I won the smile contest at the Illinois state fair a few years in Junior High. I always left with an envelope of cash in my hand and a smile that went from ear to ear! It was a serious confidence boost for this insecure preteen, but I think my victories were helped along by 99% of other JHers having braces?!
Regardless, smiling is something that has always come naturally to me. I’ve always had a pretty joyful temperament, except when I don’t. 😉
Lately, the pressures and stresses of adulthood and parenthood have challenged me in new ways. I’m not sure if it’s hormones or the devil or the negative temps or the 12 dirty diapers a day, but I’ve been fighting for joy.
It’s just not coming naturally. Negativity is boiling close to the surface and one little spill or mistake from someone in my family can set me off.
It breaks my heart when I yell at my loved ones, or use a snarky voice with my man, or just find myself in a lazy, cranky rut. It feels so far from who I want to be, and who I believe myself to be, and yet I find myself falling prey to it.
What in the actual heck?, as Jen Hatmaker would say.
Today was a snow day. It was -30 windchill in the Quad Cities and I incubated myself with the kids while the hubs went to Chicago for a Bears game (a birthday gift that landed on the coldest day, sorry babe!).
We tried to make sugar cookies and the mess was so intense.
I found myself spiraling down with the negative self-talk.
“You’re a terrible mom.”
“You’re never going to inspire people with this attitude.”
“You don’t deserve your husband.”
“You have seasonal depression.”
And blah-de-blah-de-blah, the lies went on.
The thing is, I want to be perfect. I want to be happy, healthy, and productive all the days long. But that’s just not real life.
SOMETIMES, our humanity shows itself strong and we sleep in longer than we should.
SOMETIMES, our kids do things that would drive ANYONE up the wall. I’m not a failure as a mom.
SOMETIMES, we stop reading and listening to the things we should and our attitude gets derailed.
SOMETIMES, the winter air takes our breath away and we don’t go to the gym because it’s just too cold to cart three rambunctious kids in.
It’s O. K. A. Y.
I can recover.
I can pick up a book and a hug in a mug (something hot) and get back on track.
I can do some squats and pushups and maybe a couple miles on the treadmill at home tonight.
I can apologize to my husband for being a jerk about a silly little mistake he made.
I can pray for the family going through deep loss that I’m hurting for.
I can call my little brother and share some hope and smiles instead of giving into feeling sad and sorry.
I can commit to NEVER complaining about the weather (because there’s nothing I can do about it and it’s just stating the obvious 😉
I can choose to put down the phone/work and be present to embrace the (mess laiden) fun and snuggles with my little miracles.
I can fight these winter blues back like the stealthy pink ninja warrior that I am.
And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
The winter blues are NOT going to steal my Christmas joy. That’s my little goal this week. Deeper breaths and more grace. For myself and for others.
Jesus came to the earth so we don’t have to live in brokenness and winters forever. Hallelujah. And, if I don’t see you here again before the big day, I wish you and yours the Merriest of Christmasses.