How can we be thankful when life throws us handfuls of sour lemons?
I love my birthday. Not for the gifts, but for the feeling of being special for one whole day!
You get to ask for back rubs without feeling guilty.
I can ask for extra hugs and kisses from my kiddos all day long.
I can sleep in, usually.
My hands don’t have to prepare meals in my kitchen (at least for dinner)!
And who can forget the extra love we receive on Facebook from our friends and family!
But, this year my birthday did not sing pleasant.
I woke up thankful.Thankful to wrap my arms around my son who needed his momma. Thankful to have another year of life. Thankful for my health and the health of my family.
Everything around me sang thankful and I praised God for it!
Then as the special feeling of birthday greeted me, it quickly left me in a bitter state of mind. My two little minions decided this was the day to challenge their mom.
And cried over simple things.
Just when I thought they would give their mom a day full of sweetness, they whined some more.
The call I used to get from my dad and grandma never came. (I guess you can’t call from heaven)
And when the text came from my husband who told me I could ask for anything, I decided to test him. You see I’ve been wanting to get a puppy for my son because he loves animals. So, I asked for one, knowing we didn’t have the money.
I knew the answer before I asked, but birthdays are made for exceptions, right?
When we let special wrap into what we should have, we open up unrealistic expectations.
How To Be Thankful for What You Have
The truth is this year, on this very special day, I forgot how to be thankful for what I have. All I felt was the sourness of life pouring in on a day that was supposed to bring sweetness to my soul.
In reality, our mortgage is behind. Our phones are ringing in from bill collectors.
The work at home journey God called us on is leaving us further and further in debt.
Thankfully, we have food on our table, not the food I want to provide, but enough food to fill our bellies.
We have a warm house and furniture to rest on.
We have a lot to be thankful for.
But, this year I didn’t get to go out for dinner my birthday.
It was something I never had to give up before.
My hands slapped together a dinner I didn’t want to make.
And, the family time I usually received every year filled with cries with my husband working hard in the other room.
My day reflected on everything I didn’t have instead of everything I did have.
But, how do we slip into feeling thankful for what we do have?
When we feel as though we have nothing we should start focusing on the little things we do have.
When our minds start shifting into a downward spiral, we set the very trap of thinking;
We are nothing.
We have nothing.
Rather than stepping into that trap, we can do something simple. Stop. Pause. Breathe. And rethink.
How To Be Thankful to God at All Times
There’s no shame in being ungrateful. We all go through periods of doubt and worry.
Some of us have less than others, and that’s okay.
But, honestly, I am so grateful for the times I do have less.
For if, there are no times of trouble there would be no times of greatness.
We can’t be fully grateful for everything we have until we have nothing.
I know even though I feel as if I have nothing at times, I do have a lot more than most.
This is the very trap Satan wants us in.
Thinking if only I had…things would be better.
If I had this person in my life…I would feel better.
If I had the money to do this or buy this, I would be happier.
There’s no right or wrong way on how to be thankful. It’s simply putting a pause on our thoughts and taking a look around to see what we do have.
Are you up for journaling? It helps to physically write down the things we are thankful for.
Let’s Soak In This Together
I’m not always great at being thankful for what I have. I envy you at times. I miss the people in my life that once were. But, together as we sit around this time of year, together or far apart, I ask God to open both of our eyes for what we do have. Let us not focus on the pain or our deepest desires, rather let’s put thankfulness on our plates this year. For if we spread our joy of the simple things in life, we can pass along the love our God intended for us to enjoy.
Let’s make every ounce of sour lemonade into the sweet goodness that makes our hearts sing thankful!
Here’s another fun gift: Get this FREE printable from frugalitygal!
(image from frugalitygal)