The faithful Lord is showing me some things about my family and myself. I am so thankful to be shown for I can't work to change what is still in darkness. That's why secret sins remain just that--secret sins. They never get put to death. What is also particularly funny (but in a weird way and not in a "ha ha" way) is that I probably would not have been aware of this issue if I had not dealt with anxiety. My anxiety has me seeking good and positive in all the things I do, see, and hear. I am especially sensitive to negativity now. I also find that I am surrounded by friends and in-laws who are quite gracious and positive which makes it easier. However, sometimes I find myself with someone (we all know folks like this--in fact, I might be that person that you know) who does nothing but complain. Or who has nothing good or positive to report. Or who seem to even take joy in the struggles that others find themselves in. I never ever noticed it before but I surely notice it now. People I have known my whole life strike me now as very negative. It is quite burdensome. I have to tell myself--things are probably not as bad as they are stating. Speaking as a recovering pessimist (i used to call myself a realist--what a laugh!) it is very easy to focus on all the bad things or hassles that happen in a day. Oh, and what food for my negativity when there really was bad news. That kind of news just fit into my worldview that said "Life stinks--just deal!" However, it is very difficult to be negative or to complain when there is a thankful heart. And that is my weapon. I hold to the Spirit who has promised to complete the good work in me and bear the fruit of joy in my heart. I take hold of the promise that there is life and hope in Christ, even in a world where coexists pain, struggle and death. These words of my Lord are life. Complaining and thankfulness rarely happen together. And a gentle reminder to those who find themselves being "realists" --just as there is always something to complain about, there is always something to be thankful for. Which would you rather focus on?
Another reason I am convicted about this is because I see that as you get older the reasons to complain get longer. Afterall, you body will eventually die out. It betrays you sooner or later, slowly or fast. If I don't work on the habit of thankfulness now, then when I am old, no one will want to be around me. I don't want to be that grumpy old lady that people avoid. I want to be cheerful, gracious and godly. I look to my mother-in-law as a great example of this. She is gracious and never complains. Mrs. Hogue is the anti-thesis of the grumpy old lady I mentioned earlier. I'm thankful for such an example.
Fortunately, pessimism is learned. Therefore, I plan to unlearn it. In its place, I hope to learn thankfulness. Not a superficial thankfulness--y'know, not just lipservice. But a true outspringing contentment and joy from my heart. Habits can be broken and new habits can replace them. Isn't that reason enough for joy and thankfulness? We aren't stuck! We aren't doomed! We can resolve (with the Lord's transforming grace) to change! Yes!
CJ Mahaney’s Christmas Book List 2017
2 weeks ago