Being proactive looks different to everyone. The reason for this is because we all hold beliefs about ourselves, others and the way the world works. These beliefs need to be periodically updated because they are situationally based, however they are rarely changed (unless you are proactive about it). So it’s a cycle, and your mental hygiene depends greatly on your successful navigation. In the story I am about to tell you I was using my proactive thinking established about the age of 3 when I really wanted to go to the candy store but knew I had to eat my dinner ﬁrst. Which is to say I was not using my proactive thinking and determined that I should probably ramp my mental hygiene up to Liz 2.0 “adult version” if I was going to get anywhere. But here, I’ll let you decide:
This morning was going to be full. I thought that last night when i went to bed because horseback riding lessons (which are usually on Thursday) had been moved to Saturday at 11. I had two different sitters coming as well. One 12:30 to 4 so that I could have time to write. One 5:30 to 9:30 so I could have date night with Brian. So that meant all my at home activities were going to need to happen in the time between waking up and lessons.
At 8am the kiddos were piled in our bed playing with TI-84 calculators and pen lasers. The kitten was in her glory over the laser thing and everyone was laughing. Great Saturday morning. I was feeling relaxed and decided to make sausage and biscuits instead of the regular strawberry cereal. It was about 9 when breakfast was ready and during the time I was cooking I learned something via Facebook: there was a jewelry sale in town today.
Now our town does not have a lot of shopping opportunities and shopping is a great joy of mine. So when I saw that there was a pop-up jewelry show I got a little excited. But I didn’t say anything. I ﬁgured maybe i could ﬁt it in. Or not. I wasn’t sure. It was only open this morning so I would have to get there before riding lessons.
After breakfast my husband decided to install some programing software onto those graphing calculators so he ran off to do that in the library. I popped my head in the door and mentioned that there was a jewelry show in town this morning and Brian told me I should go! Yes! I should, but I started cleaning up breakfast (and the giant pile of dishes that I left in the sink from dinner – oops). When I was done it was 10:15 and lessons were in 45 minutes. Maybe I could sneak out? Oh there really wasn’t time! Anxiety. And I really needed a shower because I looked like a shlep. I couldn’t go jewelry shopping looking like this. Argh.
So I decided to talk to my husband. I didn’t have time to shower and get to the jewelry show! I’d been too busy with things and now it was too late!
Just brush your hair, Brian said.
But that was not really an option because I am a woman and I know brushing my hair will not help. So I probably looked at him a little funny before saying that I did actually need to shower. I was bummed.
So I’m in the shower thinking about stuff and I realized that I was not thinking positive thoughts. So I checked my mental hygiene and decided that this is my life and my choice and I am not going to spend it miserable. So I decided to think about something else. This was a good day. I had writing time and a date night to look forward to. This was a good day and not every opportunity was meant for me. With that Brian came up to the bathroom.
“If you want to get somewhere you should make sure I really know what you want to do and then we can make a plan for you to be able to do it. We didn’t really plan this morning and you missed your shopping. Which is a shame. You really need to plan better.” Brian was standing in the doorway carrying our youngest in his arms and I knew he was waiting for some kind of response.
“Yeah,” I replied, slightly annoyed that I was not hearing something magical like – if you just dry off and get into some clothes I will keep time from changing until you get back from shopping. Reality. I am still getting used to it.
One thing about reality that i hate is the fact that planning is required. I don’t like planning. I like magic. Date night require me hiring babysitters and making reservations and checking my husband’s schedule to see if he is on call at the hospital that night. Not exactly like someone popping into your evening repose and requesting your presence for an elegant evening out. Stink. I’m trying to adjust.
So when my husband gently reminds me of another aspect of my life that will require planning to achieve I feel a bit deﬂated. Planning. I need pixie dust. But since I am all out of pixie dust I sigh and reply “yeah” again – continuing to rinse the conditioner out of my hair.
Coming downstairs I admit I was not in the best of moods but I was not in the worst either. This whole, managing your thought life thing was working at about a 50% level. And then I noticed that the kids were not completely ready for their lessons. The oldest was underdressed in a short sleeve shirt (it’s snowing) and the middle was overdressed in two long sleeved shirts and a giant sweater (we still had coats to put on). I think I might have let out a growl. I am not positive about that but I don’t think I used the nicest tone when I called for Brian to come help me get them ready.
As I was frantically running about helping one ﬁnd a LONG sleeved shirt and the other decide which items to eschew my husband told me that if we hurried I still might be able to make a few minutes of that jewelry show on the way to lessons. I think something ﬁzzled a little in my brain. If that had been a possibility why hadn’t he hurried them while I was in the shower? Ahh.
But here’s a truth nugget. Why did I expect my husband to think of it when I hadn’t either? I was the one who wanted to go to the jewelry show. Why didn’t I start planning how I would get there from the moment i say the ad on Facebook? I mean, it’s my life. My shopping joy! Couldn’t I own my happiness and act on the things that would be enjoyable? But I was still waiting on the pixie dust and still coming up empty and frustrated.
So we hurried and pulled up in front of a restaurant downtown that was hosting the jewelry show. I ran inside and was greeted joyfully by one of the three people I know in this town. Yay. I love shopping… and friends. I blurted out that I only had 10 minutes to look around and she agreed to help me shop. After all, Brian couldn’t do riding lessons all by himself because he would have to walk our youngest on a horse. As soon as those words left my mouth I realized how stupid they sounded. I handed her my plate of jewelry that i was in the midst of choosing, whispering “I’ll be right back.”
I ran out to the car and asked Brian if I could look around while he took the kids to riding lessons. He said sure without even skipping a beat. Oh my goodness… this planning crap really works!!! You have to take SOME kind of action to make life work out the way you want it too. I was so excited I danced back into the handmade sterling silver jewelry show and collected my plate. I can stay! I was beaming. For the next hour I chatted and shopped and picked out Christmas presents for family and a gorgeous ring and anklet for myself. I knew this would be fun and it really was. And it worked out. But it wasn’t pixie dust that made it happen… it was me. Thinking rationally abut a situation and making a plan.
Paul talked about the assertiveness that can be ours to the Corinthians. He was relating it to boldness with God but the principle is the same. He urges the people not to use old thinking that existed during the time of Moses because circumstances had changed! There was new freedom and therefore we can be different.
“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:12-18 ESV)
Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. This is huge. Where in your life has the situation changed, allowing you new freedom that you are not using. I am still learning this and in so doing have come to the concluding that being assertive and planning is not such a scary thing. But feeling entitled to the desired outcome without taking action is a recipe for disaster because fairy godmothers are really, really rare. Instead I need to pull up my big girl panties and be assertive. Like I did on this day (eventually) – and I am loving my new jewelry!