Over the weekend Josh and I took the kids on a geocaching adventure. If you don’t know what geocaching is, here's a short definition from geocaching.com:
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
It’s simple but it takes you off the beaten path and gets you outdoors discovering places you might not have known about if you hadn’t attempted the adventure. Sometimes you have to walk into the woods a bit before you find the hidden treasure.
Our first stop with Joshy & Lily was just that: a mildly wooded area with vines and stickers and things small children don’t like stepping on. As you can guess, a scratched up ankle was in store for us within 10 minutes. Joshy managed to scratch his ankle just above the area his Crocks stopped. Now to Josh and me, this is no big deal. The excitement of being out on the hunt should override any silly little scratch, right? But by the time we get back in the car Joshy is crying over the pain and pleading to go home.
We tell him, "You're fine! And we keep going. I then notice he's actually hiding the scratch from me by crossing his legs. I tell him, “Let me see it!” And what do you know, it does look a little rough. Not "go home" rough, but rough. So we tell him again, “You’re fine! It will stop hurting soon."
We drive on to the next geochache site and find the container after lots of searching. As we go back to the car Joshy is asking with tears, “Can we go home and watch a show?”
“Of course we can’t go home! We're only getting started!” This is our compassionate parenting response. Looking at the scratch again, we notice it’s a little red and dirty, so we clean it off with a wipe, showing a little more sympathy to his plight.
We begin driving again to our next GPS coordinates but Joshy is now asking for a band-aid. Band-aids are stickers with purpose, and Joshy & Lily love getting to put one on any chance they get! I have no band-aids in my purse because they’ve all been used on little scratches with no blood, so we pull into the dollar store. Big Josh goes into the store while we wait in the car.
In desperation and with a strategically timed tear drop, Joshy looks at me and asks, “Can I just have a bazzert (translation: dessert)?”
I realize in that moment Joshy is just like me. He wants comfort, and he's coping the only way he knows how, reaching out for any self-soothing option he can find. His comforts are home, Netflix shows, band-aids and bazzert!
My comforts when I’m in pain or frustrated or on the verge of a personal melt-down because I keep obsessing over things I can’t control are coffee, shopping, eating dessert, making dessert, napping, moving furniture - cause I need change, and I need it right now! Oh the list goes on...
I've found when I step out and start a challenge in one area of my life, I start to feel out of control in other areas of my life: like all the willpower I’m using to accomplish 10 days of no sweets is getting my equilibrium way off! All I want to do is stop and reach out to what comforts me.
No sweets, so I drink more coffee. No coffee, so I eat more chocolate! No more shopping at Target, so I find myself looking online at Old Navy.
I deserve it since I’m being soooo good in one area of my life!
It's said that “Moderation is key," but I’m not sure exactly what that key is supposed to open, or is the key being used to help keep something locked? Is the practice of moderation about the practice of self discipline in all areas of life?
That just overwhelms me and makes me want to lay down and put a band-aid over my mouth.
A few months back, Big Josh told me I needed a win. He said I needed to just pick something I knew I could accomplish and celebrate it. I had a hard time coming up with something, but I ended up deciding to do something positive instead of telling myself to stop doing something negative. I chose to encourage someone in my life for 10 days: nothing major, not even forcing myself way out of my comfort zone, but just taking who was in front of me each day and giving them an extra boost that told them I think they’re alright.
I can’t say it was a monumental 10 days, but I do believe it shifted something inside me. As I expressed care for others - encouraging them; believing in them - I felt a shift in the way I approach change in my own life. I started to care - to have compassion - for myself.
Many of the attempts I've made to change have started from a place of failure and self-disappointment, but this time I started from a place of hope and possibility.
I believe God is at work in me, and He is helping me as I’m learning to make better choices. These are the places He wants to be with me the most: in my weaknesses.
I think by starting off encouraging others showed me how God is working in all our lives. He wants us to be encouraged! Encouraged through His word, through connection, through other people. He uses encouragement to fuel us and keep us moving and trying to do better daily.
Do you know when Josh came back to the car with the band-aids for Joshy, he'd also bought a box of cookies? Oh yes, dollar store cookies at that! He got Joshy a "bazzert" without even knowing he was asking for one. Isn’t that encouraging? I think God is like that. His nature is to give you what you need to keep you going. It's probably not a box of plastic-tasting, heartburn-inducing cookies, but it will be exactly what you need to keep moving forward.
Passive No More isn’t about working through to a place of strength and perceived perfection. It’s about simply realizing you can do so much more than you've given yourself credit.
For me, that's the reason I can change: because I want to.
I want to be healthier. I don’t want to run back home just because it's gotten hard this time. I want to keep pushing through. I may need a band-aid but I don’t want to quit. I’m just getting started.