When It Is What It Is

I hate to be tardy but sometimes … it happens. Most of those times, it’s my fault. Like when I was fifteen minutes late to an appointment that my friend Tina was driving me to.

“I should have scheduled the meeting for later when traffic wasn’t so heavy,” I said as she signaled to change lanes.

“I can’t believe you’re so calm,” my friend replied.

I was calm because there was nothing I could do to change the situation. Experience has taught me (over and over) that the peace that transcends all understanding never came on the tail end of a panic attack. And no matter how much we want to be in control, there will always be some unforeseen circumstance to remind us that God is God and we … are not.

I feel so strongly about this that I came up with a rhyme to remind my daughters—and myself—that obsessing over the unknown or the unavoidable is an unproductive waste of time:

If it is what it is, why complain? It makes you unhappy and drives others insane.

Although not my best poetic prose, these words are a reminder that controlling our behavior is in everyone’s best interest as we keep problems in perspective and encourage fellow travelers to do the same.

Whoever is patient has great understanding,
but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. – Proverbs 14:29

Putting Every System To The Test

A friend just e-mailed me to say that her family is staying in a hotel while new hardwood floors are being installed in their home. I remember the first time we moved into a house with wood floors. I had no idea how to take care of them. What I did know was that I had an obligation to find out. Jesus made this clear in Luke 12:48 when he said: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” 

After making a call to the business that installed our flooring, I purchased a Bona Hardwood Floor Care System and have been using this company’s products ever since. What I like most about Bona is that they haven’t rested on their laurels. When the company created a floor mop with a refillable cleaner cartridge, I wanted to tell every mom I knew to ask for it for Mother’s Day. (I’m that passionate about progress.)

To pass some of  my enthusiasm along to you, I close with one of my favorite (and perhaps my only) process improvement rhymes:

Put every system to the test until your good is better and your better is best.

If Yes Then Press

While attending a women’s conference one weekend, speaker and event founder Jill Savage shared a parenting
technique she used when deciding which battles to pick with her kids.

Jill first explained that, whenever she had to decide whether to stand firm on an issue, she would
ask herself: “Will this matter in fifteen years?”

“If the answer is yes then fight,” she told the 5,061 women in attendance through clenched fists that
made her look like a boxer ready to face an opponent.

“If the answer is no, then let it go,” she added while relaxing her hands and moving them in the same
way that an umpire does when he announces that a batter is safe.

Little did I know that I would be applying Jill’s technique when I arrived home to find that the custom curtains installed in our living room while I was away did not look like the ones I had ordered.

“The panels are supposed to have a strip of lighter-colored fabric along the edge to match the cornice,” I told my husband.

“I wish you’d have scheduled the installers to come on a day you were going to be here,” Bill replied.

I do too, I thought to myself as I stared at the curtains and wondered what to do next.

“God promises to use bad for good,” I said after calling on Romans 8:28 for comfort, “since the curtains are covering more of the window than we thought they would, maybe this means we should order tie backs in the lighter-colored fabric instead.”

Bill agreed with my assessment and headed upstairs as I checked the doors and turned out the lights. Knowing that “God works for the good of those who love him” should have been all that I needed for a good night’s sleep. Instead, I tossed and turned as I thought about how someone else’s mistake was now mine to correct.

The more I thought about this newest item on my To Do list, the more irritated I became. To calm myself down, I remembered what Jill Savage said at the conference and asked myself: “Will this matter in fifteen years?”

Knowing that the answer was no, I took her advice and let it go. The technique worked so well to clear the mental air  that I decided to turn it into a rhyme that I teach to my children. I offer it to you in the hope that it will help you while parenting yours:


To reduce stress and minimize tears,

ask will this matter in fifteen years.

If yes, then press. If no, let it go.