Thankfulness is not a natural state for me. I grew up as a very driven, ambitious woman. I had high expectations of others. I had even higher ones for myself. The checklist was endless. As a visionary, I wasn’t that impressed with reality.
You can probably guess that life inside my head and heart was usually tinged with disappointment and frustration. In fact, it has taken me years to learn to be truly thankful. I’m sure it would have been easier if I hadn’t been born with a Type A personality, if I had come from a laid-back home, or if life had been a bit easier as an adult. Yet, even with all the strikes against a peaceful heart, God has been gracious in these later years to guide me toward living life with appreciation.
Here are some very random insights that have helped me. Hopefully they can help you as well:
- It is lovely to work hard to create a memory, if you can accept that you are only building the framework. The memories have to make themselves, usually in ways you didn’t foresee and can’t control.
- Beauty is important. Perfection is stifling.
- If I approach any gathering of people with specific expectations, I will surely be disappointed. It is better to open my home and my heart to whoever enters and whatever happens.
- I can’t control anyone else. Neither am I responsible for their actions.
- Loving someone means accepting him or her where they are, even myself.
- While I can work daily to give my children opportunities to reach their potential, I have to hold the results of that loosely. The future is not in my hands.
- Contentment is a choice, actually many choices made each day. It is not a birthright or a situation, but a hard-won battle.
- Accepting life, as it is, will pave the way toward peace. Or, stated another way, agreeing with God about my situation and yielding to it leads to joy.*
- The act of remembering past blessings helps produce a grateful heart.
May your heart be truly thankful this holiday!
*I am, of course, speaking only of healthy relationships and situations, not encouraging anyone to stay in dangerous ones.
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