Life is crazy, right?
Kids spilling milk, laundry baskets spilling clothes, hurtful words and negativity spilling out.
I love, though, how peace and joy are for RIGHT NOW in the midst of the crazy and messy and hurtful. In my early to mid 20’s I believed the lie that perfect circumstances were necessary for happiness. Well, I would have never said that (I had been a church kid, after all), but it was exactly how I lived my life.
I kept thinking that happiness was just around the bend with different circumstances. Oh my.
And then I finally learned to thank God in the midst of the chaos, uncertainty, and challenges of life. Like, actually thank him for the difficult circumstances in addition to the good ones. To really thank him for what he was doing in me through them–for what he was teaching me and where he was leading me because of these hard things.
When I finally learned to let go of my unrealistic expectations and thank God regardless of my circumstances–things turned around. I finally felt peace and joy.
And we aren’t talking easy circumstances, you guys. Ulcerative Colitis, sickness and death of loved ones, depression/anxiety, a deteriorating rental (the drop ceiling in our bedroom literally fell down along with pounds of plaster a couple of weeks ago. yikes!), a seemingly never-ending renovation project (where it feels like pulling teeth to get people to actually do what they’ve promised), major failure in our ministry/career path. And just the normal everyday “issues” that pop up.
But this thankfulness thing can’t just be for the good times or a feel-good sentiment–some ideal. Nope. You have to embrace thankfulness with ALL of your heart in all circumstances. You have to decide to turn your mind from negative thoughts to grateful thoughts every.single.time. And as you begin to practice gratitude day by day (sometimes moment by moment) it will become more natural and how you feel about your circumstances will change.
In Christian circles thanking Christ in the good and bad is part of surrender. And I am telling you, surrender is hugely powerful. It has changed my life and those I touch for the better. Just ask my hubby :).