Do you ever find yourself in a place where you are not content with your life? You might have all your needs met, maybe everything is going well, but for some reason you are restless and dissatisfied.
On my daughters 5th birthday we had a lovely party for her. Butterfly cake, friends, presents, games, it had all the elements of a great day but for some reason she was not happy. Isn’t it true that we can act like this sometimes? We have all these wonderful blessings in life, but for one reason or another, it doesn’t seem to be good enough.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 says:
Be joyful always.
Give thanks in all circumstances for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.
How do we do this, especially during the tough times? How do we live in the continual feast of thankfulness?
Some of the most gracious people I have met in life are those who have experienced the most pain. I think of people like Angie Smith and Molly Piper, both are beautiful women who have lost children. Though they have anguished over their situation, they choose to live in a joy that can only come from Heaven. I think of others like Danny Oertli who lost his wife at a young age. He was left to be a single dad with a baby and a toddler. Sad? By all means, but there still was a joy and a graciousness in Danny during some very dark times.
Several things kill our ability to live as gracious people:
Doubt – We doubt the maker of the world and we lack trust.
Selfishness – We want things our way, we want our kids a certain way, we want our husbands a certain way, on and on.
Critical Spirit – This is the person who is bitter and angry and negative. It’s the pain in the neck person who has an enlarged ego birthed out of pride. They are self-absorbed and are convinced they deserve better than what they have.
Impatience – Your day-timer and God’s day-timer don’t line up.
Then there is worldliness, apathy, anger, on and on.
There is a story about a man in Budapest. He goes to his spiritual leader and says, “Life is unbearable. There are nine of us living in one room. What can I do?” The spiritual leader answers, “Take your goat into the room with you.” But the man was not fond of the idea. The spiritual leader insists he take the goat into the house.
A week later the man comes to the spiritual leader more distraught than before. “We can’t stand it! The goat is filthy and smelly.”
The spiritual leader says, “ Go home and let the goat out now and come back in a week.”
A week later the man comes out and exclaims how wonderful life is. “No more smell, the home is clean, life is beautiful, and we enjoy every minute now that the goat is gone.”
I admit that it is easier to live in thankfulness when I am on the mountaintop rather than in the valley. Once in awhile I need a goat to move into my home to remind me of my blessings. This year I have met children with nothing who live in a continual feast of gratitude. How do they do this? They certainly see a world with spiritual eyes rather than human eyes. They get it, they live in hope, and they see a Big God.
The thankful heart has a continual feast.
Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy
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