and keep it the same. Right where I am. Same reaction. Same emotions. Change nothing. If it was a great moment working well for me, well that is fantastic! However, if it was a stinky moment causing me great frustration, not so fantastic.
It is simple,
but encompasses a game changer in life…
I have a choice over how I respond.
For Zachary, it has allowed him to grab onto that moment and make the one choice to better just that moment. This small choice and measure of effort would then propel him into the next moment which would inevitably be better than the prior, and before he knew it, he would find himself back to a place of peace.
Hmmm….Maybe it is not just a strategy for children, though.
As adults, do we need to break issues down into manageable moments?
Could we use a little filter on our thoughts, words, and actions to push our best foot forward?
I can be honest and tell you I was one of those parents. Teaching it and preaching it, but not connecting with the implementation of it in my own life. But, over time, I have been convicted of the necessity of that purposeful thought process. I am definitely a work in progress! However, that deliberation has put a filter on my heart when my emotions started taking over. It has saved my children from being at the receiving end of an overabundance of screeching mommy moments (yes…still not foolproof, though…my kids would attest to that!). It has saved my husband from words I would regret later. And it has saved me from ending up in that sinkhole of sadness that can claim the best of me.
I love what Joyce Meyer says about self-control and emotions:
“Self-control is a freedom, not a bondage. You’re free to use wisdom, free to obey God, and free to follow the leading of the Spirit. You’re free not to be pushed around by your feelings. You don’t have to do what you feel like doing. You’re free to do what you know is wise.”
I love that because I believe that when we dig beneath the emotions, we know what is wise. We know how to:
Make the moment better.
Make the moment worse.
Make the moment the same.
And I believe that every Mommy…every Daddy…every friend…every person has a desire to step into the future with their best foot forward. Dragging the dead weight of out-of-control emotions with us creates a future and story of its own. I believe it is not the story we want written.
Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NLT)
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
2 Peter 1:5-7 (NLT)
Blessings and smiles,