Wednesday, September 26, 2012

6 Remedies for Dealing with Frustration

It’s easy to write a blog about overcoming frustration when my life is peaceful. It is a bit of a challenge to write about when my life is chaotic. Today, as I sit overwhelmed in my situation, I have challenged myself to write this blog. 

Normally, I try to keep my life as simple as possible. That is a challenge under normal circumstances simply because we live 72 miles from the nearest large city, we have small children, aging parents and all the other regular stuff. But, for the past seven months my husband and I have been working in a community 50 miles away. Planning to close on a house in the new community on September 4, we started our kids in school there. However, the house situation has drug on longer than expected. 

Four, tired people in a Toyota Camry commuting 100 plus miles a day can get old quickly.  The drive and crazy schedules make for two, tired, bickering kids as well as spouses. Some nights work commitments have us arriving home around 10 p.m. and then back up and in the car by 6:30 a.m. 

I give you this background so you know I’m not writing from my peaceful, pillow-fluffed living room with my five-course-nutritionally-balanced dinner waiting patiently for the family to arrive home. I come to you in the midst of my ciaos. 

When my life gets out of balance, and there is no time to do the regular “Christian” things like quite time, ministry, church, etc., here are some things that bring me peace. 

1. Find a good Christian program on the radio. 
XM radio makes up for the lack of radio stations in my area. I tune into channel 131 for Christian programs and sermons in the morning. This helps me get some Jesus into my tattered soul. 

2. Listen to Christian music. 
When I travel alone, I get a lot more out of this. But, when the family is with me, they don’t appreciate my loud praise music!! However, even listening to it quietly is refreshing to my soul.  At work I play my favorite Christian music through itunes. 

3. Carve out a little time during the day to read my bible. 
If time allows, I will spend time during my break or lunch reading the bible.  The bible is my true north. It balances my life when I feel extremely out of balance. 

4. Pray with my family on the way to school.
Believe it or not, when the kids start bickering, I will bust out with a prayer. This seems to bring peace to everyone. It settles the kids down faster than anything else I can do. It doesn’t always last as long as I would like it to, but it helps tremendously. The tough part is remembering to do it. 

5. Call a friend who can speak a word into my life that brings clarity and direction. 
I have a handful of powerful Christian friends I can call on to pray with me. Their words always bring peace to my soul and settle me down. Sometimes they even get a word from the Lord for me. It is usually a word of comfort and encouragement. 

6. Find something I can praise God for. 
Even if my life is upside down, I try to find reasons to praise God. This gets my focus off of my situation and on Him. There is always something to be thankful for: food in my mouth, a shirt on my back, a roof over my head. Praise the Lord for HE is good!

Psalms 30:10-12
10   Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help. 11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

What other things bring you comfort in the midst of ciaos? I welcome your comments below. 

In the meantime, I pray God would lift you out of the muck and the mire and set you on a mountain of his peace and joy. 

An awesome song by Heather Clark. This entire album is powerful.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Save My Marriage

Thirteen years and eight months married.  That is an accomplishment in today's society. 

However, 13 years doesn't hold a candle to some older couples I know. Some have been married 30, 40, and 50 years. I work with a lady who is 67, and she married at 17. She is still married to the same man.  I go to church with another lady who is about 75 and she too has been married since 17 or 18. 

How do people do it?  

I am no expert, but do have a few suggestions of how I've managed for my short, 13 years. However, I must give a disclaimer. While I have worked at it, I truly feel like it is God who gets the credit. He has been the glue that has held us together. No doubt in my mind He has worked some miracles.   

My marriage is certainly not perfect, but here are some things that have helped me over the years. 

15 Tips to Save Our Marriages

1. Know yourself and learn to deal with your own frustrations. When I get overwhelmed, I tend to take it out on everyone around me. Don't let your own frustrations with work, life, etc., manifest into a problem with your spouse. 

Many times our frustrations are based within our own personality and are not the other persons fault. If you are lazy, don't get mad at your spouse for not cleaning up or doing something you could have done. Or, if you are OCD, remember you are the one who wants everything neat and tidy. That is your personality. Knowing yourself and your own expectations can help you to recognize it's you not them but you. 

2.  Be committed.  If you are not committed to the marriage, you will throw it away with little regard. And, don't expect your spouse to be committed if you are not.

3.  Life is short, and starting over is harder and takes longer than you might think. Don't assume you can just throw this one out and get another quality person at the snap of your fingers. 

4.  Give God a chance.  Commit to praying for your spouse. Ask God to show you scripture to help you tolerate your spouse on those difficult days, and to be more patient with him or her. Also pray that God would change your heart so you see him or her different. He will do that! 

5.  What are you looking for in your marriage? Is it realistic? Or is it something you read in a romance novel or saw in movie?  Your spouse, male or female, is RARELY like any relationship you see on TV. Movies are fiction. Do not measure your marriage accordingly. Remember, no one can live up to fiction.

6. Love is more than a feeling.  It's great to be swept off your feet and have the feeling of young love, but real love goes way beyond that. Lust may attract you, but it doesn't sustain you. Love is commitment. Love is being a good parent. Love is provision. It is more than just butterflies in your stomach. 

7. When you get upset, make sure you are not mad over trivial things.  Frustrations are usually born out of a conglomerate of small things. Do not let these small things break down your marriage. If you are mad because someone didn't take out the trash, ask them to take out the trash verses asking for a divorce. 

8.  Keep your eyes on the big picture.  For me the big picture is staying married forever. I want this for myself, my kids, my grand kids. I don't want my kids to have to visit two houses on Christmas. That is important to me. Plus, I want to grow old with my husband because he is the one God chose for me. Focusing on that when I'm frustrated helps me remember to look past the small things. 

9. Money is important but it doesn't buy you honesty, integrity, or genuineness.  So, remember that when you think the grass might be greener somewhere else. 

10. Life is over in the blink of an eye!  What would your life look like if you lost your spouse today in a car accident or to a terrible disease?  That thought is sobering! Tell him or her how much you love them.

11. Are you a joy to live with?  While you are busy thinking of all the ways your spouse frustrates you, take a minute to think about your own flaws.  Is your spouse tolerating your flaws too? 

12. Are you doing the things for your spouse that you want him or her to do for you?  If not, maybe you should start. If you are doing those nice, little things and they are not being reciprocated, do it unto the Lord. :) 

13. Respect goes a very long way! Remember the basics like please and thank you. Also remember to tell your spouse thank you for the smallest tasks and see if your heart doesn't begin to soften.  

14. Remove the words "always" and "never" from your conversations with your spouse. Example: "You always drive bad." or "You never ask for directions!" It's rare we "always" do something, so chose a gentler word.

15. Lower your expectations. I have a friend who gets mad at me when I say this, but it is true. Our expectations for other people are usually  higher than they are for ourselves. Marriage is not the army. We shouldn't act like drill sergeants barking orders at each other. We should be a team, working together. I realize it doesn't always work that way. One person usually ends up with way more on their plate than the other one. Those things definitely need to be worked out. But overall, we should be more forgiving, loving and cut each other more slack. Ask yourself this...if your spouse were perfect, would there be enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished that you would like them to do? Probably not, so relax and lower your expectations a little. 

What other marriage tips have helped you? Please leave them in the comment section below. 

Since I am not an expert, here is a great resource. 

*Disclaminer - If you are in an verbally, physically or mentally abusive relationship, please seek the advice of a professional. This list is intended for the average marriage with everyday problems, not for the abusive marriage. Please seek help by calling Focus on the Family at the link above. Thank you. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

One Way to Relax

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:1-3

This week has been hectic and I'm feeling a bit worn and tattered! Can anyone relate? I'm sure many of you are in the same boat. 

My family and I are still trying to get into the school routine. Up early, to bed late, too many activities starting all at one time and my kids want to go to each one! Then there is pay for this, pay for that, then try to do your regular job on top of all that. Woe. I am exhausted. And, we are commuting an hour back and forth so the car ride alone has me worn out this week.

So, for today's blog I am focusing on relaxing. Just the word relax makes me feel better. :)

This is cute and made me laugh.

A heart at peace gives life to the body...Proverbs 14:29-31 

It is rare our situations change quickly. We have to find ways to live within our  situations and still find peace. 

What situation is causing your life to be hectic? 

For my family it is commuting that seems to be never ending. We are very close to closing on a house in the town we work in, but now that even looks like it might fall through! 

All four of us in the car driving to school and work each day has the potential to leave everyone edgy. Kids are tired, dad is not a morning person, mom is overwhelmed with too many tiny details demanding her can see the potential fire hazard! (It is imperative we get moved soon, but evidently God has another plan.) 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness... Galatians 5:21-23

My best defuser is Jesus. If I can carve out time to spend with my bible, and listening to the Lord, I'm a better person. Sundays at church are a blessing and feed my soul, but my quite time refuels me more than anything.  

So, this weekend, try to relax. You owe it to yourself and your family. And, things always have a way of working out. Have peace that God is in control. Give it to Him and take a break from controlling the universe. (Y'all know I'm preaching to the choir right?)  Grab your bible and a cup of coffee and enjoy some time with Jesus this weekend. He adores you! 

How do you relax on the weekends? 

A good song to help you relax! Enjoy. 

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