Can I be honest with you?
Sometimes I complain about things I should be grateful for:
I have to go to the grocery store - We have the money to buy groceries for our family.
I have to wash the dishes . . . again - Not only did we have food to eat, but we had something to eat it on. I even own a machine to wash them for me. All I have to do is stick them in a rack and push a button.
I have seven loads of laundry to do - My family owns enough clothes and linens to comprise seven loads. Not only do we have clothes to wear, we have an abundance.
There was an hour long wait at the pediatrician's office - I have access to doctors when my child is ill. Even more than that, I have medical insurance to help make their care more affordable.
Being a stay-at-home mom is hard - I have the opportunity/ability to stay home with my children.
My husband works a lot - My husband has a good source of employment and does his job well.
I was stuck in traffic - I own a car. I am able to drive myself to where I need to go.
My three-year-old is strong willed - His stubbornness can turn into an asset if it's channeled in the right direction. (Also, praise that my mother put up with my own strong-willed self when I was three).
I hardly got any sleep last night due to a nursing baby - I have been blessed with a child. I'm blessed with the ability to feed my child.
Now, I'm not saying that we have to pretend that life is all sunshine and rainbows. If we're honest, sometimes things are downright hard. Sometimes situations are discouraging and overwhelming. Sometimes we just get frustrated and we need to vent. I get it. I do it.
What I'm learning about myself is that I will always find what I'm looking for. If you're on the lookout for the negative - for all of the ways that life is hard, it's not going to take you long to find those things. However, if you are intentional about finding the things to be grateful for in the midst of difficult situations, your attitude and outlook can be transformed.
The laundry is never going to go away. The dishes will still need to be done. The wait will be longer than you want. The toddler will throw that sippy cup on the floor one. more. time.
What will you do?
We cannot always control our circumstances, but we can control our reaction to them.
We have been given the incredible power to choose.
I want to model this type of behavior for my children. I want to point out the positive rather than dwell on the negative. Who would you rather be around? Debbie Downer or Polyanna? The person who points out everything that's wrong with the world or the person who sees what can be done to make things right?
My challenge to you (and to myself) for the next 24 hours is this: Any time you are tempted to complain, try to find the positive in that situation. Turn that complaint into a praise.
"Lord, there is a super long line at Wal-mart again. I'm tired of waiting, but help me to be thankful. I thank you for for the ability and resources to shop for my family. Thank you that I have access to the food and supplies that we need. Thank you that I have legs to stand on and hands to push this cart."
I try to put into place the 1:3 rule. For every one complaint, I want to find three things to be thankful for. It's not that hard if you really think about it. By focusing on our blessings rather than on our burdens, we are equipped to see the good in the midst of the bad. It doesn't make the negative go away, but it helps to put it into the proper perspective.
Let's make Thanksgiving a way of life, not just a day in November.
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