Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Is it a "Good Morning, God" kind of day?

Good morning my friends! I once heard the saying… “When you wake up each morning, you have a choice: You can say, Good Morning, God….or Good God, it’s morning!”  Today is one of those rare mornings when I wasn’t ready to get out of bed in the wee hours of the dawn, and my first thought was ….NO, I don’t want it to be morning already!   In fact, it was closer to 4:30 before I actually dragged myself up. It was out later that unusual last night with the speaking engagement and then I stayed up to watch as much of the Detroit Tiger baseball game as possible before I fell asleep. (They could clinch the division title tonight…Go Tigers!)  So…today…I am fighting the sleepy head syndrome, but it’s still a great day to be alive and it won’t take long before it becomes a “Good morning, God” kind of day.
 
One of my  friends is always telling me that I am a ‘negative” person and  I always look for the worst in myself. Every time he says this, of course, I become “agitated, pouty, whiny, and actually quite irritated” because I don’t think any of us want to think of ourselves as “negative”.  I try really hard…but admittedly don’t always succeed…in seeing the glass as “half full” and the “looking for the silver lining” in life’s situations. It’s probably true that it is much easier for me to see goodness in OTHERS than in myself, after all I still see “Old Theresa” in the mirror each day,  but I need to continually remind myself that I have a choice in how I react to things.  There is a fine line between being a “realist” and ‘being blind to one’s faults and failings”.   I did just that for many years. I was ‘blinded” by my weight, my issues, my fears, my pain and misery. I chose to focus on how “bad things were, how much pain I was in due to the RA, how pitiful my life had become, and failed to see that I COULD…with God’s help…do something about it.
 
In recent weeks, the two Retention Advisors that “do what I do” on the Mt. Pleasant campus have left the college for jobs elsewhere. This has left my department in a bit of a mess because we are very short-handed. As a result, we will be hiring two new people, but it will takes months to train them. In the meantime, I was told that I will be required to work a few days a week on the “other” campus.  I must admit, I am not really thrilled about it. The campus is about 45 minutes from home and it will cost me significantly more in gas; I will be working with individuals that I do not know very well; I will be “out of my own office” and will be dealing with a clientele that is similar, but yet very different, than my usual appointments.   Of course, I am willing to help out and do what needs to be done, but I am honestly not looking forward to it and have been silently dreading it.   That is, until yesterday, when I realized that this is one of those situations where I have no control over. I do, however, have control over HOW I AM GOING TO REACT TO IT!  Just like the approaching cold weather….just like this morning….just like every little thing that will happen to me this day.
 
  I cannot control people and how they will behave, no matter how much I try.  I can’t force people to like me or treat me a particular way. I can’t control the weather today or the diagnosis from the doctor. I can, however, control how I behave, how I react, how I ‘see things”, and how I treat myself and others.  So…in the past couple of days I have been thinking about all the “positive” things about working a few days on the other campus.  1; the trees are really beginning to change and I’ll get to take a mini color tour a few days a week on my drive down there, 2; I’ll be close to the big city…well big for up here, and will be able to schedule my hair appointment, shopping, errands etc. for days when I’m already down there as opposed to giving up a Saturday to do so, 3; I’ll get to know my colleagues better and will learn many things from them; 4; I’ll be meeting new students and am being given an opportunity to “make a difference” for someone who likely would have never crossed my path before; the list can go on….but really….the most amazing thing about this is that just two years ago, there would have been no way physically for me to even be able to do this because it was just too difficult for me to get around and I wouldn’t have been able to transport the electric wheelchair down there.  The fact that I can drive to Mt. Pleasant, park my car, WALK into the building, FIT in someone else’s office chair, CARRY my laptop and other things….etc… IS a miracle itself.  I have a feeling….no, not a feeling…but I KNOW…that this will be a good thing…IF…..and only IF… I look for the positive instead of focusing on the inconvenience, extra costs, and sacrifice involved.  How WE react to those things  which we cannot change….is WHAT CHANGES us!
 
In my weight loss journey, I have had to change my way of thinking about food.  Many times, when we are dieting (using this for lack of a better word, but as you know, I’m not…nor have I been in 2 ½ years on a ‘diet” but rather a journey/lifestyle that I will never be able to ‘go off of”), we focus on everything that we “CAN’T HAVE”.  Oftentimes, we feel deprived when those around us are eating birthday cake or snacking on nachos and wings while watching the football game. Sometimes, when we sit with a bag of rice cakes (whoo hoo!) we feel sorry for ourselves with someone else is eating chips and dip.  Sometimes we watch others eat dessert or pizza, or have a drink….or go shopping and buy something new….or WHATEVER…and we feel that we are “lacking” or “deprived” or “in some way suffering”.  This feeling of “poor me” I CAN’T eat an ice-cream cone attitude, either in ourselves or when someone else projects it on us (I’m so sorry, I feel SO BAD that you can’t eat this….etc.) is one of the biggest things that can sabotage us on our journey.
 
 I encourage you to try to look at things differently.  Instead of saying…Poor me, I can’t have that…or that…or that….Try thinking about all the things that you CAN have.  Keep a big supply of snacks/foods in your house…or office/purse/glove box, that are on your plan, so that when you get hungry, you can go to the cupboard/fridge and choose…..any number of fruits, any flavor of Greek yogurt, a protein bar or fiber one bar….15 calorie hot apple cider, a sugar free flavored sparkling water or even a soda, a sugar free cup of hot chocolate…..even a ‘fun size” candy bar or 3 Hershey kisses if you must.  Instead of “all I can eat is celery…..how about…Wow…I can eat ANY of this stuff…AND NOT FEEL GUILTY, aren’t I lucky?   Is it going to work all the time….nope…..but it will become easier with time and practice, and before long, it won’t be a “poor me” situation, but rather a “wow, aren’t I blessed to have all these choices” kind of thing.
 
Is changing your life hard?  You bet!  Do you have to make sacrifices?  Absolutely!  Will you sometimes feel ‘deprived”, “sorry for yourself”, or “like you are suffering”?  Guaranteed!  BUT…will it be worth it!  100% absolutely, YES…YES…YES!!!!   Life is going to happen around us….we are going to be faced with tough times….we, or those we love, are going to get sick from time to time….cars are going to breakdown…..we are going to be obligated to do things we really don’t want to do….AND…we are going to have days when we “don’t’ want to get out of bed”……BUT we must. We are even going to have times when we “go off our plan” or “fall off the wagon”…..and we will get to choose…Am I going to let this little slip-up, this little gain or set-back discourage me completely…. or am I going to start all over right now?  The choice is ours to make, sometimes multiple times a day!
 
  So….today…..are you going to join me in making it a “ Good morning, God,  kind of day????”