Turn Failed Resolutions Into ReVolutions That Change Your Life

We’re already past that point in January where most of us have abandoned our New Year’s resolutions and feel defeated by our lack of ability to drop those 10 pounds, start that new project, get our marriages back on track, you name it.

Before you get too discouraged though, let me assure you that you haven’t failed and it’s not too late for a re-do. This time though let’s have a reality check and make sure we’re doing what it takes to see real change rather than just pursuing a phantom wish we hope comes true.

What if instead of a half-hearted resolution, we decide to usher in a revolution?pablo-3

What if instead of making a resolution to lose weight, we revolutionized our approach to health and wellness? What if instead of making a resolution to have a better marriage, we revolutionized the way we treat our husbands? What if we stopped giving in to a defeatist mentality and finally revolutionized the way we see ourselves and determined that this is the year we stop saying we can’t and take the first step toward that thing we always wanted to do?

What if?

Merriam-Webster defines revolution as “a sudden, radical, or complete change” and “a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something:  a change of paradigm.”

So how do we start our revolution?

  1. Make a specific plan and make it a real priority. Let’s be clear on this. Our priorities aren’t determined by what we claim, but by how we spend our time. We may claim that our marriage is our priority, but if spend our free time on Facebook rather than on a date with our husbands, we fool ourselves and nothing changes. However, a complete change in how your time is spent will mean a complete change in what you can achieve.
  2. Find someone you trust to hold you accountable and give support. It will be far too easy to quit if you are the only one who knows the plan. Ecclesiastes 2:10 says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help…”(NLT)
  3. Start today. Mark Twain once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Procrastination is the great enemy of great things. I tell my children (and myself regularly) that you can’t course-correct a still object. Don’t be afraid of all the what-ifs of getting off course occasionally. That is far better than standing still and getting nowhere.
  4. Get past the past. Don’t allow past failure or disappointment to define you. Failures are just opportunities to learn a better way and grow. It doesn’t matter that you completely blew it up to this point with your children or nearly bankrupted financially. Life is a series of chapters. Learn from the experience, ask for forgiveness if necessary, and write the next chapter afresh.
  5. Keep the end in sight. Yogi Berra supposedly said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” Know where you’re going from the start because it will get harder before it gets better. You will reach a plateau and want to quit. But there’s only one thing that guarantees our failure, and that’s quitting. You may need to rest and re-focus, but get back up and get back to work. It’s worth it.

How hard is this? Well I guess that depends on the revolution, but nothing worth having was ever gained effortlessly. But it is not impossible.

You CAN do it!

You’re turn. What in your life is in need of a “sudden, radical, or complete change”? Decide and then start your revolution today.

 

 

5 Tips For Becoming The Mother You Want To Be

Being a mother is a beautiful gift that can bring joy and fulfillment to our lives. Sometimes, though, we let the burdens and failures of motherhood make us feel inadequate and guilty. We get caught up in the fact that we don’t measure up or that others are doing a “better job,” and we can become critical of our efforts.

It’s okay. We’re all in the same boat here.

My sister has a magnet on her refrigerator that sums up how I’ve often felt. It says:

pabloLet’s face it—parenting is easy until we have kids. Once we do, we realize how little we know and wonder if we’ll ever figure it out.

As we head into the new year, please take a minute to remind yourself that you love your children more than anyone else could and that you are enough for them. Settle that first.

Then, we can look for areas we’d like to improve. And it’s never too late. Whether our kids are adults or are still in the baby stage, there is always hope.

So here are 5 tips to help on your road to being the mom you want to be.

1—Pray. This is my starting point for everything. I have 4 children, two of whom are adults, and I still find myself wondering what in the world I’m doing most of the time. I ask God regularly for ways I can improve and He is good at whispering His ideas into my mind throughout the day. He promises to give us His wisdom generously and “without finding fault,” (James 1:5). But He won’t intrude, so you have to invite Him.

2—Focus on one area you’d like to improve. Just one. Let’s say you’d like to have more fun with your kids. Maybe you could take an hour one day a week to go to a park or playground, or maybe take 20 minutes a few times a week to play a favorite board game. Once you feel you’re doing well in this area, then focus on the next. Tackling more than this can be overwhelming and defeating.

3—Find a mentor and learn from her. I have always enjoyed time with moms more experienced than me. It has helped me find ways to deal with challenges, and it has offered me hope to know that the “great moms” I look up to mess up also. One thing to keep in mind though is that you are you. You can benefit from the advice of experienced moms and learn from their mistakes, but take what suits your personality and parenting style without trying to be someone you’re not.

4—Take time every day to connect with your child emotionally. Hugs, smiles, and relaxed chitchat do wonders for our relationships. We never have to look very hard for opportunities to “train” our children, which means we are likely either telling them what to do or correcting them for what they didn’t do. Every moment can become an exercise in “character development”, which to them may translate into criticism.

During those times, my son used to give me this advice (which made me want to pinch his lips shut at the time, and still does actually). It was simply, “Chill Out Mom”—GRRRR! It was so annoying, but it was also great advice.

5—Have regular family meetings. Children often feel like they don’t have a voice about all the things that concern them. If there are regular times to come together to talk about what needs to be different and what is working, then everyone feels more valued. Teamwork is established and the family becomes a unit rather than the “parents against the kids” mentality and vice versa. My only advice here is to establish rules of respect. It can’t be a bash session on anyone, but rather a time of open communication where everyone feels safe to share without criticism or anger, whether they are agreed with or not. These times of sharing give great insight into your children’s hearts as well as communicate to them their importance.

Remember that failure is an integral part of the journey to any success. Parenting is no different, so look at failures as opportunities and let them teach you, not paralyze you. As we enter the new year, I hope you will embrace motherhood without fear of failure but instead with the expectation of becoming more like the mother you always wanted to be.

Happy New Year!

I’d love to hear from you. What is it you think you do best as a mother? What do you know you need to work on?

 

 

 

I Totally Blew It Today

Family Photo copyI’d had it “UP TO HERE”! I was tired. The girls were tired. I could hear the voices being raised in the other room as my frustration rose in the kitchen. My ten-year-old and eight-year-old, who usually are best friends and favorite playmates, had been going at each other for three days and I was weary of playing referee. My ten-year-old burst through the door in tears, but I stopped her before she could present her case.

“I don’t want to hear it.”

“But Mama…”

“I said I don’t want to hear it. Get back in there and get ready for VBS.”

Yep. Vacation Bible School. You know, the week-long event where our children get to learn more about Jesus and how to be a greater witness for Him (Big Sigh).

She hung her head and walked out. Seconds later I heard the shouting resume. Reason seemed to evade my pre-coffee brain and I stormed onto the scene:

“What is going ON in here!… I’m not putting up with this ANY longer!… Don’t talk back to me!…

And my words were hurled like daggers into my children’s spirits. I never took a breath to ask what had caused the uproar. All I knew was that my quiet had been pierced and now they somehow deserved the blasting they got. After all, hadn’t I heard enough of the whining and arguing lately? Hadn’t I been patient long enough? Hadn’t I taught them better? Hadn’t I…?

At that moment, it almost occurred to me that I was looking into the eyes of two little girls who were more confused by my outburst than convicted of their error. It almost occurred to me that I’d missed a teachable moment and instead created an overwhelming one. But I pushed it to the corners of my conscious. After all, it was time to go. The girls gathered their things and plodded to the truck with shoulders slumped and tears brimming.

And then I got it:

How dare I! How dare I pour frustration out on tender hearts? How dare I start their day with my disdain?

I got behind the wheel and I saw their crushed spirits in the rear-view mirror. I tried to salvage what I could of our morning. I told them how much I love them and that I was sorry I didn’t listen, sorry I got angry, so sorry. It sounded hollow. But they smiled and said it was okay.

But it was not okay to me. I can’t make it okay on my own, but I’ve learned through the years who can.

So we prayed.

We bowed our heads and asked God to forgive Mommy for not being more like Him and asked Him to help my sweet girls do the same. He did. And they did.

Today I blew it. Today and everyday, I’m grateful for a God who never runs out of patience with me. Who listens to all my whining and arguing and responds with gentleness. And I’m grateful that He hears my repentant heart every time and redeems what I can not. When placed before Him, he mends what is broken and restores what is lost.

I write this because I want you to know that we are all flawed, but God’s “mercies are new every morning” (Lamentation 3:23) and you need not carry the guilt of this day into the next. He saw it from the cross and carried it for you. I pray you have the courage to believe that His grace not only covers your weakness, but empowers you to better tomorrows.