- Stop trying. Any thought I have to myself that starts with “I’ve tried” or “I’m trying” or any day where my goal is to “try”–well, for me anyway, it needs to stop. Stop trying, stop thinking it depends on me, stop wearing myself out on what I can’t do anyway. “Try” needs to be replaced with “rest,” with “trust,” with riding along with what God is already doing, not trying to haul God along. Trying is exhausting, and accomplishes nothing. Go with it.
- That doesn’t matter. There is so much that doesn’t matter. Money. To-do lists. Being right. Having it figured out. Usually, I’m anxious about stuff that matters. There’s not so very often in my life (thank God!) where I really am worried about matters of life and death, about real pain and suffering, or about rending spiritual questions. I’m mostly worried about stuff that doesn’t matter.
- Let go. Most of the time, it isn’t burdens placed on me. It’s stuff I’ve picked up on my own accord, that I don’t need; I need to learn to let it go. Expectations. Standards. Goals. Figuring it out. It’s not important to hold on to it; it’s important to let go of it.
- It might not be as bad as you think it is. Yes, really. I don’t think God decides to check out while I’m in the middle of studying for school; I think I stop looking for Him. I wonder sometimes why that is. I think maybe I call some things pointless more because I’m not really looking for the point. I just don’t like something and complain about it, without ever even trying to find a point or trying to find God in it.
- “What if’s” go in two directions. “What if everything goes wrong?” is a valid question; but so is “What if everything goes right?” Neither one is really all that likely; usually some things go wrong and some things go right. I do pretty good at giving the “what if things go wrong?” question a work out, but I’m pretty lousy about evening out that equation.
- Be thankful for specific things. This is hard to practice, but can be surprisingly eye-opening. I read somewhere, can’t remember where now, about the idea that when we give thanks for our food, it often seems like it’s not important enough and so we start throwing a bunch of other stuff into the prayer just to kind of beef it out–as though being thankful for food wasn’t enough. I’ve started considering actually ingredients, which seems really silly–but has also really humbled me. We had tomatoes for supper. Real, true tomatoes, not processed in anyway–in the middle of January. Is this not a miracle? Is this not special? Huh. The things I’ve taken for granted.
- All you have is now. All you need is now. How I worry over the tomorrows! Right here, right now–what is needed? Not much. I wish worrying was productive, because I do so stinkin’ much of it, I would be a whirl-wind of efficiency if it actually accomplished something. Strangely, it doesn’t.
- He is here. I’m the one who’s loud and whiny like a two year old, not Him; so I’m usually the one making more noise. That doesn’t mean He isn’t there. Sometimes it just means I need to stop paying attention to me, and start paying attention to Him.
- Respect what has been given to you. Like your body: there’s nothings stupid about things like taking care of my body–by resting, by doing nothing, by eating right, by trying out that oatmeal face mask. Same thing with skills and interests: they’ve been given to me. They’re a gift. I need to learn to respect and value that, not take it for granted or devalue it.
- He gives: you have to receive. I have been thinking about this a lot. If I’m worrying about something, I’m essentially declining the gift of peace. He’s taken care of everything. If I accept that as true, I can have the peace He offers. When I worry, it’s because I’m not accepting what He’s extending–the assurance that it doesn’t depend on me. Focusing on what I’m holding onto in my hands keeps me from looking at what He’s holding out for me.
- Rest is sacred. God started that, not me. Right from the very, very beginning. I often feel guilty for resting, and I don’t know why. It just feels like there’s so much to do, and if I was a good person, I’d be doing it! But I think I have to learn that God is happier when I rest, and let everything else fall to the wayside. Rest is more important.
- If God is happy, why aren’t you? I often times get unhappy about how things are going, or how I perceive things to be going, or the things that make me anxious. . .but I usually get the feeling God isn’t the slightest bit upset. If He isn’t, why am I? Instead of trying to convince God there’s a good reason to Not Be Happy, maybe I should be trying to take His lead, and be happy. Maybe He has a better idea of how the cards are going to play out–that sneaky insider knowledge can make all the difference!
Also, I’m sure, many other things. But these are some things that I think I need help remembering, and sometimes writing things down helps me to remember them better.