Day 14 – How-tos

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1 Thessalonians 5:18King James Version (KJV)

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Hello Beloved,

Yesterday, we touched on replacing complaints with gratitude and the beneficial side effects.

Today, is more practical.

How to show gratitude may be common sense for some. I’m posting pointers for the rest of us. There’s no need to try to incorporate all into your lifestyle. Pick a few or maybe just one and make it a part of you. I have a journal and while it’s an effective tool, I need to be more cognizant during the day and not just my once daily logging.

1. Gratitude Journal – I enter a list of things while others write a narrative. Whatever your fancy, just get started. Many will say keep it in one place (apps are good for that). However, the act of writing has benefit. Plus, it can be a treat to come across a gratitude note while cleaning the junk drawer. That’s what someone told me anyway. Be flexible with yourself. It’s gratitude journaling after all!

2. Proactive gratitude  – This reminds me of when I was a little girl and would say my prayers at night. You know “now I lay me down to sleep.” When I was done reciting that morbid prayer about dying before I woke, I would pray for all the people and things I was grateful for. So basically, do that without the death part.

3. Reactive gratitude – This falls under the “Boy am I glad that didn’t happen to me” category.

4. Prayer. (That’s a period after prayer).

5. Remember The Bad – We have all had bad times and some residue from those moments may linger or still hurt like ____. But, you’re still here. You made it this far.

6. Set a gratitude alarm/gratitude jar- I have alarms and reminders for everything else so why not for this? When the alarm goes off take a moment to think of things you’re thankful for and if you have a piece of paper handy, write it down. You can then place it in a jar.

7. Sensory Appreciation – I have to remind myself to stop and enjoy the golden hour of chaos in my home. It’s the time after school when the house is full of life and activity. This child needs to go to dance and that one needs to go to soccer and hubby has a late meeting and I will not miss hot yoga again. Sometimes, I actually remember to take a moment and appreciate all that I’m blessed with and will never deserve. I’ll take in the smells, colors, sound of laughter, and grab a child for a hug. It’s simply delicious!

Below is a gratitude quiz. Feel free to take it or not. Either way, I’m thankful you visited my blog today.

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Be well, Beloved!

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Day 5 – Grace

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Well Beloved,

Today was a little rough. And by a little, I really mean a lot. There was a sick child, financial  issues, my scheduled weekly dose of interaction with passive aggressiveness, a child that “knows way more than me,” a husband out of town, a friend in need of medical assurance and a missed hot yoga class. Whew! Was that complaining? While all this was going on, I tried to make sure I didn’t complain and occasionally chastised myself for complaining and then chastised myself for chastising myself.

Oh no! The wheels of my efforts have come off!

But somewhere in the mist of this circus, His Word erupts from my heart.

Scriptures like:

2 Chronicles 20:15 New International Version (NIV)

‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 New International Version (NIV)

8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

These calm me. They give me peace and direction. Hopefully, for you as well. 

Be well, Beloved. Be well. 

 

 

Day 4 – The Butterfly Effect

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2 Corinthians 10:5 King James Version (KJV)  

Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ

Hello Beloved,

Today, I called my bank with a question about the bank’s offerings. The young lady on the other side of the line answered by saying, “I’m pretty sure we don’t do that.” Mind you while this was what I’d consider a basic question, it was also very important to me. So after further explaining my request and getting the same answer, I asked if there was someone she could ask. She informed me that there was if I didn’t mind holding on the phone.

“Absolutely, I will.”

So, I held for about 45 seconds. She came back with an affirmative to my request and explained she was new and still learning. She had confused my request with something else. Blah, blah, blah. Beloved, I know you know where my mind went but thank God for grace. In mid mental complaint, I realized that I did not take time to thank God.

This hit me hard!

My first inclination was to complain instead of praise. Praise her for knowing who to ask, confessing her shortcoming to a total stranger, her pleasant disposition during the entire encounter, and her willingness to be helpful. Praise Him in and for EVERYTHING but namely for her and her actions,  that our bank of 16 plus years has the offering we need, the effect that will have on our financial standing going forward, the effect it will have on entities we like to donate to, I didn’t have to jump through hoops to get the offering, it’s one of the “million” things on my To Do list that I can check off,  I only had to hold for 45 seconds. Oh my, I can’t seem to stop thinking of reasons why I should be thankful for this one small interaction. 

How many times have I missed out on seeing His goodness because I chose to complain?

I spent the rest of my day in a much more thankful and much less complainy tone. I smiled more and people smiled back. I know this is common sense stuff but that doesn’t mean it’s part of our lifestyle. It’s my hope that those I smiled at, joked with, complimented passed it on. 

Now it’s your turn. Beloved, I thank God for you. It is a privilege to be part of your life and for you to take time out to read this post. Be well. 

 

BTW, tomorrow we’ll talk about complaint vs constructive criticism.

Day 3 – Metamorphosis

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Like with any change in behavior, the trick is to change focus. I use a gratitude app which helps me reflect on my blessings but I still found room to complain. So to help change my focus, I’m looking for ways to compliment those around me and tell them how much they mean to me. Day 1 of this journey, I felt prompted to send my laundry lady an “I appreciate you”message.  (Yes, I have a laundry lady and she’s a blessing. I pray you find one as good as mine if that’s your desire.) I questioned it at first because it was out of the blue and I thought it would come across as awkward. But I did it anyway and here’s the beautiful result:

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What I learned from this interaction, is the secret to change requires focusing on desired results and not on the “loss” or struggle. It’s better explained with this scripture:

Philippians 4 The Message (MSG)

8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

That being said, maybe I should change the name of this challenge. Yeah! I’ll change it to  the butterfly effect. Be well, Beloved! Be well!

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