I use Instagram to document those things that bring me joy… and around the end of each year, our family gathers to draw/color/write a “plate” to highlight all the joys, peaks and valleys of the past year. We’ve been doing this for 18 years. (Clickhere to see our “plate” experience!)
Somewhere, sometime, a long time ago, I heard a person say, “If your life is worth living, it’s worth documenting.” I don’t remember who said it, but it’s remained a cautionary statement.
However, before you can document your joys – those happenings which cause JOY – you need to notice them. Perhaps that’s why I find the above quote by Robert Louis Stevenson particularly poignant…
3. Surround yourself with positive words.What we think is important. When you find yourself dwelling on the negative, replace it with positive statements. Scripture verses work for me and a few days ago I wrote an article with 25 Sticky Postive Thoughts to see if any of them resonated for you. From your responses to that post, it seemed like you liked the idea.
Being thankful in all circumstances can teach you much more than you’d imagine. Sure, not everything feels good, but there’s always something you can find for which to give thanks.
Practice your Thanks-Living skills!
Here are five great lessons you can learn by being thankful:
1 – Thankfulness opens hearts.
Being thankful, regardless of the stage and state of your life, might not be easy, but it does impact those around you. During times when Rob and I have experienced less-than-optimum situations, expressing what we’re thankful for has created a connection.
Hardship can divide spouses, families, and friends, just because everyone is focused, in word and deed, on the struggle.
Expressing thankfulness draws hearts back together.
If you find yourself avoiding talking to those you love because of the issues you’re dealing with, then start with a sentence about what you’re feeling grateful for… talking about all the blessings in your life can engage everyone, and you might surprise each other at what you find yourself grateful for…
2 – Being thankful shapes the future.
Once you start discussing all the areas in which you’re thankful, you’ll begin to see where God has blessed your life in the past. And that leads to anticipating future opportunities. If your future is shaped in what you’re thankful for, it becomes easier to bounce back and get on track.
3 – Gratitude reduces want-itis.
“Gimme-gimme” and “I want, I want, I want” have become an epidemic in our western society. Being thankful for what we have combats the materialism of our culture in a healthy way. Once you notice all you actually possess and feel a sense of thankfulness, wanting extra stuff becomes less attractive.
4 – Thankfulness impacts our memories.
Memory is subjective. Two people can think back on the same experience and will have differing memories, according to their bent toward optimism or pessimism. Once an individual looks back in their history with the filter of gratitude, the memories can be wired toward optimism.
5 – Thankfulness balances a healthy sense of self.
Being thankful can increase an internal sense of self-esteem because it hones attention to where others are helping. By acknowledging you need help, which can be humbling, you also must shift to the belief that you’re a worthwhile person because someone went out of their way to help. It’s a curious cycle.
Yesterday I wrote about sticky positive thougthts and said I have Scripture verses posted to encourage my thinking. This is one that’s been very important to me:
… in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
This article about a sermon on the above Scripture is one of my recent favorites – it unpacks the idea that we don’t need to be grateful for the suffering, but rather we can be grateful in the suffering.
What sticks in your brain? Have you ever heard a melody and it kept going ’round and ’round in your head for the rest of the day (or night)? If you like the song, then that’s OK – but if you don’t… well, it can drive you batty!
And it’s the same with our thoughts. Sometimes the thoughts we think are helpful for our behavior, and sometimes they aren’t.
Wouldn’t it be good to have sticky positive thoughts going ’round our head rather than those stinky negative ones?
Sticky Positive Thoughts
Let’s get some sticky positive thoughts into our brains… Do any of these resonate with you?
I’m loved and wanted.
My time will come – I can be happy when others succeed.
As beautiful as a solo can be, a symphony has greater depth.
(In case you’re wondering, a symphony is a musical composition for a group of instruments with at least four distinct sections.)
Who is playing in your symphony?
Whistling alone might not be the best choice. Make your life interesting – embrace the opportunity to play with others. However, it’s also good to be playing your life’s symphony with a group that supports you…
So – who is in your symphony orchestra of life?
Is it time to audition a few new players?
A few places of encouragement:
To support this idea of not just whistling in an empty room, I’m participating in a writing challenge for the month of April and I thought I’d share some posts from fellow writers!
Bonnie always makes me chuckle! (I’ve been reading her posts since 2011) Everything from relationships, her grands, to trash on the beach – it’s all fodder for her way of looking at life. If you want to view Life on the Lighter Side, check out Bonnie’s post!
Kerry is a mom from my home country of Canada. She writes about being creative – this posthas a beautiful perspective. “Choosing a hobby for which you have talent is an important part of self-care.” she says. What’s your creative hobby? How do you use your creativity to glorify God?
I “met” Debi and Tom from The Romantic Vineyard when we both participated in a 30-day challenge in 2011. She continues to write about marriage, and her posts are insightful and fun – Rob and I have adopted/adapted some of her dating ideas. Debi asks, “Are you up for the challenge”? – I encourage you to explore the website and share it with your “couple-friends”!
These are only a few of the articles I’ve been reading in this symphony of online voices…
Concerned over your future – of things not working out?
There’s a simple solution: just do the next thing…
“Do it immediately, do it with prayer, do it reliantly, casting all care. Do it with reverence, tracing His hand who placed it before thee with earnest command. Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing, leave all resultings, do the next thing.”
“By this time, evening had come. And as it was preparation day (that is, the day before the Sabbath), Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Council, a man who looked forward to the kingdom of God, bravely went into Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that He was already dead, so he sent for the centurion and asked him whether it was long since He died. When he heard the centurion’s report, he gave Joseph leave to take the dead body. So Joseph bought a linen sheet, took Him down from the cross, wrapped Him in the sheet and laid Him in a tomb cut out of the rock and rolled a stone against the entrance.”
Can’t you imagine the disciples and Mary and Martha and the other bewildered women, sitting in absolute dejection and perplexity when their Lord and Master and King had just died?
They couldn’t think of one single thing to do.
Here came this Godly man, who looked forward to the kingdom of God, who bravely went in and asked for the body of Jesus.
He could think of one thing to do. He did the next thing.
That must have been a tremendous cheer and encouragement to those discouraged people. “