I read this from Emily P. Freeman, and wrote it down for my quote book:
“To control, coerce, and manipulate is not our job . . . Instead, we adapt, accept and acknowledge what we need to let go, and continue to do the next right thing.”
I thought a lot about this. Trying to control is something I’m familiar with. I am well practiced in planning outcomes, managing my environment, and sometimes gently persuading people (an honest confession). Often my efforts are futile.
In the early months of the year I lost control of many things, so I set out to control the wild gardens in the yard, a suitable substitute I suppose. As days stretch long and calendar months change, I find myself still dealing with the uncontrollable. It’s time to change my thinking.
Adapt. Accept. Acknowledge. That requires some serious thought. Instead of struggling, I can learn to accept what I cannot change and move forward to live my one wonderful life with joy.
I can acknowledge the struggle and the strain, try to adapt to the present situation, and move forward with a positive attitude rather than kicking and screaming as I’m dragged along.
My bullet journal has a page titled, What Gives Me Life? Monthly I listed what was good for me, what brought peace and comfort to my soul and a presence of grace in my spirit.
Reviewing the eight months of 2020, I see some recurring themes.
Nature nurtures. Walking outside, enjoying the changing seasons, meandering and noticing the small.
I need people. Honest conversations with friends and family, listening well and opening my own heart with honesty.
Accomplish something. Breaking large projects into small bites and seeing progress little by little is satisfying.
Music soothes. My piano students even when Zoom was challenging, playing with the band on Sunday morning at church, working hard on a new song myself, and CDs filling the house with melody.
Moving slow. Fast is sometimes needed, but slow lets me enjoy the process.
Making art. Crafting something with my mind and hands engaged, whether that is sewing, gardening, arranging flowers on the mantel above the fireplace.
Books. Bible studies and commentaries, fiction and non-fiction, memoir and biography, they keep me learning and growing.
Giving and receiving love. Checking on my neighbors, waving to the mail person and the Amazon driver, texting with my people, and having love returned by the bushel.
Counting grace. I’ve made the effort to list the blessings of God, even on the hard days. Once I get started, I think of many things He gives as daily gifts.
Quiet. Introverts will identify. I need some solitude, reflection time, a chance to process what’s going on in my brain to make sense of it.
I cannot dictate the coming days or wish away what disturbs me. I can choose to focus on what is good and holy about this world, to love and be kind at every opportunity, and to nourish myself with what gives me life in a year that has pulled and stretched the muscles of us all. The world has changed. May I learn contentment as I live out of my days.
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
— Philippians 4