Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Attitude adjustment

That would be an attitude adjustment on my part. And what do I need to adjust my attitude about? Bill paying. I dislike it. I dread it coming every two weeks. I put off dealing with anything to do with bill paying for as long as possible. And I am not a pleasant person when I finally work up the energy to deal with it. But I had several wake-up calls yesterday about how I approach it and feel I need to do some things differently.

Wake up call #1 was a very good friend calling and announcing out of the blue that she thought that the two of us needed to change our attitude toward bill paying. It was interesting timing since I was just beginning the process of slogging through the piles which had built up on my desk in order to begin the process. She pointed out that perhaps we were not being exactly models of mental health for our children in this area.

Wake up call #2 happened while I was on the phone with my friend and continued to sort through the piles when I discovered that the bills I had paid and thought I had mailed lay buried at the bottom of the mess. Bills which will result in late fees and penalties that I just don't want to think about. The stress I felt upon finding them made my feel physically ill which just added to the unpleasantness. If I did not insist on ignoring the growing stack of papers on my desk until the last minute, I would have found them sooner and avoided the whole yucky episode.

Wake up call #3 was due to a comment on yesterday's post about children wanting to do what their parents enjoy doing. A commentor mentioned that her children actually do play 'bill paying'. Mine have never done this and the older ones actually stay pretty well vanished during the entire process. A testament to my unpleasant temper while using the subtract key on my calculator. But I realized that what I have done is to very successfully transfer my stress about bill paying to my children. I don't want to do that.

What I mean to do is to communicate that we may not have huge amounts of extra cash, but God does provide for our needs. I want to show them that God is faithful and that we have no need to worry. The truth is I have not been successful and that my children do worry about money because that is what I have taught them. Not in so many words but with my actions and attitude. Why else would bill paying be a fearful thing? Why else would my most anxious child always want to know what something costs or if we have enough to pay for something? The cold hard truth is that what I say and what I really believe appear to be two very different things.

So I've been pulled up short and realize that I need to repent of my real beliefs because they just aren't true. Time and time again, God has shown himself faithful. This is what I want my children to know. I want my children to have memories of a thankful and peaceful mother and not one who is angry and anxious. I will admit that this attitude of mine about bill paying has been nurtured for a very long time and it will be difficult to change, but that is what I am going to work on doing.

There are three steps that I can work on right away. The first is just to not let myself go to bed if there is a pile of paper on my desk. I need to open the bills and file them in the correct folder so they are ready to pay. I need to subtract the balance of my checkbook every single day and not just leave all that subtraction for bill paying day. I need to think of bill paying as something that happens every day and not just a peculiar torture that occurs every two weeks.

The next is that I can focus a lot more on being thankful for what we do have. And that's not just extras. Heat, clean water, electricity to power all of our conveniences are not really something to take for granted, yet I do this all the time. I may complain about these bills, but I would complain a lot more without the services they pay for. I know that thankfulness can help overcome a whole bunch of undesirable attitudes and need to make better use of this knowledge.

And lastly, I need to work on being pleasant to my family when I pay the bills. I do not need to take out any anxiousness I have on them, and in fact giving in to that anxiousness instead of focusing on God's peace is not healthy or helpful. It is actually selfishness which allows me to snarl at my family and it is not good for anyone.

So there you go. I'm sharing this because I find public accountability to be a very useful motivating tool for me. If I know that in two weeks I have to come back here and 'fess up to how things are going, I will try just a little harder to do my best. And frankly, I don't enjoy getting all worked up about the whole thing every two weeks and would just as soon skip that aspect of paying the bills.
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Does little Chad weigh heavily on anyone else' heart? This little, little boy is nine (!) years old. His medical file has scared away many people because it includes 'arachnoid cyst' in his medicals. Google it, in the great scheme of things, it seems kind of not a big deal, especially compared to the results of the massive neglect he has experienced.

But even given that neglect, he smiles, he walks (this is astounding considering) holding onto someone's hand,  and a mother who recently visited him called him a 'cheerful little monkey'. He sounds adorable. But he is in an institution where the pronoun 'it' is used to describe him. IT!. He is a person, not an it, and he needs a family!

He looks like a sweetheart with his curly hair. Pray, pray, pray that his family finds him. You can see his information on Reece's Rainbow.

1 comment:

Shonya said...

Great post! I love the way the Lord gives us wake up calls, even when they aren't pleasant. And I love the way you broke it down, step by step, what you can do.

Now does this mean I have to change my attitude about organizing?? :)

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