This post is by Tami Rodriguez.
As the years go by, one of the things I have found fascinating and amazing is how much our mindset affects every aspect of our lives. It’s hard to wrap my brain around how something as little as how you think can really make that big of a difference…especially for me.
Ironically, I can see it easily in other people. In my kids I see how their mindset as they approach things is pretty foretelling as to how that activity or interaction is going to go. If they think it will be dumb or miserable or hard…it usually is. And if they think it’s going to be amazing…it usually is.
A great example of this is my kids’ youth group went to Kentucky, far back in the Appalachian Mountains this spring to help a local mission. While there, they would dig holes for footings, paint, organize and move food for an upcoming food drive and do a general cleaning of facilities. The mindset they went down with was to try to outdo the list that the mission leader made for the group. If he thought they’d paint 2 rooms, they wanted to paint 5. If he thought the food organizing would take 3 hours, they wanted it to take 1…and they pretty much succeeded! Their leaders said it was hilarious because everyday they behaved like little kids stealing cookies from a cookie jar. Anytime they could get in extra work, whether staying later or getting more done than expected, they celebrated.
Now let's take a minute and remember who we're dealing with here. Teenagers. You’ve met them before right? I am certain if at home I told them to do even half of this work, the moaning and shoulders slumping with a fallen head would’ve been too great to imagine!
This spring I found myself struggling with my mindset—particularly in the value of being a stay at home mom of teens. Somewhere in my mind I decided what I was doing wasn’t important and I wasn’t really needed. What developed from that thinking was a lack of joy and a lot of self pity and doubt.
As I prayed and wrestled with God, I felt Him challenging me to change my mindset. I started to slow down, enjoy the chaos and just soak it all in. Instead of feeling like everyone was dumping on me, I had new eyes to see how my teens were using me to process and work through experiences and demands that were new to them. I became so thankful that I was home and available to help them do that. I looked for ways to create joy and be more intentional no matter what I was doing.
I also went to the Word and there remembered He promises to “gently lead those that have young” (Isaiah 40:11). Having teenagers (and young adults) means I need a LOT of leading! I wasn’t doing this all alone.
Then I decided to take on that mindset my teens had when heading south! I started thinking of ways I could out-serve my family or make them smile in our ordinary and sometimes mundane days. My joy and energy started to return. Seeing that change so clearly now makes me excited to be more proactive in the future.
I want to look at what’s happening and ask myself how I am perceiving it and how I can change my perspective if needed. I don’t want to ever settle for being a victim of my own thinking or habits. Jesus said He came to give us abundant life (John 10:10) and Paul reminds us that we are more than conquerors through Christ (Romans 8:27). I don’t know about you, but I want to live THAT kind of life! And I’m realizing that it often starts with just one little shift in my thinking.
Tami Rodriguez has been married to her high school sweetheart for 30 years and has 5 children plus a lovely daughter in law! She has homeschooled for 18 years and still has 4 more to go...send coffee! Tami is a lifelong learner who loves to study God’s Word and share with others whenever given the opportunity. You can find her living life as “just a mom who likes to write” over on instagram @rodfamily007.
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