A couple of years ago I wrote this piece on Abounding in Thanksgiving and I cannot help but nestle back into it again. In case you missed it the first go-round. Check it out.
There are two things I have control over: my attitude and my expectations.
For longer than I care to acknowledge I think both have been far off course. I would inch further from what I had known-grounded expectations and a softening attitude until I really no longer recognized myself. I let the misery of others sway my life because I chose to keep company with them.
It took some quiet reflection recently for me to note how much I was feeling like the me I was four plus years ago-mentally well and spiritually seeking more. For the first time in a very long time I didn’t feel a weightiness to my life eventhough I would have reason to be.
Choosing my attitude and letting go of expectations has been a big part of that for me as I have learned humility and joy-things I must choose each and every day.
Joy allows me to celebrate the small in each day as I look to count 1000 gifts and get my heart in a place of gratitude instead of the ingratitude it so deeply embodied. Joy allows me to find contentment not in a title or a salary but in what God is doing in me and Who He is to me. Never more have Paul’s words been so true in my life than they have on this journey I am grateful to be on currently.
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:12-13 (NLT)
You are fresh and new, like warm laundry out of the dryer. Yes, that’s how I see you…full of warmth and goodness. Your predecessor had a rough time with me, we didn’t mesh all that well and it was evident from the outset. Try as I might, we really just never got on with one another. I was happy to part ways just 30+ hours ago.
But you, oh you 2016 I am happy to greet you-with smiles, high-fives, hugs and cheer. I welcomed you with loving arms to embrace fully and completely. No more will the years be marked with dates of the past but with stones of the present.
For you 2016 I tried to set expectations, assumptions made on what you would be like before I even knew you. Aren’t we like that though as humans? We make judgements, crafting our own expectations in a way to control the outcomes, others. You are different though. You exploded with joy and gratitude in my life already. You are bright and you are big. You are also in the small, in the comforts and in the quiet.
For you 2016 I wanted to gift a renewed spirit, but I think instead I am finding a complete different one within me. One that has long since gone forgotten, ignored and flat-out disrespected. You don’t want that refurbished me, no you want a new creation in me. One that holds excitement, joy and gratitude. One that isn’t defined by what isn’t, but by all that simply is. No one likes a regifted item, so why would you want me with all those resolutions and failed fixes?
For you are worthy of more 2016…but no expectations or assumptions are attached. You just simply are present and here. I won’t try to make you into something you are not, nor attempt to mold you into something of my own desires. Nope, you simply are what you are for the next 364 days. I welcome that and you. And yes, as you can see I still have the tree from Christmas up today when so many others have come down. But I am not rushing this year…I am taking time to relish in the beauty and simplicity of time. The quiet of presence and awareness is what is drawing me to leave it up just a few more hours. To be still and know…
You are new 2016 and it is my sincere desire to relish you each and every day fully present and aware, a heart full of gratitude and joy. I will fail on days-probably more often than not, but I know there’s always a new day just around the corner awaiting me with delight. You have gifted me 366 days this year, an extra to enjoy fully and presently. I will savor each of them for what they are-gifts. Here’s to not binding you up for storage but giving you away each and every day.
With unending gratefulness and joy,
Yes, I’d like to lodge some complaints around here. I haven’t felt well. Things haven’t gone my way. Someone pulled out in front of me in traffic. My blender exploded while I was trying to make a smoothie. I haven’t felt like working out all week. I don’t really feel like praying. In short, what are YOU going to do about it? Over the last few days I have that way mentally. I could blame that funk of life on any number of things. But I just kept coming back to this gross attitude of complaining. I made myself go to bed incredibly early one evening on the remote possibility that I could sleep it off. Then I realized what it boiled down to was a change of heart and transformation of mind. I hadn’t really been connecting transforming head and heart the last few days and had merely been focusing on the wrong things. I had let whispers infiltrate and flood me, washing away traces of His influence and filling Presence. Steadfastness is not something I could claim these last few days and so I lodged all kinds of complaints to anyone that would hear them. But alas, I should have just stopped and spoken with the One whom I had the most to say to, to spend time with and just let the burdens fall away. I should have waged the war against complaining and been grateful instead for what I was feeling, what I did have, and where I was sitting. I have the free will to choose gratitude in my attitude, rather than being a miserable grouch who complains. Instead of voicing such complaints, I have to fully turn and appreciate all that He has given and continues to give in the midst of my perceived loss. I have so much yet choose to focus on the one thing I don’t, or the tone of someone’s voice when talking with me. Instead of dwelling on the complaints, may I dwell on the thanks.