We all want to be able to say we lived a good and happy life but does that always feel true in the midst of the living of the life? It’s so much easier to focus on how life is letting us down or the circumstances that we are facing.
Something that I’ve found to be a cure to the biggest wallowing in misery and self-pity is Thankfulness. Does thankfulness automatically change your situation? No- but it does change your perspective which changes your attitude towards your situations.
Thankfulness guards against bitterness.
Do you ever wonder why people in general seem to be happier around Christmas time?
I think that it has a lot to do with the fact that December comes right after November. And in November we spend time focusing on thankfulness. I don’t know about you but I could see a very obvious shift in people’s’ attitudes once November hit.
Let me tell you, I spend a lot of time with teenagers, and I could feel a shift with them once the month switched over. They were happier, they were more uplifting and encouraging, they were complaining less; it was a noticeable shift.
I’ve not only noticed it in others’ lives but in my own as well. I’ve struggled less with stress and moodiness even though I’ve been so much busier and have faced situations that normally would leave me feeling completely overwhelmed.
So how do we make thankfulness a part of our daily life?
1. Start your Prayers out with Thanking the Lord.
Even in the midst of the hardest portion of our lives, there is something to be thankful for. If you still have breath in your lungs, you still have a purpose on this earth. Focus on your blessings when you are talking to God. For me, if I take time to thank the Lord once I get to what I was asking Him to do on my behalf, it feels a little less like LIFE AND DEATH (though it very well may be) and more like, “Okay God, whatever happens in this situation, it’s going to be okay.”
You may not think that can happen for you, but I dare you to give it a try. When you really recount how much you are blessed with, it takes your mind off what you lack.
2. Write your blessings down!
When God answers a prayer, write it down.
When someone blesses you, write it down.
When you have a “God wink”, write it down.
When your kids mind the first time, write it down. ; )
Write them down in a journal, on your mirror, or something cuter from Pinterest, just somewhere it will be at the forefront of your mind. Focus on the good that is happening around you! God is working for your good behind the scenes always, whether you can see it externally all the time or not. We have to pay attention to what He’s doing or else we won’t notice it, or we will notice but then forget once life gets hard again.
Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
3. Change your perspective on Hardships.
This is something the Lord has been speaking to me lately and it can be a little scary thinking about. One day a couple of weeks ago, I was scrolling through instagram looking at other people’s lives, when I realized a common theme on the people whose posts I commonly stopped to read, All of them have been through some sort of major trauma. A nasty divorce. The loss of a child. An extreme health condition. The list goes on…
It was there when I realized, it’s easy to live an easy life and have joy, though some of us don’t even do that well, but the people who have a massive impact on my life or on so many others lives, have had some INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT hardship. Somehow through it all, these people shine Jesus’ love, hope, and even joy.
We are so quick to think that our trials negate God’s faithfulness and love for us, but what if our trials actually prove His faithfulness to us? He is enough for whatever we face and if we chose it, He can bring beauty from the ashes which is the true miracle and proof of His power.
James 1:2-4: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
4. Choose your words wisely.
It’s easy to get into the habit of immediately going to the nearest person and sharing with them everything that just went wrong.
**Who is internally raising their hand right now? I AM!!**
There is a time and place to share what is going on in your life and there are going to be moments of frustration BUT- don’t let your moments of frustration turn into an attitude of frustration. I HAVE BEEN THERE! Its miserable. You deserve more!
Frustration can temporarily discourage you but don’t allow it to permanently destroy you.
Complaining and negative talk spreads like a wildfire. Make sure you take it to Jesus before you take it to everyone else on planet earth. He might have something He wants to teach you, grow you, and flourish you in the midst of the frustration. And he’s way better at advise than your neighbor.
Philippians 2:14: “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you.”
James 1:19-20: “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”
Friends, I do not have all the answers, I’ve just had to learn the hard way many times and I’m so thankful to serve a God who continually extends grace. John 16:33 ” I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
We will have trouble in life and the enemy wants to use it to convince you that you are defeated while God is trying to tell you not to lose heart, He ALREADY has the victory, He has already overcome it all. Our life is but a vapor in all eternity, how we spend it matters. God is FOR YOU and He is with you! He is enough even if you’re facing the hardest part of your life. He is enough for you.
Praying blessings over every person that reads this. That you may thrive even in the darkest places because of the Light that dwells in you!