I look around my house and see stained carpets that really need to be replaced.
I look outside and see that my yard desperately needs a trim.
I just watched my preschooler spill strawberry smoothie down his brand new shirt.
My husband calls: Did you forget that we had an appointment together at 10 a.m. with the doctor?
And I sigh as I hear my kids fighting—again—in the other room over that same darn issue.
It’s easy to let all the everyday things of the mom life really drag us down, right?
The sad truth is that we moms are surrounded by opportunities—so many opportunities!—to be depressed and annoyed by our present circumstances.
Our messy, real family lives rarely reflect the Pinterest-perfect images we see online. We make mistakes. The people around us—our dearest loves—drive us a little batty quite often, truth be told.
Everywhere we look we can see the flaws and areas where change needs to happen. And some days, that “imperfection overwhelm” can make us want to lock ourselves in the bathroom for several hours with an extra large carmel-drenched coffee drink.
The good news? We’re also given the opportunity to decide how we want to view those imperfections. We are in the driver’s seat.
Friend, you and I have choices, and we don’t have to live under the burden of anger and exasperation.
Are you feel stuck in discontent and unhappiness with your life? I want to share with you my story from anger to freedom, and to give you a simple phrase that will reframe your perspective on your circumstances: “acceptance with joy.”
My Story Out of Anger and Into Acceptance
There was a period of my mothering where I lived permanently in that state of annoyance and frustration (I speak about it more in my “7 Days to a Less Angry Mom” Course).
I felt trapped and shamed by my seeming inability to fix these imperfections. I believed the lie that surely if I worked harder or did things differently then things would change and I would finally be happy.
Yet time and again, that happiness eluded me, and instead I found myself angry. A lot.
When I cried out to God each morning I felt little relief from my frustration (even though that was what prayed for over and over).
Then one day I had a big realization: I was the one hindering my own peace.
God showed me that I really had only two options (and I was in complete control over which one to take):
Option 1: To continue to replay the “what ifs” and “if only” conversations (and all those moments of disappointment) like a record stuck in a groove; or
Option 2: To stop complaining and whining about things outside my control and instead develop a brand new thought pattern—“acceptance with joy.”
Option 1 had been my steady go-to for quite some time. It had become my secondhand nature, and felt comfortable like a pair of old slippers.
Yet I could clearly see that this stinking-thinking was the very source of my exasperated attitude.
“Girl,” I told myself, “It’s time to throw those old, stinky slippers out!”
P.S. If you’re ready to finally get rid of habitual anger and discover a new path too, the practical teachings found in my online video course “7 Days to a Less Angry Mom” can bring so much freedom! Join us and let’s dig deep together to find new solutions to the ongoing frustration!
That day I began a slow and gradual journey towards “acceptance with joy.”
It’s taken time to see progress (and some days I still find myself putting on those old ratty slippers) but this simple reframing of my circumstances has made my life so much more contented and clear.
4 Ways “Acceptance with Joy” Can Change Your Life Too
Let me share 4 simple ways that “acceptance with joy” can bring real peace to your life, starting right now.
Acceptance in the Transition
We’ve been taught that the in-between places on our journey are the bad ones. We’ve been told that we must discover solutions—right now—to our daily dilemmas, or something is terribly wrong.
First of all, life sometimes doesn’t have a 5-step solution. We might just need to accept that right now.
However, even when there is room for progress, it’s often a long road to change.
Instead of bemoaning the wait, what if we choose to discover what we can learn about ourselves and others through the transition and start serving there?
What specific thought patterns can we change so that, instead of allowing the in-between places to destroy us, we can discover the rich beauty found through transition?
Acceptance as a Place of Trust
Jesus taught us much about acceptance as an opportunity for deeper trust in God.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus wrestled with the agony of choosing to go to the cross. He didn’t have to accept that His fate was to be a sacrifice for all. He, being God, had the power to not accept it. But He chose God’s way because although he understood the cost of his decision, he also understood fully the wholeness and perfection that comes with accepting God’s way.
And that’s a lesson for us, friends. If we believe that God is in control of every part of our lives, then mustn’t we accept that our lives right now are somehow part of his bigger plan? What purpose is there is fighting and complaining about it, especially if we truly believe that He is in control?
NOTE: I’m not saying that human sin or discord (which we often must accept) is part of his plan or that it’s OK. Not at all.
But we also must accept (and trust in His truth) that he somehow purposes everything for our good, even those sinful things that aren’t of him.
Acceptance with Joy (Not Without It)
Acceptance can be done as a drudgery—as an “I have to” act. But this isn’t the answer because then we’re simply replacing our frustration over the situation with an obligation to trudge through.
Don’t get me wrong: Acceptance with joy isn’t a natural response (especially when you first start practicing it). You may have to fake-it-till-you-make-it at first.
But eventually the best kind of acceptance—the kind that brings lasting life and peace—will be found when joy is the source.
Acceptance as Impetus to Change
Acceptance doesn’t mean settling, however. Acceptance can be what spurs us toward change.
In fact, acceptance is often the first step to change. We must first accept, “Hey, I’ve gained a bit of weight” before we can be fully committed to a new exercise plan and healthier diet.
If we lean too much on being content with everything as it is, we lose the God-given ability to make much-needed improvement in our lives; and if we focus too heartily on change, then we miss the power of resting in his omnipotence.
It’s a daily–and difficult!—tension, but ultimately, acceptance means finding the ability to be content with whatever the day brings and yet still find opportunities for there to be a better way.
Letting God Lead You Through Acceptance with Joy
We are all being called to learn acceptance with joy, and yet, we’re all on different points on that journey.
I challenge you to read through these four Bible verses and use a inductive Bible study method like the 5 Rs method I’ve created to gain a deeper understanding of what God wants to say to you about “acceptance with joy.”
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” Ephesians 4:2-4
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4
My prayer is that you will begin today to let the simple-but-powerful phrase “acceptance with joy” bring new peace and hope to your mothering!
P.S. Is “acceptance with joy” something you want to work on? Why not join us for the “7 Days to a Less Angry Mom” course so that we can explore this concept further?
The course consists of:
—7 pre-recorded online teaching sessions,
—50 homework pages
–Private Facebook group
In this course, you will:
- Identify key anger triggers.
- Discover powerful in-the-moment anger strategies.
- Learn how to (really) turn up the calm in your life!
- Find a custom, step-by-step approach to lasting change.
- Grace-filled, biblical advice from a mom that’s been there!
Find real solutions for dealing with the ongoing frustrations of motherhood in this awesome course!
Click “learn more” to watch a free sample video and get a free sample homework download!
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