My high school geometry teacher used to tell us that our brains were attached to the tip of our pencils. She wanted us to take notes and show our work. She has a great point. Writing does a magic trick… it turns the invisible into the visible.
Ruth is an amazing friend of mine. She opened her house as a host for an innovative program called Safe Families and had a teenager living in her house taking on a temporary guardian relationship. This high school girl needed a place to stay while her family figured some things out, but Ruth did more than give her a room. I was at Ruth’s one night and used her restroom where the mirror was framed with sticky notes of affirmation for her guest. “You have great value.” “God calls you His Daughter.” “I’m proud of you for . . .” and they went on and on. Ruth often got ready and left for work before her guest got ready for school, and I can imagine her fixing her hair in the morning and rereading her collection of encouragements from Ruth.
Imagine starting your day surrounded by the positive things people see in you.
My thoughts are a war zone. I especially love Missy Higgins and her song Watering Hole. It describes perfectly this idea that these thoughts we’re running from coming home in our heads to take up residence. You can watch her singing this here. If only there was a way I could tip the balance allowing my better thoughts to win the war.
Managing the invisible mess: the thoughts in my head.
My thoughts may be invisible, but my response to them is anything but. And they trend in predictable ways. I know from experience what time of day my patience runs so thin I shouldn’t walk out onto that ice. Without an afternoon piece of peace my ugly stepsister greets my husband when he comes home instead of me.
When this happens I need serious intervention, like a piano that’s been left in a damp basement for years. I’m caught on this idea of tuning my heart; changing the dial on my thoughts to something with less static. So, I’m writing my love out… right now in the form of lists of things for which I’m grateful. Not an original idea, I know. Gratitude acts as the antidote to negative thinking.
We have recently moved states and before we can buy a house, my husband’s parents have let us move in with them. I’m the girl who went to college with her high school best friend and we intentionally chose different dorms in order to stay friends. I know I have proximity-related relationship challenges. I doubt I’m the only one. So I’ll be living with my in-laws and spending most of my time with my mother-in-law. I now have a list on my phone (in Notes) called “My Awesome Mom” and every day I’m writing 5 things I love about my mother-in-law. (Not a challenge, really. She’s pretty amazing.) It’s a great way to tune my heart and manage the invisible mess in a proactive way. It’s like doing laundry as soon as you have a full load instead of putting it off until there’s 7 loads and a whole day needing to be renamed “laundry day.”
Do you need to change the dial on your thoughts? How do you write your love out?