Toddlers are pretty much in the top ten list of my favorite things ever. They've still got that "new kid smell." Their heads are big and their bodies are little, so when they walk, they look like adorable little mobile bobble heads. They're also great for snuggles and general cuteness. I like the way everything is so new to them--everything is dramatic and exciting. They're also learning about how this world works, which leads to a lot of funny and adorable situations. I also love it when they start talking.
The other day I was just being weird (that happens a lot) and I pointed to one of the kid's hair bows. I was holding another child, and I said, "Look at your friend's pretty hair bow. It's so pretty and big. In fact, it's tremendous."
The kid looked at me curiously, so I said, "Can you say 'TREMENDOUS'?"
The kid considered it a moment and said:
Yes. I love toddlers.
Lately, though, I've realized that there is a certain "toddler word" in my vocabulary that I've been saying too much. There's also a certain "toddler word" that I haven't been saying enough.
The first of these "toddler" words is "MINE." I've been saying "MINE" far too much lately. I've been getting upset if something interrupts MY schedule or MY time or MY agenda. I've been getting angry if someone suggests I give a little of MY energy to them. I've been stressed because I feel as though I haven't had the time to do the things that I want to do.
...but time doesn't belong to me. I can call it "MINE" all I want, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm just a steward. God has given me the time that I have, so it really belongs to Him. Yes, He's called me to do some things with the time that He's given me, but that does NOT give me the right to get upset if something interferes with the plans that I've made, even if they coincide with things He's given me to do. His schedule isn't my schedule. Sometimes I feel as though I've got to get things done according to MY plans--when really, life is going to be full of detours, and sometimes those are God-breathed, too. I'm reminded that everything that comes my way is filtered through grace. God has allowed it. If there's an interruption to the plans I've made, then God has allowed that interruption. It might set me back a little in the things I want to do or feel as though I need to do, but it also allows me two opportunities: the opportunity to trust God, and the opportunity to show love to others. I can't say I've succeeded in either of those things lately, but God does give more grace. God uses even my failures to shape me into His image, which is part of the mysterious beauty of grace.
The "toddler word" I haven't been saying enough lately is "NO." I need to be more flexible. I need to stop looking at time as "MINE." At the same time, I have to realize that I'm not Wonder Woman. There is a point when I have to say that I can't do something--not because I'm being stingy with the time I've been given, but because there are other things that I need to be working on--or simply because I need rest. I tend to want to please everyone, but that isn't possible. And when I over-commit, I tend to not do anything as well as I could be doing it. Sometimes, and perhaps even usually, it's better to commit to a few things and devote my full energy to those few things, instead of trying to take on everything at once. ...because in the end, I just get frazzled and cranky, and no one likes a frazzled and cranky me--especially not me.
So, basically, life got interrupted and I didn't accomplish most of the goals I had for last week. But...
-- I ran seven miles at one time (PERSONAL BEST!)--ten miles total for the week. I'm probably going to be registering for a half marathon in a few days, after hammering out some details. The seven miles was HARD, and the thought of running almost twice that makes me want to cry and/or take a nap and/or drown myself in a hot fudge sundae. ...but my body is getting stronger, and if I'm going to do this, then the time is NOW.
--I made a little extra income, which will either help me pay off my taxes or will allow me to go visit family for my birthday.
--I spent some time with several friends that I haven't seen in a while. I was grateful for those opportunities. Sometimes I get so busy that I forget to make time to see the people that are so important to me.
This week, if God doesn't change my plans again, I hope to:
--Run another seven miles.
--Register for that half marathon!
--Finally take a look at that first novel again, with the intention of eventually (SOON!) sending out some more query letters.
--Get back to editing the second novel.
--Get back into reading other peoples' fiction.
--Continue blogging as I have been (both with Poor Reflections and Adventures in Social Awkwardness. I've been on a pretty good blogging streak, and the reader numbers are some of the highest they've ever been. THANK YOU FOR READING! I think I need to come up with some kind of reward for March...
...let's say that if either Poor Reflections or Adventures in Social Awkwardness gets over 700 reads next month (March, in case you'd lost track), I will compose and post an original song expressing my gratitude to all my readers.
...there I go with that "my" thing again...
Food for Thought: How do you respond when your plans are interrupted? Can you think of any specific examples of times when you had to ditch your own agenda to make room for God's agenda? Do you ever find yourself over-committing? (If you want, share your thoughts in a comment)