4 steps for in the moment mindset shifts

Once we see the thing that’s really bothering us, how do we move on? It’s hard enough to figure out what’s really going on underneath…what’s the next step? It continues to be a long road of practice for me – to take the useful step of progress as I grow in my various responsibilities rather than wasting my energy getting angry over how I’m not perfect yet. A progress over perfection mindset is essential once you start to grow your level of self-awareness.


You "know" what you're supposed to do and say but what do you do when you freak out, feel anxious, and struggle to think clearly? Here are 4 steps for in the moment mindset shifts including a real-life example of that time I lost my cool over some frozen spaghetti squash. More at: http://alisanelson.co

I was given 4 big + beautiful spaghetti squash. Then I forgot them in my car and they froze solid.

While running errands with my kids I started feeling myself getting angry – snapping at Frey for talking so much (ummm, she’s 3. Cool it, mom?). We were already at our destination by the time I realized it was the “THUNK, THUNK” of the frozen spaghetti squash in my trunk that was grating on me. Resonating sounds of my failure to be a good housewife.


Making mistakes makes me angry. My daughter’s mistakes make me angry. I get angry over being angry. I don’t want to need help and I definitely don’t want to need Jesus.


Since I want to override this frame of mind, I need a repeatable formula of sorts that I can walk through with predictable success. I thought I would share it with you since I know I’m not the only one who struggles to keep a progress over perfection perspective!



Here’s a few things I do to shift my mindset toward progress over perfection:

I describe what I’m doing out loud

Most of the time verbalizing what’s going on exposes my silly expectations. It also helps me see the real problem I need to solve –

  • “I am mad at myself for letting the squash freeze. I wanted to do a good job here and from my viewpoint, I now have to cook all of them right when they thaw or throw them away. I did this last year and I didn’t like the taste. I’m frustrated that I didn’t do this right…again.”

I’m usually saying this to my daughter if I’ve been snapping at her – maybe not all of it but a simple explanation to emphasize “it’s not you, it’s me.”

I point out the silly parts and get perspective

I honestly don’t like silver lining. I like where reality meets undeserved kindness. As entrepreneurs running a start up, being good stewards of our resources feels like it needs to be perfect. There are consequences to my forgetfulness and I don’t want to gloss over that simply because “self-love.” Instead, I want to practice seeing my mistakes the same way the Lord sees them –

  • “Frozen squash is a bummer but it’s silly to be angry about it. I made a mistake. In this case, the consequences are not dire. Lord, I’m thankful that the consequences here are manageable. I’m thankful for the chance to see how my mistakes impact my attitude towards my kids. I’m thankful that you continue to give us more than enough and that it’s up to you to sustain my family – not me. “

I for sure talk about this with my daughter because when I know she sees my struggle with trying to control everything, I sure as hell want her to see me seeking repentance for it. This is based on my understanding of Paul’s call for us to live sober-minded. I don’t need silver lining to love myself, I need perspective on how deeply the Father loves me and how he can use even this to sanctify my heart and transform me to be more like Christ.

I repent

Since repentance isn’t necessarily clear, here’s an example of what it looks like for me based on my understanding from Scripture and specific teaching I’ve had from pastors –

  • “Lord, I made this about me. I chose to believe that caring for my family is a heavy burden that I bear alone. I chose to believe you are insufficient. Out of that belief I became angry at those you have entrusted to me. I want to turn from that belief, to rest in your sustaining power and the grace that is mine because of what Jesus did. Thank you for your continued forgiveness of my pride and thank you for this sign of grace – this opportunity to practice believing you are who you say you are and you will continue to sanctify my heart.”

I also ask Freyda to forgive me for yelling / giving silly commands / lacking grace with her. We’ve practiced this quite a bit and she seems to understand. {This part is super hard for me because sometimes I still feel justified in the yelling I did – maybe she was actually doing something wrong and I feel anxious that if I am the one apologizing, she will think she was the license to disobey. Praying for better understanding of grace here. Parenting is super hard, man.}

We cuddle, tickle, and be silly

I have seriously cuddly children. Especially if we’ve been disconnected lately (mom’s been short-tempered), they seek out a lot of physical touch. Which is super tough if I’m still struggling with why I’m angry. By God’s grace this process softens my heart. In the instance of running errands, I pull Frey up to the front seat for a squeeze and some giggle time and make extra effort in the store to engage her (+Arthur) in our shopping. Big idea here: I’m conscious of my children’s love languages and I’m staying present with them in the post-repentence period. For me, it helps me to keep praying and rejoicing in grace which in turn helps me exude love + respect + kindness to my kids rather than going right back into short-tempered.

Sometimes I wonder if I am trying to make up for my yelling – which I don’t want to do. So I’m usually also thinking consciously about what grace looks like in these moments. Frey is usually wanting to do different things to errands more fun and I aim to stay focused on our parenting big ideas – saying yes as much as possible from a heart of grace and also from an understanding of what I really want my parenting to look like. For example, we don’t get treats because we have treats at home. In certain stores she stays in the cart because the aisles are narrow. We giggle and she helps open the fridge doors or helps put items in the cart because that’s how we do family together.


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