What are you thankful for? How often do you think about being thankful? Thanksgiving is a thankful focused holiday. But do you sit down and contemplate being thankful for something every day? What about complaining? Do you grumble or complain every day? Which takes more effort, expressing gratitude or complaining? Ouch
I have this thing about grumbling, it just speaks to me. Every time I am reading scripture and there is grumbling mentioned, I tune in. If it is anything about grumbling, my ears hear it much more keenly than someone else reading the same scripture. I grumble. I complain. And I am not very thankful. Why is that?
I think it is because I am focused on the negative. I want to change the negative, but in so desiring I have become super focused on negative things. I need to shift my focus. Because if I am constantly focused on the negative in my life, I am constantly tearing down instead of building up. This does not just apply to me and my life, but those in it. Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
This verse in the past meant foul language to me. Corrupting talk equaled cuss words. When I learned to cuss, I thought it was cool. Now I wish I had never learned those words. But I missed the rest of the verse by focusing on what I thought it meant. By playing the negative tape in my head to change myself, I am not building up confidence. I am tearing myself down. Eventually I will tear down friends and family because I am focused on the negative within our relationship. Make sense?
What if I tell you that you need to protect your relationships by not having friends pray for those relationships? Yeah, I missed a key part of that question. Praying for each other is great and supportive and a must; however, do you need to share the struggles, the conflict or all of “your side of the issue” in order for others to pray? Again, if we look at this verse, we need to see our actions (words) as building up or tearing down. By sharing details of a brokenness in a relationship, are you changing the views of others about whoever you are in conflict with? It is the details that can be the stumbling block for us. I have done this without realizing the affects. Please understand, I am not asking you to not get prayer warriors to pray with you but spare them the details.
So, ask yourself these questions before sharing: Is it wholesome? Is it helpful in building others up? Is it meeting their needs? Is it beneficial to others? How we think of ourselves and others should be reflected in the answer to these questions. If I am focused on the negative, then the answer to all of these questions would be a big fat no. That means that I do not need to share if it is about me or someone else.
How do we change our grumbling and complaining? Gratitude. Being thankful removes our grumbling and our complaining. It shifts our focus to a positive. Get a notebook and write down things you are thankful for. When you can shift to finding positive things about yourself, then the negative tape starts to be erased. Start simple but do it every day. What gifts are you thankful for? Coffee? Birds? A Blog? How about what scripture are you thankful for? Expressing gratitude can be difficult when we only see things that are wrong, but just by writing down “I am thankful for my morning coffee” allows us to see something positive. Before too long we have become a positive person instead of a grumbling fool.
Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Even the whisper of a negative thought about yourself or someone else would not be acceptable to God.
I am thankful for…
I am SO thankful for my coffee, gratitude expressed