Monday, May 21, 2012

Self Control

It's a Monday, which means it's my day off. Typically on my day off I tend to the household chores - like laundry and grocery shopping and balancing the checkbook. Today is no exception. Though today I also met some friends for lunch and took Maggie to the doctor for a follow-up appointment since she was diagnosed with walking pneumonia last week. Today was her first day back at school. I pulled her from gym which is her last class for the day. They are currently engaged in the one activity she enjoys - ultimate frisbee. Unfortunately, her doctor told her no exertion until she got cleared. While she is much improved, both the doctor and the PE teacher agreed she's done with gym for the year. If her last period of the day were science, she'd have been way more thrilled I came early to get her.

I washed three loads, balanced the checkbook (not pretty, but balanced), ran the dishwasher and made out the grocery list. And the common thread/theme in all my thoughts and activities which began over the weekend and is continuing today is "rein it in."

It started Friday. I had worked half a day and came home to be with Maggie who was coughing up a right lung (ironically, her left lung is clear). My back was still ailing from the week before and my boss had called in sick for the first time in forever. So instead of continuing the work at home, I gratefully logged out and ended my productivity for the week - both at work and at home. I laid on my back and did pretty much nothing the rest of the day. Dan took Caitlin and Ryan to my mother-in-law's where they were sort of celebrating her 55th wedding anniversary (my father-in-law, unfortunately, is still in the rehab center). Maggie and I watched the new Muppets movie. It was adorable and a fun trip down memory lane for me.

Saturday, Ryan had a double header - or a header and a half if we're being literal - he and Dan had to be at the ballfield at 9am to finish a rain delay from Thursday and then play their 11am scheduled game. It was 90 degrees by the time the second game started. We had the field by the creek. None of the fields have shade. There was an intermittant cloud or two and the breeze was blowing now and again, thank God, but other than that little relief from the heat. So, as you might imagine, moods became increasingly irritable as the game went on and we continued to lose. The first game was no better. The crankiness multiplied exponentially with every comment that proceeded out of the mouth of the very vocal opposing coach. Like several of the parents who sat just feet away from where he was perpetually coaching 1st base - they tended to be at bat for much lengthier times than we were - I was ready to take action to silence the man. I can be vocal, too. My friends and family will tell you I pretty much have one's not quiet. The responses that kept floating around in my head were itching to get out but I was well aware that they would serve no good purpose if they did. I didn't manage to keep them unspoken but by God's grace I did manage to only whisper them to my husband who wisely gave me a cautionary look and refrained from dropping to that level with me.

Later that evening we headed to my brother-in-law's house to see a visiting nephew. Which meant lots of appetizers and drinks. I'm not much of a drinker but I must admit that summer weather and relaxing decks tend to entice me to partake. I abstained. More because I was on meds and driving than any worthier conviction, but they were effective deterrants. I also stuck to the veggie platter. Until I saw the guacamole. Fortunately it was almost gone when I did.

Sunday had me at church twice, first for services and then for our annual business meeting. The morning was wonderful and I enjoyed the last meeting of our post service discussion group before breaking for the summer. I even managed to listen more than I spoke. Before the business meeting, I took Maggie and Ryan to Kohl's because I had tons of coupons and he needed sandals and she needed a bathing suit. We were unsuccessful in the swimsuit department, but did find a decent pair of sandals at the last minute when looking at sunglasses (which truly are helpful for baseball when trying to catch those pop-ups). I promptly put the more expensive pair back and was able to use all three of my coupons and pay only $10 for both items. Instead of hitting a drive-through on a busy day, we ate leftovers. Then I made my way to the business meeting.

It was good to hear all the ministry reports. Though I tend to have the inside scoop, there are always "God at work" stories I haven't heard yet and this meeting didn't disappoint. There were plenty of inspiring testimonies. I was especially encouraged by the report from the treasurer oddly enough. Being on staff, I'm pretty familiar with most of the content of these meetings ahead of time, but seeing the Lord's provision through the generosity and faithfulness of the congregation was amazing. Especially because there was a real concern we wouldn't meet all our expenses for the first time in the church's history. We ended up with a surplus. My instinct would be to allocate that to any number of staffing needs, but our board isn't so rash. Their temperament allows for both faith and wise stewardship.

So today, when I thought of all the things there were to do and how many of them I could reasonably get done I decided almost immediately to stop and ask God what was on his agenda for me. Because He never overschedules. I spent a good amount of time in His Word before moving on to the other tasks and found myself much more able to "rein it in" when I was tempted to step out of bounds. I drove a little slower on the highway. I gave my back a break and carried fewer clothes up and down the stairs at one time. I even left half of my french fries in the basket at lunch. And I didn't blow a gasket when my daughter called and asked to stay after school for a spur of the moment band project and then called back ten minutes later and said "False alarm - Could you pick me up now cause I missed the bus?"

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. I often think I should be bearing much more of that kind of fruit. I'm grateful for all the reminders I was given these past few days to do just that.

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