Maybe some of you can relate to this. When God is working on something in my life, it kind of becomes a theme with me. (I’m waiting for the theme about quiet and stillness, but that seems incompatible with this phase of Motherhood. Someday I’d like to be alone with my thoughts… or at least alone in the bathroom.) For the last 7 or 8 months, God has been teaching me about Thankfulness. I’ve been putting it into practice and noticing the changes it has made in me and my circumstances.
It all started last year sometime when I noticed a complaining and whiny tone in my voice. I have a very low tolerance for people who complain and whine. I can stand it for less than 5 minutes before I just have to walk away. My excuse usually involves a pressing appointment with a dentist for a root canal, but don’t be fooled… I’m running away from the wet blanket personality. It’s actually a form of mercy, because if I stood there listening any longer, I might slap someone in the face. So when I heard this tone in my own voice, I was disgusted with myself.
Things lead to things and I found myself doing some Bible studies on Complaining. That’s when I stumbled upon Thanksgiving as an antidote to feeling sorry for myself. During the month of November, every single day I posted something on my Facebook status that I was thankful for. It wasn’t hard to think of things, actually it was harder to narrow it down to one thing a day! I found that the more full of Thanks I was, the less likely I was to find things to be cranky and whiny about. By then, Thankfulness had taken on a life of its own and had become a habit.
Thankfulness breeds Joy. That’s what I’ve discovered. By nature, I am a Murphy’s Law- Glass Half Empty sort of person. I call it Realistic, not Pessimistic. So I’m still not going around like a Pollyanna always looking for sunshine in the gloom. What has changed is my appreciation of both sunshine and gloom. I can be Thankful for both. I can thank God for sending both good things and hard things my way. My Joy is unshakeable because it is no longer dependent upon my circumstances. I can see the loving hand of God reaching out to me even in the darkness and I am thankful that He’s there.
God wants you to live a life full of Joy. In the good times AND the bad times, you can have Joy. Satan wants to steal your Joy, to make you feel guilty and sorry for yourself. Nothing will kill your Joy faster than complaining. And nothing will safeguard your Joy like Thankfulness.
If you feel like you’re being robbed of your Joy, I challenge you to be deliberate about practicing Thankfulness. It’s an easy habit to acquire once you get started. You’ll see results faster than you imagined. Start a list of things to be thankful for, soon your Joy will be evident to everyone who knows you.
In addition, here’s another article called “15 Powerful things that Happy People Do Differently” Notice #12.