Monday, February 27, 2012

break through

Guess what?
I Did It!
I finally really let go of my anxiety over things that I cannot control.

Let me clarify with a story:

Dan was a 17 year-old leaving to college out of state.
Lots of his friends went together.
They shared dorms and dorm rooms.
For most, it was their first experience away from home.

Dan had a really good time that year, albeit, most freshmen he knew struggled.
There were some exceptions.
His best friend Derick, for example, didn't stay up late the night before a big exam.
He did his homework.
"Frisbee" was not the most important activity on any given day.
He wasn't the guy ordering Pizza to the dorm rooms on Fast Sunday.
He attended is church meetings, his classes, and managed to get good grades.....because he wanted to.

My first year of college was much the same.
I was excited to be there.
I was really fortunate because my sister worked at the school.
(She loves school.)
She sent me to a counselor and we planned out an educational path.
I followed it and got a degree.
I loved college.
I was there because I wanted to be.

I came from a big family with many needs.
I didn't pop up on the Parental Radar all that often,
and really, I just liked doing well.
I admit that I had some lonely years where I wondered if anyone was really paying attention.

My greatest detriment was the fact that I struggled with procrastination.
(I liked Gilligan's Island and Dukes of Hazard too.)
And I was a fairly shy child that didn't ask for much.
I could have had straight A's, but I settled for mediocre.

Dan says he was a classic underachiever,
and in his early college days, he didn't know what to do with so much freedom.
He settled for mediocre too.
By all accounts, both of us should have had full-ride scholarships to the college of our choosing.

How does this relate to my 'letting go of anxiety' breakthrough?

Fast Forward 17 years from our beginning together.
Wade through years of pregnancies, toddlers, elementary school kids, homes, cars, jobs, family, And.....The Laundry!

This morning, I did it.
I went into the laundry room where a large pile of clothes had accumulated.
I sorted out all the clothes that should be washed by the older kids.
Their dirty laundry was placed back into the basket and carried back to their bedrooms to await yet another laundry day.

This is a big break through for me.
In the past, the laundry days have not held up.
The laundry piles until I can't stand it,
and then I gather it and do it all by myself.

Today, I circled the older kids for a little conversation,
And let them know that I would NOT be doing their laundry.
If they run out of clothes, I suggested they go next door to Grandmas and ask if they can pay her some money to use her machine.
(Caleb actually did that.)

What does laundry and college have to do with my anxiety breakthrough?

Let me continue......

I also told the older kids about another new practice.
I will no longer be checking their grades online.
It's been helpful for me to micromanage but not very empowering for the kids.
When the grades are bad, they need only wait until I get angry about it.
They never need to 'feel' anything about their grades.
But when I remove my emotions from the situation, the kids actually have to feel their successes or failures all on their own.
I really do want them to do their own thinking.

The other night when one of the kids was wanting to see a movie that I thought might not be the best choice, I said, "Well, that's between you and the Lord."

What a liberating phrase to believe in.....

I know that even our older kids are not very old yet,
but so far, they are pretty good.

What do grades, laundry and movies have to do with my anxiety breakthrough?

I finally believe that the older children who have been taught are capable of being good, responsible, contributing members of society.

My anxiety is swallowed up in the hope that they will succeed.

As for all the other things I tend to worry about,
I am really trying to follow the same approach of not getting emotionally involved.
We make the best decisions for the moment we are in....and then move forward.
It doesn't always work out, but it's good either way.

I am developing some dangerous control.
There is very little that is penetrating lately or breaking me down.

I might lose it when I haven't slept well, or I feel headachy,
but for the most part I continually ask myself,
"Do I really need to get angry about this?"
Usually the answer is, "No."

Ahhhh....this is freedom.

To my minions:
You know how much I value good grades.
I know you are smart enough.
We do our best to provide the kind of home where you can succeed if you choose to.
Please know that I love you and I will help you.
Never be afraid to ask.
Even if I am not able to fix your problem, please know that I feel sad when you struggle.

If you want straight A's, it's possible.
Being a Champion is well within your reach.
Becoming the person God intended you to be will bring you tremendous joy in this life.
Please don't be too hard on yourselves when you aren't able to accomplish all that you hope to.
The options are endless when you put your whole heart into whatever you are doing,
whether it be education, music, sports, religion or anything else.

I love you.

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