“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
I am a recovering pessimist. You know the type: the one who views the proverbial glass as half-empty rather than half-full. As a child and young adult, my pessimism stemmed from my perfectionist ideals; I viewed everyone and everything as missing-the-mark, and this subconscious attitude leeched into marriage and motherhood as all habits do—whether we want them to or not. My unfair standards robbed me of true joy, and those in my sphere, my husband, my sons, and my daughters were robbed, too. But, true to His nature, the Spirit was already at work in my heart, and He began to teach me the essentials of gratitude, the foundation of joy. The Practice of the Presence of God, The Grumpy Monk, the children’s book about Brother Lawrence, The Joy Challenge by Tommy Newberry, plus countless Scriptures and insights from other believers were the tools that He used to cultivate the shoots of thankfulness in my attitude.
Colossians 3:15 commands, ”And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” It appears almost an afterthought but a critical one, “and be thankful.” And another directive, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6, emphasis mine) Note that peace and thankfulness are linked, friend.
As I began to practice the daily habit of thanking God for His goodness, His provision, His faithfulness, His peace, His healing, etc., I gradually ceased counting all my “have nots,” and as a result, I was truly changed. My anxiety decreased; my peace increased. My impatience decreased; my patience increased. My pessimism decreased; my joy increased. Friend, no one knows what is best for us better than our loving Father. When He directs us to give thanks and to not be anxious, we can trust Him.
“The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” -Psalm 19:8
Joy grows and spreads when gratitude becomes our ritual attitude, so join me, mama, in modeling this life-giving habit to our children! You will never regret multiplying thankfulness in your home.
Bek Measmer and the Help Club for Moms Team