Every year at this time, my social media feed explodes with friends and family members counting their blessings, one day at a time, and honestly, I enjoy those posts a lot more than the political ones that generally clog things up. If there's nothing else we can learn from social media, let's remember this: Gratitude is better than grumbling.
But here's the thing that I've been thinking lately: What's true for my social media feed is true for my life as well. Gratitude is better than grumbling. At every moment of every day, I can choose to give thanks, or I can choose to complain. What I choose to remember, moment by moment, says a lot about the state of my heart.
Just last night, after a busy afternoon that included a visit to the dentist (because our youngest somehow managed to chip her tooth...with her tongue) and a trip to Wal-Mart for shoebox supplies and groceries that lasted waaaaay too long, I stood at the kitchen counter and unloaded on Dennis.
I told him about all the fits and whining and fights that filled the hours we were gone, but I didn't tell him about the giggles, or the joy, or the silliness. I told the story, all the while playing up the bad and leaving out the good, which, of course, made the afternoon seem so much worse than it really was.
Later, I wondered why.
The longer I thought about it, the less I liked what I saw. I realized that my sad retelling of the story was just a means of justifying my bad attitude and hard heart. It had everything to do with making myself look better and absolutely nothing to do with Christ.
The truth is that gratitude takes practice, and I'm badly out of shape. So, this month, I've decided to start taking note of anything and everything that I'm thankful for each day.* It's a practice that I've neglected lately, but clearly, my heart is in desperate need of it. Convenient that we have holidays like Thanksgiving to redirect our focus, right?
There's something to be said for the simple act of naming the things that you're grateful for. It doesn't seem like much, but taking a moment day by day to focus on the good and give thanks for blessings both big and small has a way of slowly but surely changing a heart.
It's in gratitude that we forget our grumbling and remember what matters most. God is good. All the time. And not only is he good, he is good to me. Even in the mess. Even in the chaos. He is good.
Will you join me in choosing gratitude over grumbling this month? It's certainly not always easy in the heat of the moment, but I believe with my whole heart that it's worth it in the end.
Until next time, grace and peace.
*I'm using our "Be Grateful" printable, available as a FREE download for all MP Community members. Join the community today to access our entire library of free Bible study tools and resources.
Believing that God's love is better than life is the kind of thing that's easy when life goes sideways, because there really are situations when life on earth is so bad that to die and be with Jesus would be a mercy. But what about when the opposite is true? When everything is going great? When life is just as you imagined and all your wildest dreams are coming true? Is God's love better even still?