Author: Jacqi Kambish
I had a bad attitude the other day. I felt worn out, overstimulated, and like things were out of my control; which I hated. To top it off the weather was probably the worst of the season. A few weeks ago we had snow and freezing cold temperatures. Then the temperatures soared and the snow and ice began to melt during the day and then froze again at night. A week or so of that and our yard was filled with icy, mud puddles and dirty snow. Following that, we had a winter storm warning, but it didn’t snow, it sleeted. Icy water pelted me in the face as life forced me to go outside. I think the combination of sleet, ice, and mud at the same time is awful.
By the end of the day, I could feel my agitation growing. The kids sensed it too. That’s why they got into the car slowly, fought over who gets to buckle first, and asked for a snack every 5 seconds, even though they just had one. I think they just wanted to stomp on my last fleeting nerve…. Or maybe they were just tired and sick of cruddy weather too.
Once home, I let the kids pick a movie to watch after dinner. The wind picked up and a loose cord of Christmas lights flapped against the house in a sporadic rhythm. Something was blowing in. I felt it on every level. My bones ached, my attitude spiraled, and the kids created chaos by bouncing off the walls and yelling at every opportunity.
Later, while the kids watched their movie, I sat down at the kitchen table. Why was my attitude so crummy? Was it really because the weather was bad? Or was it because I was inconvenienced by the errors of the day which were heightened by the annoying weather? Maybe it was the overwhelming feeling of endless tasks to be completed, the realization of bills I forgot to pay, the dwindling bank account, or the long week at work. Maybe it was having to drive two hours each way in bad weather just to get supplies for Christmas events, parties, and celebrations… At the bottom of my grumpiness and wrong attitude, I felt worn. I realized that, in the busyness, I had neglected the most important thing in my life. Rather…the most important person. I’m not talking about me. I‘m talking about God.
Those quiet moments I spend with my Creator are critical; but as my day fills up those moments get chipped away into nothing. The thing that brings restoration and fills up my soul, dwindles away until my attitude is a swirling, whirling, sleet pelting, storm of misery. I need time to be quiet and listen. I need time to be still.
I realized, in that moment, that it’s time for rest. It’s time for me to fight back against the mayhem and chaos by finding those quiet moments and anchoring myself to them. The presents will get wrapped and the treats will get baked. And if they don’t…is it really that important. Must there always be cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning and pretty paper on every gift in order for it to be Christmas? Does the house have to be spotless? Do I really need all my ducks in a row to celebrate and worship Christ?
I woke up the next morning to find the yard covered in a few inches of fresh white fluff. The sun glimmered off the snow in the best way possible. It was beautiful, and everything was still and quiet and peaceful. I sipped my coffee and reflected:
What if the storm of the night before hadn’t raged within my heart? Would I have realized that what I deeply need is closer connection with the One who can calm the storm and bring peace to my worn soul?
The quiet doesn’t last. The kids fight and yell and bounce off the walls. They tattle on each other and beg for a snack 1.5 seconds after every meal. I get overstimulated by lights, noises, people, and expectations. The dishes pile up and laundry gets done, but never put away. Messes get made and I get tired. The endless scurry and hurry of getting everyone out the door in the mornings and off to bed at night are a revolving door. Sometimes life just feels like a whirl wind of chaos. The difference is, if I make God a priority and cling to him when life feels stormy and overwhelming, then I can have peace and rest for my soul…even in the midst of chaos.
I know it isn’t easy. I have to work at it and set aside specific time in my day that I refuse to give up. More than that, I have to change my mind set. Prioritizing quiet moments with God isn’t just about setting aside specific times, but it’s also about allowing God to be a part of every moment and calling out to him when I am falling into the spiral of craziness. It’s not delegating him to a corner of the day but including him in every moment.