January 07, 2011

REJOICE in the FINISHES amidst the unfinished!!

Yesterday I hit a wall... mentally.  It's a familiar wall-- the place where I have done a lot, but i see so much ahead that i still need to do and i ask myself "Will I EVER be finished?"

I began to think about "FINISHED".
As mothers, wives, homemakers, are we ever FINISHED with anything?
It seems just as one task ends, five more jump onto our list.
Writing/whining about this in my daily journal, I came to a surprise conclusion...
YES-- we do FINISH.  We FINISH a lot!!  We just don't celebrate our finishes for very long.
We allow ourselves to see everything we haven't done, instead of all we do.

The problem is not that we aren't finishing... the problem is that we aren't CELEBRATING the small finish lines that we have throughout every day.
Imagine if we ran a marathon, and then right before the finish line just walked to our car. 
Imagine giving birth to our baby and heading right to the shower to clean up.  Never taking that moment to hold her and look into her eyes and say "welcome to this world baby, we did it!!"
Imagine looking into the eyes of a graduating Kindergartener and saying "It's no big deal that you finished this year... you have 15 more to go."
Our baby takes it's first steps and we just roll our eyes and tell him he has so much more to learn. 
No clapping the first time our child rides his bike.

Mothers are the worst.  We celebrate the accomplishments of others, but we don't take time to FEEL our accomplishments.  We are constantly doing GREAT things.  We teach our children, but only see the 100 things they still need to learn.  We clean our house, but only see the 100 things we haven't cleaned.  We fix a meal and focus on the dirty kitchen.  We are kind and loving and patient 99% of the time, and then we are unkind and we feel guilt for the horrible parent we are.  We do something fun with our kids and feel bad because we don't do things like that more often.  This isn't right!  We need to CELEBRATE the small finishes amidst the journey.  YES-- life is a continual process of DOING and GROWING... but WE need to celebrate our daily FINISH lines.  We have to, or we feel like failures.

And, we have help feeling like failures.  Satan knows he can't stop a good woman.  He can't get us to SIN, so he tries to keep us miserable in our GOODNESS.  And, it works.  I hate that.  I hate when I KNOW i'm doing good things, and negative, discouraging thoughts begin to plague me.  I'm the queen of looking backward-- Yeah, my house is organized today, but why has it taken me 15 years to figure this out?  Or, looking forward-- The closets are done, now I need to repaint and redecorate and organize the garage and figure out my picture albums, and... it's NEVER going to be done... NEVER. 
These thoughts do not come from God. 

I love this quote from the book "To the Rescue, The Biography of Thomas S. Monson."  (I am LOVING this book.)  He says,
"Success is contingent upon our effective use of the time given us. When we cease peering BACKWARDS into the mists of our path and craning FORWARD into the fog that shrouds the future and concentrate on DOING what lies clearly at hand, then we are making the best, happiest use of our time."
I love this...  just do the next right thing.  That's it.  I like to start with an idea of where i'm heading... but my "to do" lists often discourage me and distract me.  Instead, I just ask myself... what is bugging me most today... then I try to do something about it.  I've been surprised to find that it takes MUCH longer to avoid a job then it does to just do it.  Remember i told you, Organization is 100% mental.  Really we need to celebrate every cross off of our to do list.  Every one.  Maybe time ourselves... FINISH a task and just look at it... for 60 seconds, and tell yourself "GREAT JOB."  Pray to feel the joy of finishing.  Wait for it.  Don't start another task until you really enjoy that FINISHED feeling.
(Can you imagine it?  Our kids find us hiding in the bathroom.  "What are you doing Mom?"  "Oh, just waiting."  "For what?"  "For that feeling of peace that comes when I FINISH a task."  "Why are you in the bathroom?"  "Because the mess in the hallway distracts my joy hormones."  Hah!  I'm totally going to try this.) 

As my sister in law, Rebekah, reminded me... You can't SINK unless you're WALKING on water.  Poor Peter gets so much attention for his sinking, and not enough credit for his walking on water.  Guess what?  We would do it.  We are doing it.  If Christ stood on the waves and asked us to come to him, we WOULD walk.  We are walking on water... every day.  And, sometimes we sink.  And, He rescues us.  And, we are fine, and our family is fine, and our home is fine.  But when we lay in the boat at the end of the day, wet, we CRY because we SANK... instead of REJOICE because we WALKED. 

We need to rejoice more in our accomplishments.  We need to SEE our accomplishments more.  To rejoice in our efforts, our success and our miracles.  Because, every day we take a few more steps on the water.  Every day God helps us do great things.  There are moments in our lives when we feel the miracle beneath our feet... and these are the moments we all need to focus on. 
Way to go MOTHERS!!  Way to go!!!   
So, today... CELEBRATE your FINISHES.
Pick ONE thing.  DO IT.  Then CELEBRATE.
Ask your kids one thing they did that was great today, and CELEBRATE with them.
Praise your husband for something he did that was great.
Tell them what you FINISHED.  Bask in the JOY of a completed task.
Don't let anyone take that feeling from you.
Yes, life is a journey, a climb.  A time of continual learning and growth... but we are good people, doing GREAT things... and God wants us to feel that our job, for today, was WELL DONE.
Can you feel it? 
Cause, I think you're GREAT!!
And, I'm great too... just sayin.

Here is a beautiful talk about FINISHING...

"From the very beginning to the present time, a fundamental question remains to be answered by each who runs the race of life.  Shall I falter or shall I finish? On the answer await the blessings of joy and happiness here in mortalityeternal life in the world to come." 
President Thomas S. Monson


Ann said...

Loved this post. It's a good reminder. Thanks, Jen!

Amy said...

Thank you for this post. You don't know me and I don't remember how I found your blog. I love reading it. It is very inspiring to me.

I too have been slowly trying to make my home a house of order. I need to remember to celebrate the small victories.

Kerri said...

Great post. I have been thinking about Peter and walking on water all the time lately. I like your take on the story.

Kerri said...

Great post. I have been thinking about Peter and walking on water all the time lately. I like your take on the story.

Teachinfourth said...

Celebrating the little things is sometimes the best thing we can do...

Rock on for the little things!

Tiffany said...

One of my best-favorite of your posts!!! LOVE how you captured all of this... THANK YOU!!!

(I think I'll go sneak off to the bathroom right now... :-))

Sonja said...

Thanks, Jen! I occasionally sneak onto your blog, even though it's been YEARS since I've seen you, because it seems like you always know just what to say to me.

I have goosebumps right now, and I'm going to go look at my kitchen that I spent 2.5 hours scrubbing today (and studiously ignore the four loads of laundry on the couch) and bask in the finished-ness!

You're great; thanks for helping me recognize that I'm great, too!

Rebekah said...

Thanks for putting that into words--something I would guess everyone needs to hear and take to heart.

The Crider Clan said...

That was a much needed pat on the back! I love the positive, quirky, and funny thoughts that come from you! I love reading your blog!

Melissa Crider

Cheryl said...

Ann sent me here and this was an answer to many prayers.

Thank you.

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