Things are tough in the world today. People are dealing with far more stress and anxiety than ever before. When once we would occasionally feel overwhelmed, that feeling has become the norm in a lot of lives. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to get it all done. There’s work, there’s family responsibilities, children that are growing up way too fast that need our love, time, and attention, and then there are chores around the house that need to be done as well. You may feel stretched to the limit at times. When could you possibly fit in any time to just … be? When would it be possible to just take a day off from life and be still?
When you throw in the fact that a lot of families are struggling financially these days, with gas prices soaring through the roof and the increase cost of groceries, the stress level shoots through the roof. There are some families that have just faced lay offs at their jobs, while others have been unemployed for months.
With all of this whirling around you, is it even possible to have a grateful spirit? In my opinion, yes, it is. You see, I’ve been a struggling single mother before with very little money to pay the bills and feed my daughter. I was going through a really bad divorce, and all of the responsibilities of work and home fell solely on my shoulders along with the care of my one year old daughter. It was a difficult season in my life, but I did not allow myself to dwell on my situation. Instead, I prayed to God to help me and had faith that He would. And you know what? He did! It was not always easy, but with God, all things are possible. Even when I was struggling financially, I had joy in my heart. Why is that? Because I had my daughter, and she was my entire world! When everyone expected me to be sad and depressed, I was all smiles and cheerful for my baby girl. Was I always this way in the mist of all that I was going through? No. I tried really hard, but I had my moments. I tried to keep them to a minimum, though, because if I continued to dwell on those hard times, I would remain a ball of fear wrapped in anxiety and worry. My daughter needed me to be strong and be there … and present … for her. There is a difference in being in the same room with someone and actually being present with them. She needed my full attention, care, and love … and I gave my all to her. If I had spent one more second dwelling on my situation or the circumstances, it would have pulled me under. The depression would have surely taken over, and there would have been no way that I could carry on. Instead, I had to keep on going and remain strong for her. I prayed and just knew that God would provide, and He did.
In the mist of all of that, I had to be intentional and purposeful with my attitude. Sure, I could whine and complain about the situation, but would it do any good? Would it “fix” the situation or solve any problems that would crop up? No. The only thing a complaining attitude would do is allow me to remain in misery. I didn’t want that, not for myself and certainly not for my daughter, so I had to be aware of my thoughts and the words coming out of my mouth to ensure that I had a grateful spirit about me when around my daughter and others. Some times you have to fake it til you make it, and that is okay. However, when troubles threatened to steal my joy, all I had to do was look into the beautiful blue eyes of my baby girl … and my grateful spirit returned.
The next time you want to allow your complaining spirit to take over, stop yourself for a moment and begin to focus on all of the things that you have to be thankful for. Allow yourself to shift your focus from the negatives to all of the positives in your life. You have a roof over your head, food on the table, and clothes on your back. You had a family that surrounds you with love, and that is all you truly need right there … love. You have your health, even if there are some health issues that you’ve struggled with in the past. You’re still here on this earth, and that means you have a purpose, your life has meaning, and you have a lot more living to do.
Will you work this week toward being more thankful and maintaining a grateful spirit? It may not be easy in all of the circumstances that you will have to face this week, but I’m simply asking if you’ll join me in putting your best foot forward in this regard. Any time that you find yourself wanting to focus on the bad things that are happening or wanting to wallow in self pity regarding things of the past, will you, instead, begin to turn your attention to all of the good things that you have in this life? Will you turn your eyes upon Jesus and thank Him for the gift of another day? Will you honor Him by using your words to praise and lift up others, instead of fault finding and tearing yourself and others down? Will you forgive yourself of the mistakes you’ve made in the past that may be holding you back or pulling your spirit down? Will you use your words – whether it’s your internal dialogue that you speak to yourself or words spoken out loud around others – to build up and to focus on the good and the positive? It will take being intentional and purposeful, but you CAN do this!
For every negative that you wish to speak this week, will you, instead, replace it with a positive? For any thing that you’d like to complain about, will you find something in your life that you are thankful for and focus on that instead? Your words have power – and it is up to you as to if you will allow a spirit of complaining to take over or whether you’ll maintain a grateful spirit.
Choose wisely, my friend. Your joy and happiness in life depends on it.