Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Choose to be Thankful

It's that time of year again.  Christmas decorations are in the store, Halloween items are on sale, Thanksgiving is near!

Maybe it's all the election talk or economic fears or just the challenge of living with toddlers that has made me acutely aware of how prone I am to complain.  That's a nice way of saying I'm a complete whiner.  And while I completely admit it, I'm also completely ashamed of it.

Along with the whiny awareness has also come a wide open view of how blessed I am.  I have it so good it's almost embarrassing.  A husband that loves, cares and listens to me.  Children that not only love me, but open my eye's to a whole new world, make me laugh, and fill my days with purpose.  A house that is warm and sturdy, a steady income, and a fridge that is so full I have to say "no more"!  Friends that bless me, family that loves me, great health and,most awesome, a Father in heaven that is willing to do what's best for me.  Oh, and a yummy cup of coffee steaming right in front of me.

There will always be something to complain about and there will always be something to be thankful.  What makes the difference in your attitude and actions is the thought that you choose to entertain.  No wonder God says,
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, 
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It's God's will for you.  And it's not about how you feel.  Feelings are unreliable and, in my case, almost completely selfish.  So often I try to change by focusing on my feelings.  It doesn't work.  But if I focus on my thoughts, wow, it really does change my feelings.  (Gee, I guess God's way really does work.  What a surprise.)

Unfortunately my sinful human nature is strong and relentless.  But, thanks be to God, I'm not a slave to that sinful nature.  I've been set free by Jesus.  And not just set free, but shown the way to conquer that ugly nature in me.

Step 1
"Do everything without complaining or arguing."
Philippians 2:14

Notice the world 'do'.  This is an action word.  A choice you make.  When a complaint forms in your mind, take action, turn it off.  And then

Step 2
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,"
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-17

Pray about it, replace the thought with one of thankfulness, and that feeling of joy, it will start to develop in you.  

These verses are going to be written all over my house to help me write them permanently on my heart.  And when those complaints and whines start to bubble up, I'm going to repeat them to myself and do what they say.  Because in this way, I can know and feel the joy of the season.

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