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.
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.
Three. That is the number of friends I have that are recently engaged. And by recently I mean within the last four weeks. I am so excited for all three of them. The happiness I see each of them have in their relationship is just beyond words. You see it, and you get it.
As someone who up until October was in a relationship headed towards an engagement (and it was the worst idea for that relationship to head towards in hindsight), there’s a part of me that gets jealous of seeing it. Seeing the photo or the status update…Then comes the mountain of guilt because these are my friends and I want the absolute best for them. This is their “best for them” moment and time. This is their story God is writing, as He writes a different one for me. I happened to read this quote late last week and I was reminded of it again this morning.
“And so, every time a jealous thought enters your mind, flip the thought and give thanks. Gratitude heals and prevents jealousy.“- Jessica Turner
Instead of allowing jealousy over a friend’s happiness to enter my heart and mind, I can give thanks. Thanks for the image of love to be born out through their relationship. Thanks for God using their relationship to provide an example for me. Thanks that a friend is in a joyous time of celebration and newness in their life. Thanks that it’s not about me, and I would do good to remember that more often than not.
A thankful heart focuses on others, while a jealous heart focuses only on the self. Congratulations to all of those who are recently engaged and planning for a new adventure in life! I am excited to sit back and watch God do amazing things in your lives as marrieds!
I had an encounter the other day with someone who truly rattled me. This individual criticized and tore down me as well as my work. Work that I do out of calling and passion. It’s not work to me, but that day it really felt that way. It had come at the tail end of a day where I just couldn’t take one more thing. I had been poured out and there was nothing left in me. Absolutely nothing.
They didn’t know this. What they had to say to me, what they needed to criticize was of utmost importance. It was their priority that day. Thankfully a mentor was able to adjust my viewpoint on how I was processing the verbal checklist of my failings and allowed me to see a bigger problem. One that I am very often guilty of as well.
We are all critics. With the ease of social media and blogs, we have become the foremost authorities on the what is right, how it should be done, and how you are doing it all completely wrong. And it only takes one criticism, just one to make us doubt our worth, ourselves, and our work. I found myself doing it just last night as I watched my Red Sox. I was yelling at the umpire for what I believed was the wrong pitch call. Granted he did not hear me a thousand miles away, but instead of focusing on all the good calls he made, I chose that one that hung just at the bottom of the strike zone on a Cardinals batter.
I know I have beat this dead horse on speaking love, but today…just for the moments when you feel the need to cut someone down. To cut down their work, their worth, or their walk in life…choose not to.
Instead of sharing bitterness, share joy.
Instead of shouting cut-downs, shout praise.
Instead of a critical eye, have a thankful heart.
Embrace an attitude of gratitude today, instead of an attitude of criticism.