We have several “big” events coming up in the next few months. Some of those events include the need for formal wear and other clothes not normally worn by this stay-at-home, homeschooling Mom. When I began scouting stores and favorite online shopping spots, it wasn’t really enjoyable. In fact, the whole process was triggering thoughts of self-criticism and anxiety about the events.
My head was filled with thoughts of worry over finding a long dress with sleeves, the right shoes, how in the world I was going to do an updo on my hair and find a tuxedo for my husband. And then there was the street-length fancy dress for a special dinner, outfits for attending meetings, outfits for casual events, and the list goes on. I even found myself momentarily wishing I didn’t have to go and dreading the feelings of inadequacy.
What’s wrong with this picture?
I was spoiling the anticipation by focusing on anxiety. And I was completely forgetting the blessings and amazing opportunities by thinking only about the to-do’s.
It would have been easy to spend the coming weeks and months stressing about the preparations instead of enjoying them. That would have wasted a lot of life! Instead of choosing to stay grateful for the twenty-one days worth of fun events ahead, I would have spent a total of twenty-two WEEKS focusing on the inconvenience and extra tasks caused by the trips.
Of course, writing a blog post is no guarantee that I’ll stay in gratitude mode. There are some practical things I’ll be doing to make it easier:
- Get as much shopping done as early as possible
- Don’t buy any clothes that are uncomfortable or that I don’t love
- Find curly updo’s on Pinterest, get supplies and practice
- Use the gratitude app on my phone or a paper journal when task anxiety hits
- Spend time every day daydreaming and anticipating the trips and time with my husband
That last part is actually very important. God’s gift of imagination should be used wisely. We can use our imagination to dream of good and hopeful things, or to think of possible trouble.
Both faith and fear ask us to believe something that hasn’t happened yet.
These principles can be used no matter what events you have coming in the months ahead. Even if you’re not planning unusual trips, you can choose whether to anticipate with joy and gratefulness or dread while waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Do you have any “big” events coming up in the next few months? How are you staying grateful while you’re getting ready?