Perhaps the furniture in your house is old and ugly. You just can't stand to look at it any longer. It's super comfortable though, and you've had it so long that you don't have the energy to redecorate. Finally, though, the pain of keeping things the same way becomes greater than the pain of changing them. So, you decide the old furniture has got to go… it's just bringing you down. You tell yourself that just because you are used to it, doesn't mean you should own it forever.
So, suddenly you open the doors and toss all that old furniture out on the lawn! There... you did it! All the ugliness is gone! Your space feels so much better already! It's clear and open! You feel proud of yourself, at least temporarily. Days go by and you become frustrated because you still do not have any place to sit because you have yet to replace the old furniture. This was not planned out very well!
You know that it's going to take so much time and effort to go find new furniture. At this point, you convince yourself that the easiest thing to do would be to just take at least one piece back in... Just for now. You open the door and grab that old, ugly, but comfortable chair and bring it back in through the doors.
You plunk down in the old, familiar chair and tell yourself that this was so much easier than going out and spending time, energy and money on new stuff. Naturally, before you know it, all of your ugly furniture is right back where it started from... in your space! We should have known that if we planned to refurnish a room that we would have to fill it up with 'better stuff' as soon as possible. This way we wouldn't go back to the ugly, yet comfy, stuff.
Understand that it's just like that when we work to banish the old, ugly thoughts in our heads. If we tell ourselves that we are going to get rid of these useless, negative thoughts, we have to make certain to be prepared to fill the empty space right away.
Let’s say for example that our head is constantly filled with thoughts of how truly lazy and unmotivated we are... it may not even be true, but that doesn’t matter. So, we tell ourselves that we have to stop allowing these ugly thoughts to take up space in our head. "OK, Self... that's it!!! You will no longer tell yourself that you are lazy and unmotivated. It doesn't do you a bit of good. Those thoughts will not enter my brain and those words will not cross my lips! I'm tossing those thoughts 'OUT ON THE LAWN'!! Good riddance!!!!" We then congratulate ourselves on a job well done.
A day or two goes by and our thought process doesn’t know what to do with itself. It’s too empty ‘in there’! Sadly, it’s easier to take those negative thoughts back in the door because we were not prepared with new thoughts. We must furnish our 'empty space' with positive thoughts and words right away. So, before I start telling myself what an unmotivated person I am, I will replace those thoughts with something better.
The key is to have a plan! What do we want our ‘new space' to look like going forward. We need to come up with a few solid goals. So, for example, our goal is to eat healthy and work out for stress and weight management. Now that we have a general goal, we can choose our new 'furniture':
> I am a motivated and goal oriented person!
> Each Saturday I sit and create a menu for the following week so I can get groceries on Sunday.
> Each Sunday I fill out a Weekly Plan sheet so I'm sure to get all the important stuff done.
> I'm motivated and driven to be the best person I can be each day... and these are the thoughts that will occupy my space!
So, if you plan to get rid of some old furniture anytime soon, make sure you have some new stuff to take its place so you won't drag the old stuff back in!
Here is just a quick suggestion before Christmas Eve Services (if you attend):
If you are sitting in the warmth of the church (because you go there early to get a seat), and you notice 'that family' getting out of their car in the parking lot and walking into church late, yet again. Don't judge them. Welcome them into the warmth of the church and understand that the effort it took them to get there was enormous.
Maybe you see that teen walk into church in a sweatshirt and shorts... don't judge him because he is not dressed 'appropriately'. Welcome him in without the sideways glances. Try to imagine the enormity of the effort it probably took to get this kid out the door of his home and in through the doors at the church. Realize that the strength necessary to make that happen is more than you'll ever understand (if you're lucky).
Welcome every person into church who wants to walk through those doors. Even find it in your heart to welcome those who may not yet know how much they need God in their lives.
Merry Christmas and love to all!!
So, I had to sign some paperwork for my car this past cold and rainy Tuesday. Kara Mecca, from Blasius Chevy, knows how tight my schedule is, so she agreed to meet me at the D&D closer to my house… talk about great customer service!! I bought a coffee, that I didn’t really want, and sat down with her to sign away.
On our way out, a man, who may have been homeless, asked us for a cigarette. Neither one of us smokes, so we said sorry… then I realized that I still had the unopened coffee in my hand. I offered it to him and you would have thought I was giving him a $100 bill! He thanked me multiple times! It felt great.
As I was driving away in my warm, dry car, I wished I could have done more. Then I realized that I had an extra umbrella in the car… as well as a protein bar. I turned my car around and went back to find him. I found him a few buildings away from the D&D trying to stay out of the rain. I pulled up and gave him my green Post University umbrella and the protein bar. Again, you would have thought I was giving him the world.
About 30 minutes later as I was driving to an appointment, I saw my green Post University umbrella walking up the street (about ½ mile from the D&D) with a much drier and happier man underneath it. I can almost promise you that I was happier than him about it!
The moral of the story is that we don’t have to take days of planning and have tons of resources in order to perform an act of kindness. We just need to keep our eyes open for the opportunity to share what we have already. It may seem small to us, but can mean the world to someone else! More than likely, the good deed will do just as much for us as it will for the person on the receiving end.
Today I will not focus on the things I don't like, what I don't have, what I haven't done, what I might lose, and what I can't afford ... today I will focus on all those people and things that I do love, all that I do have, all I've accomplished, what I've gained through my trials, and all the amazing things money can't buy!! Maybe I'll do it again tomorrow and again the next day too!!
Cindy Gagne Teixeira
Just like you, I wear many hats. I'm a mom, a teacher, a friend, a daughter, a sister, and a writer. I choose to laugh (and talk... and write) about my problems because crying takes too much time.