Continued from here.
Thanksgiving truly is the avenue to joy. If you want to be joyful, then be thankful. Look for reasons to be thankful, and joy will bubble up inside of you. This is why the Apostle Paul told us to think about excellent and praiseworthy things.
Here’s a newsflash that was truly revolutionary to me: You get to choose what you think! That means you get to choose whether you are thankful or miserable, and your choice will determine how you feel. Think about it – You cannot think about something you are grateful for and something that annoys you at the same time. You must choose to focus on one or the other, and that choice will determine how you feel.
And get this … Whatever you focus on magnifies while whatever you are not focusing on minimizes. So, as you choose to focus on the things in your life that you are thankful for, they grow your joy while draining the energy out of the things that annoy you. Don’t believe me? Give it a try and see what happens.
On her television show, Enjoying Everyday Life, Joyce Meyer said something that greatly helped me make the transition to choosing gratitude over grumbling. She said that it was OK for me to enjoy my life while I have a problem. I truly, from the bottom of my heart, did not know this!
For my entire life, I had believed that I needed to stew on my problems. Yes, I knew (and even memorized) the passage about not being anxious about anything, but I still thought about the problem incessantly because I thought I was supposed to. And guess what phrase I never noticed in those verses? They say to present our requests to God with thanksgiving.
I used to be a constant worrier, but I don’t do that anymore. When a problem arises (and a problem always arises), I pray to God about it, do what I know to do on my end, and then focus on what I am thankful for and enjoy my life while I still have the problem. (Thank you, Joyce!) As Joyce Meyer says, “If God can’t fix the problem, I sure can’t!” I ask God to intervene, focus on Scripture that is applicable to the situation, do what I can toward fixing the problem, and then don’t allow myself to think about it. I have so much in my life to be grateful for. I am not going to ruin my life being miserable waiting for my problem to be solved. I trust that God is in control of my life and will work this mess for good. In the meantime, I’m going to be joyful and grateful.
[Graphic: Cartoon of a card with Grace smiling and raising her hands above the words, “Many Thanks.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]