Do you ever notice that things that thrilled you at first…
go almost unnoticed not long after…
and then in time…
you may even end up complaining about many of them?
For example, when we started looking for a house, I wasn’t too picky (he, he), except that I wanted it to be really inexpensive, have a big backyard, have 3 bedrooms, and sport a fireplace (which would just be a bonus)!
What an amazing blessing to find a house in a great area that had all of the above, including being inexpensive for a house (well, it was a fixer upper, so it required a lot of work, but still!)
When we bought it, I couldn’t believe how blessed I was.
Everything briefly seemed magical–from the walk down the road… to the yard… to the town we live near.
But as the busyness of life caught up with me, I began to barely notice my blessings…
became consumed with the day to day…
and even grumbled and complained at times about my life, rather than being joyful.
I think you may be able to relate.
It doesn’t matter what we have, where we live, who we have in our lives, or what we’ve “achieved”:
Happiness will elude us if we don’t keep our focus on what is good in our lives and especially on the One who gives us these good gifts.
Life isn’t easy, so even when we have so many good gifts, it is SO easy to begin to focus on what “isn’t”.
The hum-drum things about your job.
The whini-ness of your child.
The friendship that isn’t what you hoped it would be.
The leaky basement.
But thankfully, the truth is we truly CAN be happy with very little.
You might think that’s easy for me to say, having a nice house and all.
I know, I know.
But I remember that when I lived in college in a teeny-tiny dorm room, that those were actually some of the happiest years of my life.
At the time, in response to a book I read, I had been prayerfully disciplining myself to be as thankful as I could–thinking of and celebrating the good, as much as possible.
There were a lot of great things about college, but I think it was my attitude of thankfulness that was one of the main things that truly made me feel super-happy a lot of the time.
With or without material blessings, if we have a thankful heart–pretty much ANYWHERE can be awesome.
Now I understand that we all need basic necessities, and it’s good and a blessing to have some–even many– of our “wants” as well.
But it really is AMAZING how deliriously happy we can be almost no matter what, if we keep our focus on God and maintain an awareness of his gifts and express gratitude for them.
My 2 1/2 year old son was paging through his Children’s Bible a week ago, which I thought was pretty cute.
He stopped on the page that had a picture of Paul and Barnabus in prison.
He pointed to the picture and said “they happy!”
I thought that was so cool–he had actually distilled the most important part of that story in two simple words.
Because even though Paul and Silas were thrown into prison for no good reason, they decided to sing praise to God.
They decided to be thankful and happy and praise God in their situation…
and this gratitude actually led to a miracle of the doors of the prison being opened for them through an earthquake (see Acts. 16: 16- 40).
As Paul wrote from another prison at another time, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances”, we need to also learn to be content and thankful pretty much wherever we find ourselves. Then we will be filled with JOY and nothing will affect that.
Real happiness truly is tied to thankfulness and praise to God, no matter what our situations.
(And sometimes miracles can result, as well.)
But how can we remember and discipline ourselves to do this?
That is the question I have in my mind. I want to choose joy and choose to be grateful and happy in all circumstances.
I want to get back in the habit of thankfulness.
This October 2017, which is the month of Canadian Thanksiving and the month before American Thanksgiving, let’s begin to get ourselves back in the habit of gratitude and praise.
In this way, let’s invite heaven to earth in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
Let’s enjoy our moments and all we have and truly NOTICE the good things in our lives.
If you’d like to join me and get some ideas, motivation, and inspiration to practice being more thankful, you can sign up on this blog post for the last month of the free “Loving My Actual Life” Challenges. You’ll set one to three goals for yourself in the area of thankfulness and then do your best to practice them this October.
Hope to see you there and I hope we all grow in thankfulness, joy, and contentment!