Many months ago, I purchased a book entitled “Choosing Gratitude ~Your Journey To Joy.” That book has sat below my coffee table in my living room just waiting for me to fling open the cover and dive in, to allow the message to soak into my being and bring about a greater awareness of how we all need to have more gratitude in our lives.
I have tried to be more intentional and purposeful in my way of thinking. Likewise, I have tried to be careful of the words I allow to come out of my mouth. If I begin to think negative thoughts, I try to stop myself and redirect my thinking to something more positive. Is this always easy? NO! It’s not, especially if you are going through a very difficult time in your life. When you’re struggling, that is when you need to find gratitude and joy even more so than ever before. That is the hard part. How can you find gratitude and joy in the mist of a storm? Well, I’m here to tell you that as bad as it may be, it could always be worse. Count your blessings and consider yourself so incredibly blessed because you do not own all of the problems in the world! Yes, you may have it bad, but there is someone out there that has it worse. I’m not trying to minimize your pain or your suffering. I’m not trying to say that what you’re going through isn’t important because it IS! What I’m trying to get my readers and myself to realize is that there is always something to be thankful for.
Immediately upon picking up this book and reading the Foreword, I had a new found appreciation for the author of this book. When I purchased this book I did not know that Author Nancy Leigh DeMoss had been in a wheelchair the majority of her life. If she can be grateful for her quadriplegia (as she states in the Foreword), what in the world is our problem? We have it so good, and yet we complain so much! This lady has to have people do everything for her; help into and out of bed, getting her dressed, brushing her hair, brushing her teeth, blowing her nose, etc. And yet, she finds beauty in ashes. She finds something good to smile about and offer praises to God above with a grateful heart.
We are so blessed, ladies and gentlemen! We truly are! And what do we do with the gifts we have been given? Life is not all doom and gloom, but yet the majority of our time is spent focusing on negative thoughts. We vent to others, and instead of it making us feel better, we feel worse by having re-lived those moments and things that pained us right when it happened. Now we walk around in a bad frame of mind with the corner of our mouths pulled downward in a frown with our foreheads wrinkled because we’re mad at the world. At that moment especially, search your heart for the good – because there is always good – search your heart for something that you can be thankful for – because there is always something to be thankful for. Look up to Heaven and thank God that as bad as it seems right now, it’s not any worse! Thank Him for the plan He has for your life because He assures us in His word that He does not have plans to harm us but to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite bible verses and is the “hope” part of our name: Light Love Hope).
The below poem was within the first few pages of the book, even before the Foreword. Read it and allow it to speak to you:
Thou that has given so much to me,
Give me one thing more — a grateful heart …
… I cry, and cry again:
And in a quiet canst Thou be,
Till I a thankful heart obtain
Not thankful when it pleases me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days;
But such a heart, whose pulse may be
~George Herbert (1593 – 1633)
There’s a beautiful flower on the front cover of her book. She’s unable to plant a garden or even walk through a meadow filled with wildflowers. Yet, I can imagine that she still appreciates the beauty of the flowers and the Creator of all things. So then should we!
Will you take this journey with me? Will you join me in being more intentional on choosing gratitude on our journey to finding joy?