Tuesday, October 30, 2012

cultivating a thankful heart in difficult times

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Back in August, I was really feeling discouraged about our situation. All I want is to have my own space again, but things are moving along slower than I had expected. But I'm very aware that you can't rush God's timing. Although sometimes, I secretly wish I could.
 
In an effort to change my perspective, one day I sat down and wrote a list of all the negative emotions I've been feeling and the reasons for them. I know, that sounds really encouraging, right?
 
But it was really good to get it all out on paper; into a list that I could read and consider and pray over.
 
Then, I took every single one of those things and wrote down a list of what I'm thankful for inspite of every single reason I wrote for feeling those emotions.
 
And it really did change my perspective. This is definitely an exercise that I'm going to try more often. And since it was so convicting and yet encouraging, I wanted to share it with you.

As an example, here is some of my list (you'll notice that I was feeling mostly frustrated and annoyed):
 
negative emotion and why: frustrated and annoyed about my husband's work situation.
yet I am thankful for: Ben has a job in this economy and he is getting a paycheck while we look for another job. Plus there are opportunities for him to move up from the position he is in.
 
negative emotions and why: frustrated with an awnry toddler
yet I am thankful for: my wonderful son who is so smart and sweet and has such an incredible personality!
 
negative emotion and why: annoyed about only having one car that my husband takes to work most days so Isaac and I are stuck at home
yet I am thankful for: a car that runs and works and gets us around without trouble (and a mechanic, my husband's step-dad, when we need anything) and my parents who are quick to let us borrow their cars when needed.
 
negative emotion and why: frustrated about not knowing the outcome of this entire situation
yet I am thankful for: a God who knows it all and who I know I can trust

I don't know how this idea came about but I knew I needed to change my attitude. It's funny how on the other side of a negative emotion, there can be thankfulness. All you have to do is stop to consider what in your life you are grateful for.

It's really hard to go from having things a certain way and living a certain lifestyle to having it all flipped upside down. But sometimes we don't have control over our lives (okay, we never really do) and rather than being bitter and frustrated about it, I've found that focusing on what really matters and actually being thankful for those things changes everything.

3 comments:

  1. I think we should ALL do this in our lives! It's so easy to let those negative emotions build up and not recognize there is an underlying positive part/blessing. I find myself complaining about money/house costs, etc when we have to fix stuff like a fence, etc but have to remind myself that I have a roof over my head. Thanks for sharing this!

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  2. What a great way to take inventory and maybe kinda sorta gain perspective. =)

    Just stopping by from The Wiegand's, sweet Casey's blog, to personally invite you to join me for An Aloha Affair; a sort of end of week gathering and mingling and growing together. I'd love to have ya, stop by anytime...

    xo,
    Nicole
    localsugarhawaii.com

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  3. This reminds me of the Glad Game on Pollyanna! Love it.

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