A four day weekend to go camping with friends. Sounds amazing right? And it was but only when I put into practice the attitude adjustments I am fond of talking about and teaching my daughter but not always doing myself! It all started with a fire. The camp ground that we had selected and been planning for was right in the middle of an extensive bushfire a couple of weeks ago. Plans had to be changed.
We chose a new destination and back up, packed up (with a few minor issues on the camper trailer sorted first) and headed off, only to discover our trailer brakes and lights had not appreciated the long gap between camping trips. A stop to check them over and assess. The decision made to push on and hope it was surface rust on the brakes that would be ok (it was) and enough lights were still showing to be safe. After driving down to our first choice, we discovered it was full. And then a car tyre failed and went completely flat. By now, it was getting late. We had to make the call to stay in the overflow area, squeezed in together and five minutes walk from the toilets.
I could feel the tension building. I could feel the pull towards wanting to be sulky, snappy and make sure everyone knew that this was not the weekend away that I had wanted. I have let my feelings take me on that path before. It was a wrestle. I had to let go of the ideas of a perfect camping trip and embrace what was before me. I could focus on the distance to the toilet and the cramped space or I could revel in the quiet bush view from my annex and enjoy my daughter’s delight in having other girls to play with close by. It still amazes me how powerful shifting our focus to gratitude and embracing the good in the moment can be.
As a wife and mother, I have so much influence over the atmosphere of our home, even a temporary home while camping. I have seen the impact my attitude has had when I have let my emotions and “poor pity me” thinking run rampant. Not only am I miserable, but my family is too. Tension builds. Fights and arguments escalate. The opposite is true when I bring an attitude of acceptance, let go of complaining and highlight the good. It ripples out over my family.
So what does it actually look like? For me this weekend, it was a rocky start. I heard myself complaining and felt the physical tension and facial expression setting in. I had to make the choice to acknowledge what wasn’t ideal and how I was feeling, both to my husband and internally. Then I had to look for solutions more than dwell on the problems. I looked around for what I liked about this spot. Some of it came about when I had to fake it to start with. My daughter was having a hard time with the tense discussions, the flat tyre and the uncertainty around her. I had to pull myself together and point out good things to her, calm her mind and take the perspective of adventure. The feelings often follow the choice.
Once we were set up and somewhat settled, I also needed to take some quiet time alone to sit and stare at the bush and pray. I have learned that I need that time alone to settle my soul within me. There is only so much pushing through and fighting for a better perspective that I can do with others. I need that time with my Father God to release my emotions to him, acknowledge where I am at and find the grace to change.
What about you? How do you handle those shifts in attitude? What can you put in place to ensure the atmosphere in your home is peace and love-filled more than tension-inducing?
I loved diving into Amanda Viviers’ Create: Summer prompts and now her Create: Autumn magazine and prompts are out! This is week 1.