“Sometimes the ones the world has no place for are best equipped to show us what it is to live fully and to be truly loved.” – Rick McKinley
Yesterday we had our first real morning frost here in Tennessee. This means three things for me.
- I’m pretty sure I’m not cutting my lawn anymore until the spring comes.
- I get to give myself permission to drink more coffee.
- Welcome seasonal stress.
The first frost reminds me that summer is over and fall is officially here. As a father of four and husband of 18 years, I know that this time of year means we are going to get pretty busy as a family. Heck, we’ve already had a couple of months from August through October with my oldest son’s football schedule taking up almost every afternoon after school. And we’ve loved watching him play.. there is no doubt.
But we also have our busiest schedule after school during the fall. With four kids, you can imagine.
With that introduction, I want to tell you about the onset of what I’m going to call “PASSIVE SEASONAL DIFFICULTY DISEASE.” (PSDD I’ll call it)
To be blunt, it is very simple. Throughout the year we often find ourselves overwhelmed with obligations and duties to fulfill as a family. Right about this time of year, at least for me, I am pretty much just sliding through. I’m not being as intentional as I want to be. Life, as we all know, is lived in the mundane moments mostly. And we are just so doggone busy.
My largest temptation during this time of the year is to be passive, to procrastinate, to just let the season come and fall into a passive “Yes, Dear” thought process. Let me give you an example. I know that we have Christmas coming up. When my wife is dreaming of how she’s going to decorate the house, what kinds of activities we are going to do with the kids, and where we are going to go for the holidays….I’m just normally very passive about these things. My typical response to things she wants to do is, “Yes, Dear.”
Most of the time it’s because I’m anxious about something. Fear of not having enough money, fear of not having time, or just laziness keeps me from approaching the season with much joy and anticipation.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays. I love spending time with people close to me. I love sharing and giving gifts with my children. The anxiety comes most often when I compare myself and my life to other people and their lives.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of passivity, difficulty, comparison, jealousy, and greed during this time of year. PSDD is a difficult thing for many to get over because it requires a few attitude changes. Here’s a list of four to cultivate as we enter this time of year:
- Act Intentionally The reason I created “Soulstuck?” is written in the tagline behind the title on this page. I believe the answer to becoming unstuck is to simply create something better. Get very intentional about what you want to do this coming season. Pull out the calendar with your spouse or significant other, and budget and plan activities that will be good for the soul.
- Avoid Comparison. One of the worst things we can ever do is develop a “grass is greener” mentality. Just because you see something someone else has that you like, doesn’t mean you need to be jealous that they have it. This is a simple matter of changing your attitude from greed to gratitude. Be thankful for them. Be glad for them. And be content with what you have.
- Accent Your World. Change something. Start doing something you’ve never done before. Go buy a new book to read. Start going to the gym. Attend church services with your family somewhere you enjoy. Invite friends over for a cookout. Decorate your house with your kids. Find something you like to do and do it. Just change something. Nothing creates passivity more than choosing to stay in the same rut.
- Accept Life As It Comes. Relax. Chill. Laugh. Smile. Breathe. This time of year can be wonderful if you simple enjoy it. A few years ago I was introduced to a thing called adventconspiracy.org. A group of christians decided they wanted to take the true message of Christmas and really celebrate it well. They came up with four tenets that anyone can follow. Take these simple steps this season and I guarantee you’ll get over PSDD really fast! Worship Fully. Spend less. Give more. Love all. And do it well! (The 3 minute promo for this years Advent Conspiracy is below.)
Life comes to us, often in ways we don’t want it to. We are characters in a story we are not writing. And so, we have to adjust to the ebbs and flows, the circumstances and events around us. We don’t get to control our environment… but we do get to control our reaction to what happens to us.