Friday, July 28, 2017

Making Wise Decisions

Have you ever been guilty of "emotional eating"?  Sitting down with a bag of chips, an ice cream cone, some M&M's, or a cup of coffee not because you are taking a break to have a treat, but because you just can't bring yourself to face whatever is going on around you?

How about "emotional shopping"?  Escaping to the mall or to the Amazon website or to the craft superstore and buying something that you probably didn't need - or didn't need just then - only to reach home and realize that you really shouldn't have spent the money?

One of my goals during this Year of Hope is to practice making wise decisions when I catch myself falling into the emotion trap.  Here are a few things I find I gravitate toward when I get emotional... 

Going to our local frozen custard shop for a scoop of custard, 
Sitting down to play piano, 
Playing a puzzle game on my tablet, 
Checking my email, 
Looking for something else to eat, 
Window shopping on a stamping company's website...  

None of those things are bad, in and of themselves.  I need to check my email and practice the piano. Window shopping, playing a game, and getting a scoop of custard are fun treats -- but only if they are intentional.  When I find that I have simply gravitated to the piano and I stay there for half an hour regardless of the other things that need to be done, that is emotional playing.  When I look at my schedule and say, "I'm going to practice for half an hour before I do the dishes", that is intentional playing.  So when I find myself just standing in the middle of the room thinking, "I think I'll just play a song quick", or, "I think I'll just check my email quick", I'm working on stopping myself and saying, 

"I need to make a wise decision, instead."

Often that means that I will look at my list for the day and say, "I'm going to do ______________ first, and then I will set a timer and play for 20 minutes.  After the 20 minutes, I need to..."  One thing I am noticing is that approaching my fun time in this way allows me to fully enjoy it, rather than just doing it "quick" as though I am stealing the time.  Which, come to think of it, I sort of was!  If I know that I have a half hour to read a book and drink a cup of coffee, I can relax and enjoy both the coffee and the book because it is all I have to do right then.  I have chosen to make it a priority.  But if I say, "I'm just going to have a quick cup of coffee..." and then sit down with a book I will feel rushed and anxious, because deep down I know that something else had the priority right then and I was stealing its time.  I've noticed that the word "quick" is almost always in my vocabulary in cases like that, and I'm sorry to say that for a long time "quick" could have been mistaken for my motto.  There have been a number of times I've needed to stop myself and say, "STOP.  Look at this moment.  Right now.  This is a good place.  Make a memory."  So often we allow our emotions to pull us along - anxious, agitated, grieving, resentful, and many more - and we never stop to enjoy where we are right now.  Even as I am writing this blog post I can choose to look past it and hurry through it to get to the next thing, or I can enjoy the process and this chance that God has given me to connect with each of you.  I want to always choose the latter way, don't you?

For my Daily Focus yesterday I spent time in the kitchen cleaning out a basket that sits next to the phone.  

I can still get overwhelmed easily, so when I began to feel agitated I thought, "I need to make a wise decision."  I decided to only go through five items at a time - even if that was just 5 pieces of paper.  That way each five would be a small victory.  To be completed I actually had to do what needed to be done to that item.  If I needed to cut out a coupon, I did.  Then I used a paperclip to attach them to my planner on the next shopping day.  If I needed to shred something, I did, even though I had to walk up and down the stairs a number of times.  It was definitely not the fastest or most efficient way to go through the basket, but it was a conscious decision to take my time and I enjoyed the process.  Here is the after view...

My room for today was the Living Room and it got a good vacuuming, along with the hallway and master bedroom.  That will probably be all for today in my Focus area, as vacuuming and my shoulder don't agree very well.  A wise decision on my part will be to ice my shoulder again as soon as I'm done typing!! :)

Have a blessed weekend, my friends!


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