I’ve noticed something creeping into our home that literally sucks the joy and contentment from life’s atmosphere. The culprit? Whining. Complaining. Criticizing. Negativity.
It’s one attitude that can make my face do that “I’m so annoyed” thing. Not that I’m completely innocent. I sometimes jump on the complainers-unite-bandwagon. Usually internally. About more “mature” issues. Ridiculous. But seeing it from the vantage point of parenthood gives me new disdain. A disdain I pray continues to infect my own heart and need for gratitude.
So one thing I’ve done to help destroy this joy-stealing-villain is to start my kids with their own gratitude journals. Following the lead of so many lovely people who beautifully preach the message of “giving thanks” (sidenote: old news, have you read Ann’s book yet?), each of my kids have a new challenge: count your daily gifts, one by one.
I pray they learn to look for God in the dailiness of life. Yes, yucky stuff happens. Yes, we don’t always get what we “want”. Yes, some days will tempt us to crawl back in bed and pretend we’re in some tropical location. Alone. And happy. But “this is the day The Lord made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Choosing continual thanks doesn’t mean we don’t see the mess or the areas of life that could be better. It just means we choose to look more intently at God. If He’s always good (which He is), and nothing can separate us from His love (which it can’t), then there are always evidences of His love and goodness in the dailiness of life. Even in the most unwanted of days.
I could list a hundred verses from the Bible that talk about giving thanks continually…if I didn’t have three children who will be waking up soon looking for me and food. But the truth is that we learn contentment (which is beauty to our soul) through the door of thanksgiving.
We learn contentment through the door of thanksgiving.
Some days it will be harder to do. Some days, near impossible. But expecting to see the good, simply because of Who it is that sits on the throne of the universe, puts us in the position to receive His goodness. And what a devastation it would be to let all of His good gifts fall to the ground unnoticed.
So these little ones in the Williams’ home are choosing thanks. Well, they’re being forced to choose thanks with the hope that eventually continual gratitude will be their bent. And yes, I’m leading the way, journal in hand, noting the things He does to grace every moment with His love.
Fill me, Lord…
How have you noticed gratitude, even in the messiest parts of life, change your attitude and perspective?
Challenge: spend some time looking up verses in the Bible that contain the words “thanksgiving” or “thanks”. Then start counting His gifts in your today.