My life has been all kinds of tragic. It still is no picnic, if I’m looking only at my circumstances. I have health issues, I can’t work, we have financial struggles, etc. you get the picture. One thing I’ve learned about life is its so easy to wallow in our misery. To get down in the mud of our day to day struggles and just roll around in it until we are so coated in the filth that it’s all we can see. I wasted a good part of my life doing that. I wish I hadn’t. Eventually I was so coated in mud that it oozed its way into my soul and made me sick.
I’ve told you before how gratitude saved my life (read about it here), and it totally makes sense. As Christians we are taught that our joy is not in our circumstances but in our God. It’s so easy to forget that though, isn’t it? That’s why I love keeping continual inventory of the things I am grateful for. It helps keep me focused on the gifts God has given me and not on the ones I think I should have.
That’s what is at the root of misery, isn’t it? We believe we deserve some gift we didn’t get. I deserved a mother who knew how to love me. I deserved a life without sexual abuse. And so on. Now let me make it very clear that I am not belittling the pain that comes from tragic circumstances. I’m only suggesting that, as the Bible teaches, we choose to shift our focus off the tragedy and onto the goodness of God.
That’s where a gratitude journal comes in. I know I told you in my previous post that I don’t always write these down anymore, but I’ve decided to start writing them again. Thinking about them is good, but there’s something about writing them that makes them more powerful. So without further ado, I shall write today’s entry I. My gratitude journal right here.
Right now, at this moment, I am grateful for;
- My salvation
- God’s provision
- The color red
- The softness of my bed
- The cool breeze from the ceiling fan on my face
- The paper flower my grandson made in the little cup that says “let love grow”
- The rays of morning sun filling the house
- The smell of freshly brewed coffee
- My husband’s strong, soothing voice
- The crisp sound of Bible pages when I turn them
You see? There you have it. It’s not hard to do at all and it helps keep you focused on God and his grace. And that’s where your focus needs to be to experience true joy in all circumstances.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. – Habakkuk 3:17-18