Seeing the Good When You Feel Like You Are Slumping Through the Bad
I slump through leading my class of ten little 4 and 5 year-olds feeling defeated…..by my own child. I see every time he wanders off the carpet, every time he jumps up to do something without me asking or when he shows aggression towards any perceived misdemeanor from his peers, and my mind wanders deeper and deeper into mom-failure-mode. And then it happens.
I turn around from pointing something out on the board, only to witness him flicking his pencil at another little girl. Mom rage starts to well up, and inwardly I decide he must be banished from my class. I was about to march his misbehaving little self out to the hallway for all eternity when another mom in the classroom interjects,
“You know, she did it first to him. It seems more like they both need to apologize to each other.”
Had I only been seeing the negative this whole time? Had I been so quick to see all the things that my little child was doing wrong and so busy reprimanding, correcting, fixing it all that there was no room, no space in my mind’s eye to see the other side of every situation?
This doesn’t excuse retaliation, but at least it slowed my mental spiral downward, enough to breath a prayer, “Lord, help me to see the good!”
Hug and say goodbye to all my little students….check.
Clean up classroom… check.
Rewrite memory board for next week while nursing an overly tired and hungry baby….check.
Pack up all props and supplies… check.
Load up kids and supplies and bags and myself into our massive, yes-we-have-a-large-family car…. check.
And behind that steering wheel, as I drive home, the answer to that breath prayer, “Lord, help me to see the good!” seemed to come in the form of a rush of every Bible verse I had ever memorized about that which is good flooding my mind…
“God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:18
The Lord is good and His love endures forever. Psalm 100:5
The Lord will indeed give what is good. Psalm 85:12
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; Psalm 118:1
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the
heavenly lights. James 1:17
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, (anything good) think about these things. Phillipians 4:8-9
I ruminate….and wonder….
If the eye is the lamp of the body, and the eyes are good, they will see that it was good, just like our Creator and Designer saw that it was good (Gen.1:25c) But if the eyes are bad, they will see bad, and the body is filled with darkness….which leads to discouragement, frustration, despair….which is a definite impediment from a mom celebrating the good in her children, or anywhere for that matter.
Good mothering. Good children. Good behavior. Good motives. Good in the world. Isn’t that the end goal I’m aiming for, and how have I missed the mark so drastically? The more I focus on how far I, and my family, are from the mark of what I have longed for, the more have tried in my own strength the manipulate the situation, control the circumstance, constrain my children’s reactions.
And the harder I squeeze the more of a mess I make.
But what if the answer is not in changing anything?
What if it is just in seeing the good? The way I was designed to see? The way God sees?
What if my children will live into and up to the goodness that I see and name in them?
What if my joy will remain when I have eyes looking for the good, instead of always looking at what needs to change?
Six months ago I would have stopped my musings at those questions, questions leading to new resolutions to start seeing the good. I would be on a mission to fulfill my newfound
truth LAW. I would have subconsciously added it to Kimberly’s (subconscious) Book of Godly Laws That Will Make Me Happy, as #2,589, and I would have excitedly embarked on fulfilling it….for about 4 days. And then the kid’s bickering would eat away at me. And the messy house would defeat me. And the never ending schedule would wear me down. And then I would stop seeing the good. And not only that, but with the failure to see the good, I would have a monkey of condemnation on my back, taunting me, “If you would only see the good, if you would only see the good! If you would only see the good!”
So here I arrest the taking-everything-helpful-and-turning-it-into-a-law cycle and declare:
The Good God who truly wants me to see the Good He does and gives, is the only one who can empower the good-seeing that I long for.
I find that the ability to live in the good, pleasing and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2) comes not from my self effort, my strongest resolves, or even my desire to do so. The ability to live in this reality, takes a renewing of the mind, no longer conforming to the patterns that seem to defeat. But even the renewing of my mind is preceded not by effort, resolves and desires, but rather surrender.
“I urge you…in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice.”
Seeing Good, believing Good, sharing Good comes in utter and complete abandon and surrender to the One Who Is Good.
To be a living sacrifice requires the surrender of the WHOLE self, not just parts of the self that I have realized need fixing.
When we get out of the way of trying to fix, control, and manipulate ourselves or others, (even in attempting to see the good!) there is room for the Good Creator God to come in and do His good, pleasing and perfect will in and through our lives.
May it be as true now as it was at the beginning of Creation,
And God saw that it was good.
And today, may it be through my eyes, that He does His seeing
of the good.