It’s easy to put on a happy face when life is going swimmingly well. But what about when it’s not? How do you show up when the kids are frustrating you? Or when you’re overwhelmed with house projects and working through remote learning with your children? How do you show up when you go through hardships?
How we show up… how we conduct ourselves, how we think, how we react, how we respond… exposes our innermost being and most importantly, our heart condition.
Here’s a little something to think about… RAIN.
I am not a fan of rain. My hair was not meant for humidity or wet. So when it rains, I think about how positively awful the outcome will be on my hair. Silly, I know, but this girl’s got frizz!
I must also tell you that our backyard is as much dirt as it is grass. In other words, our backyard becomes mud with heavy rain. And that mud somehow magically appears all over my boys. They suddenly and mysteriously develop the complete inability to stay upright anytime they’re around dirt or mud. So then that mud magically makes its way into the house, onto the rugs, up the stairs, and onto the white shower curtain and walls of the bathtub.
Parents of boys, sound familiar?
But, back to rain…
On one hand, I absolutely loathe that wet stuff that falls from the sky and makes my person and my house a disaster. Oh, did I mention that it always happens on Saturdays during my kids’ sporting events?
On the other hand, though, rain isn’t all that bad.
I mean, it does make the grass vibrantly green and the flowers come alive with delicately exquisite blooms.
And well, there’s the fact that my soul is soothed by the pitter-patter of raindrops melodiously spattering on the earth. The drumming of heavy rain on the window well cover outside my office window amps up my creative spirit as it washes away all the other distractions around me.
So when I hear rain is in the forecast… I get to decide if I’m going to grumble about it. Or if I’m going to thank the Lord of the universe for raining down his love upon us. Am I going to show up grumpy or praising?
The same goes for life. There are days when it feels like our parade is getting rained on. Like our plans have been soiled and the sun just can’t seem to shine behind the gloom we’re experiencing.
Life is tough. But no matter how ominous the challenges that lay before us may seem… we get to decide how we show up.
Remote learning may be a struggle for your family and COVID may have cramped your vacation plans. But how are you responding? How are you showing up and leading your family? Are you pessimistic about how ‘hard’ this situation is? Or are you finding the blessings amid the challenge? Are you focused on what your family is missing out on? Or are you finding joy in the extra time you get to spend with your children?
Maybe you’re experiencing financial struggles. Friends, I get it. The company my husband works for deferred 20% of their employee’s salaries since April. It could have been easy to grumble about how we had to make a buck stretch further. But we chose to look at it as an opportunity to learn to live with less and praised God that he is still employed. Does it suck? Yes. Can good can come out of the struggle? Also, yes!
Think about it this way, the Israelites grumbled against God and the story didn’t end up the best for those that forgot to praise Him.
The Israelites grumbled against their leaders, Moses and Aaron, whenever they faced a crisis. But really they were grumbling against the Lord.
They grumbled that they were starving in the desert and that they should have stayed in Egypt where they “sat around pots of meat and ate all they wanted.” (Exodus 16:3) God fed them with meat at twilight and bread in the morning. He showed himself as the Lord who hears them and yet they continued to grumble.
They complained of their days in the desert and proclaimed that they would rather die there than by led into Canaan to die by the sword. So the Lord gave them what they asked for… death in the desert.
Don’t you just want to grab the Israelites by the shoulders and shake some sense into them?
Seriously, God showed the Israelites time and time again His greatness, His power, His love. And yet they grumbled.
Friends, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not be that gal that just doesn’t get it. I don’t want to be so blind to God’s goodness and love and grace and abounding provisions that I complain and grumble and grouch about the situation I’m facing.
Hardships are for our benefit. We can’t comprehend the fullness of God’s grace and love unless we walk through those gloomy days having to hold His hand and trusting him to lead us forward into His goodness.
Consider the apostle Paul. If he were in Vegas, we’d say he had a streak of really really bad luck. But he used his circumstances to point others towards Christ. The bad that he endured could have made him a crotchety old man who hid away from others. But instead of complaining, instead of being grumpy, he used his situation to benefit others.
Paul wrote the book of Philippians primarily as a letter to thank them for the gift they sent him during his detention in Rome. However, his letter also became an opportunity to share his story, encourage the Philippians to stand firm in persecution, and remind them to rejoice regardless of their circumstances.
Philippians 2:14-15 says, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe…”
In other words, stop complaining. Stop grumbling about what you have or don’t have in your life. Being dissatisfied with God’s will shows skepticism and prevents God from using you to the fullest.
Likewise, stop arguing. Grumbling and arguing about earthly things that don’t need to be disputed… just don’t waste your time on it.
Paul warns against such things so that we may become “blameless and pure, children of God without fault” meaning not that we would be sinlessly perfect. But that we would acquire a wholehearted devotion to doing God’s will and shine like stars whose light contrasts the darkness.
Friends, I want you to see the good. Be the good. Show up praising the heck out of whatever situation you’re facing so that God can use you to the fullest.
I would rather overpraise, over pray, over present myself with gratitude to the Lord for all that He has done for me than groan to a God who has it all in his control.
When the rain comes, I want to remember to dance in it! I may come out soaked to my skivvies, but I also want to come through with a heart so full of joy that the plastered hair and mascara drips don’t matter! I want to hear my boys’ laughter, see them splash in the puddles, and wrestle in the mud if it means a lifetime of joyous stories afterward.
How will you show up when the rain comes? Grumpy or praising?
Feeling angry, overwhelmed or anxious? Visit MsAlishaCarlson.com for three simple steps to help you keep calm with your kids.