We are taking a Bible study course at our church on Wednesday nights called “Lord, Change My Attitude.” Authored by James McDonald, it is an amazing course already. Tonight was just the second night.
One of the verses James talked about tonight really hit home with me:
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Did you read it?
Read the first part again: In EVERY THING give thanks.
Not some things.
Not just the good things.
But EVERY THING.
As I sat in class, I thought of everything I have ever been through about which I could possibly complain but instead already find myself thanking Jesus for these events. For this, I am again, thankful.
It is HARD to sit in the middle of trauma, tragedy, tough stuff, and say “Thank you.” It is so much easier to give up, get angry, walk away. But to instead be given the grace of God to be able to say Thank You to God for the hard stuff too? Mind-blowing.
As I thought about this, I realized this practice of giving thanks is a habit I already practice.
I could complain that almost three years ago I wrecked my car – my favorite car and best friend from college. I went everywhere in that car. But instead I am grateful. Grateful and thankful because wrecking that car saved my marriage.
I could complain that because of my wreck I spent the night at the ER and in jail. Instead, I am grateful and thankful because that time allowed me to spend time with God and pray before I had to go home and talk with my husband.
I could complain that my husband spent our money on marijuana instead of on insurance for the car. But instead I am grateful and thankful because that allowed me the time I needed to spend time with God and pray before I had to go home and talk with my husband about his confession of addiction.
I could complain that God allowed me to struggle with Postpartum Depression twice. But instead I am grateful and thankful because that hell? Prepared me for the hell I would soon face as the wife of a recovering addict.
I could complain that God gave us a daughter with a Cleft Palate. But instead I am grateful and thankful because she has taught us patience, love, and how to be better parents. Through her, we have both grown leaps and bounds as parents, as husband and wife, and as man and woman.
I could complain that my husband is unemployed. But instead I am grateful and thankful because he is able to be here with us and spend time with his children and family. I am grateful for the budgeting skills it has required us both to develop.
I could complain that I lost a lot of relatives when I was a kid. That I got to know grief a bit too intimately before I was 12. But instead, I am grateful and thankful because all of that? Prepared me for everything I just listed. There’s a reason for everything God has done in my life. To be able to look back and see it laid out before me as clear as day is a sight to behold – and I am eternally grateful to Him for deciding to let me see my road map.
I can’t wait to see what He has planned for my future. I am not scared. I know, that as He has done time and again, He will carry me when I need it most. That I will lean hard on Him because He has taught me well. And for that, I am grateful.
So you see, I could complain. A lot.
But instead, I am grateful and thankful.
What are you complaining about? How can you turn your complaining into gratitude? Spin it. Turn your negatives into positives.
I’m not saying it is an easy thing to do. It is a very hard thing to do. But it is a very FREEING thing to do.
I challenge you – turn just ONE complaint into a gratitude today. And then do it again tomorrow with another one. And again the day after.