April Jeppson: In uncertainty, focus on what you can control
Every Little Thing by April Jeppson
Matthew 11:28: “ Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
I feel this in my soul right now. The kind of heavy and tired that no amount of sleep can fix. When my heart feels like this, it takes all my energy to do even the simplest of tasks. I can’t focus. It’s hard to smile. I’m short-tempered with my children. Or sometimes I just stare at people when they talk to me, trying to process what it is that they are saying.
Sad doesn’t cover it. Angry doesn’t cover it. I’m not sure there is one word out there that captures how I feel right now. I’m so furious. I’m heartbroken. My eyes still red from crying at my desk.
I feel powerless, and it sucks.
I used to watch the news daily. It’s been nine years since I stopped, so instead I would browse news websites to stay current. It’s been about five years since I unplugged from that as well. My little bubble was popped this week by the horrifying events happening just north of us. I am reminded why I had to cut out the 24-hour media circus years ago.
I am a very sensitive person. I take on highs and lows of those around me. I realized that not only do I absorb the attitudes and energies of those around me, but color and sound affect my emotions as well. I quickly replaced my brown carpet with a bright floral rug. That small change affected my daily mood more than I care to admit. Since then, I’ve painted a wall in my home pink, I decorate with whimsy and I crank positive tunes every chance I get.
Watching the news every day was informative, but it was also hours of depressing reports and constant rehashing of negative events. I realized that I couldn’t stop the war in the Middle East. I wasn’t going to single handedly free all the people who are being trafficked. I can’t stop bad people from doing bad things.
So what do I have power over? I have power over my own attitude and what happened within the four walls of my home. I have three small children who need me. They need their mommy to be on top of her game and not glossy eyed as I mourned the loss of all the trees being cut down in the rainforest. So that’s what I did. I turned off the noise from the TV and the computer, and I focused on the things I could control.
I can raise decent humans. I can produce three individuals who will sit with the lonely kid at lunch. I can teach them about respect and kindness. I can show them that being nice is more important than any grade they can get in school. I can help my children be better than I am so that the world will be a little better because of them. I hope that I can help them understand that not everyone has it as good as we do. We are blessed, and we need to share those blessings as often as we are able. And when it’s all too much to handle, I hope they seek rest in the Lord.
Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.