If there were ever a time to struggle with control, now is not the time.
I say this because it’s been a little rainy lately, and rain, while necessary, is not always appreciated in large quantities—especially when you’re trying to plant a field.
I was driving the other night and it was nearly 11 p.m. when I saw several pairs of headlights in the fields, working the ground and planting because the rain had finally held off for longer than 24 hours. This rain isn’t something we can control and that’s incredibly, incredibly frustrating. Farmers are some of the hardest working people around—they’ll work 16-hour days if the weather will allow it—and right now, they’re unable to do the one thing they want to do. Ask any farmer and I’m sure he’d tell you he would love a good, long, productive day.
Springtime is planting time for these farmers and I’m sure they’d love for everything to run smoothly so they can get their work done, but that’s not how life goes sometimes. Sometimes it rains for a week straight and fields flood and freshly planted seeds get washed away.
And you know what I’m sure every one doesn't want to hear?
You can’t control the circumstances, but you can control your attitude.
It’s not like they hate to hear it in a that’s-dumb-and-not-true kind of way. It’s more of a yeah-yeah-I-know-but-I’m-tired-of-that kind of way.
I know we all can relate to times of feeling frustrated and hopeless. We all know what it’s like to try so hard to hold things together for so long, to try to stay positive and hopeful, to seem like we’re doing just fine, but all of that can only last for so long. When the circumstances aren’t changing but you’re still trying to have a good attitude, it starts to feel really, really unfair.
And what good does it do anyways? It requires more of an effort from me to try to stay positive and if my positive attitude isn’t going to change the circumstance, why bother trying? I’m already going through this really frustrating time, I don’t want to add more to the struggle by trying to be all happy when in reality, I’m super grumpy. Being a grump is easy.
But being a grump isn’t nice. I’ve learned that even though it’s easier for me, my grumpiness doesn’t help anyone else, and it doesn’t help me either. I’ve learned that a bad attitude is incredibly limiting. It’s a cycle that goes a little like this:
Something upsets me. If I can fix it, I will and things will be fine. If I can’t fix it, I feel like I’m out of control, and because I like to be the one in control of my life, not being able to fix things really frustrates me. Out of frustration and this desire to control the thing I can’t control, I get really grumpy and I can only focus on the stupid thing I can’t control, and pretty soon, that thing controls me.
When my focus is on this thing that only brings negativity into my life, my life begins to feel really negative. I feel like I’m not good enough, I don’t have enough, nothing is enough! Then I want to make up for that thing that I can’t control so I begin to take total control of other things: I’ll clean, I’ll reorganize files, I’ll color coordinate my closet…is that OCD? Maybe.
But controlling other things doesn’t fix the original problem. If I can’t control the problem, nothing I do will fix it. As frustrating as it is, I kinda just have to wait it out or try to ignore it.
You know that saying, “It’s not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain?” It’s kinda like that. I guess we just have to find the positive things and control what we can (and by control what we can, I mean our perspectives and attitudes, not the cleanliness of our houses or closets).
When all I can do is focus on the one thing that's bothering me so much, I start to forget about all there is to be thankful for. I begin to lose inspiration and motivation to do other things. I miss out on opportunities and making memories because I'm too concerned with this thing. And that's why I say a grumpy attitude is so limiting. It doesn't just make me feel sad, it prevents me from joy.
Is focusing on the good stuff in our lives going to stop the rain? No. But it will make the rain a little more bearable.