Two days from now we celebrate Thanksgiving. This time of year I focus all my energy on feeling thankful. In a world full of reasons to feel full and satisfied, many people feel empty. It physically pains me to watch people fixate on the wrong things. If you put your energy into anger and wallow in self pity, you will create more of the same. If you focus on your blessings and put your time and attention into loving the people around your table, you will receive more blessings. Sometimes we think the problem is everything and everyone else when the truth is the root of the problem is our own thinking. Do you focus on what is wrong or do you practice feeling good about what is right? You can change your life and how you see the people in it but it takes some hard work. If people had any idea how much changing their own thinking could elevate their own lives and bring joy, how could they not choose to do it?
On this day, if there’s only one thing you can really feel grateful for in the depths of your heart, spend time there and watch how different you will feel at the end of this day. Count your blessings and put that list of complaints in the garbage. Commit to thankfulness and life and the people it will transform before your eyes.
Communication does not come easy. Some people listen to respond which leaves the person who is excited to be heard feeling disregarded and deflated. Sometimes we forget that the words of someone speaking are as important and valuable as the words we can’t keep from blurting out of our own mouths. I struggle with it also and am practicing listening without speaking. What is more beautiful than loving someone enough to be there for them and just listen. Remember, sometimes someone just wants to share something and we have to remember they are not interested in our assumptions, criticism or opinions. Most times, they are desperately needing and aching to be heard, hoping for someone…YOU to listen and value them enough to actually hear them. Remember, sometimes it is best just to be quiet and allow someone else to finish what they started. Don’t blurt out or interrupt what they are trying so desperately to tell you or eventually they won’t want to share anything with you anymore.
Now more than ever I am starting to understand the value of time. I get it. We live in a hurried world and we are always reminding ourselves and everyone else of the time we don’t seem to have. Remember that when you tell someone that you do not have time for them you are valuing every single thing over the people who are supposed to mean the most to you. We may not even notice the hurtful message we are sending. When you get home from work and spend the entire evening on your laptop you are sending the people in your house a painful message. I know because I too have sat there aching for a couple minutes of someone’s attention. When you schedule lunch with a friend and you show up 15 minutes late and then rush through lunch complaining of running out of time, you are hurting the person who made the effort to sit across from you. There are 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week. Seriously, you can’t even spare or offer even 30 minutes of concentrated time on a human being that you care so deeply about? Time is a precious gift and when you dedicate a chunk of time to a spouse, a child, a friend you are hugging their spirit. We all need to feel loved and valued and the greatest way you can make anyone feel like they really do matter is to give them some of your time. Sometimes the problem is not time at all but rather how we mismanage it. If this was your last day to live, would you be proud of the way you managed your time?
If you don’t hear anything else today please hear this. Be an encourager. There is power in your love and your words and they can lift someone up from unspeakable despair. When life tells someone who they will never be, remind them of who they are. When life says you can’t, stomp your foot and throw your hands on your hips and scream “oh yes I can!” You can change the world one life at a time. When no one else believes in him, tell him YOU BELIEVE in him. When no one else sees her, let her know you see her struggle and you are there to help her carry the weight of the world. Be a gift to someone today…everyone. Do you have any idea how much power you have to make the most profound difference in someone life?
Have you ever worked so hard just to take a tiny baby step in the right direction? If you’re like me, a setback could send you spiraling backwards into the depths of despair. What is that saying…2 steps forward and 3 steps back?
Today I am committing to gluing my feet here in this place I have come and refuse to let anyone or anything drag me back. I am claiming my ground and standing on it with all the strength and determination I have inside me. I am not going back, not today, not tomorrow, not ever! I say which direction I move and it will only be forward. Are you with me? Time to take your life back and it starts with committing your mind.
What is the message you woke up telling yourself today?
I heard a podcast yesterday that really made me re-examine my own words and thoughts. The idea was that many of us complain we don’t have anything to wear as we stare into a closet full of clothes. We open our refrigerators and complain there is nothing to eat despite the fact it is almost full. We turn on the tv and surf a thousand channels and still we cannot find a single thing to watch.
At what point do we stop and ponder what in the world is wrong with me? How can I allow myself to overlook my blessings and focus on what I do not have rather than what is right there in front of me? We have to learn to be happy and grateful in this moment exactly the way our life is now. This idea that I would be happy if…leaves us chasing ifs until we run out of days. There will always be another if and we have to choose to be happy in spite of it. It’s time use our words to reflect a joyful, gracious heart and practice, practice, practice until it becomes automatic. There is enough negativity in the world and we can choose not to contribute to it.
Today, choose to be happy. Bask in gratefulness and watch how your life changes before your eyes. So what’s it gonna be? Is your closet, fridge, life full or is it half empty? There are no ifs worth robbing you of your own happiness. Stop chasing them.
My oven has been acting up since last March. The part that we need to repair it has been backordered on every site for several months now and the cost to replace a double oven is out of the question at this time. It started to really get to me lately. As it gets colder, my desire to use my oven to make some of our favorite meals only grows. Today, as I watched the snow come down and felt the chill in the air, I longed for some meatloaf. I went food shopping and to my surprise the local food store has a meal they offer every week and today was meatloaf Monday. To be honest, it was even better than my own recipe so not only did we get to enjoy meatloaf but I bought a frozen apple pie I was able to heat up in the oven roaster I bought over the weekend to cook my Thanksgiving turkey.
This is a reminder that little setbacks are nothing more than a temporary roadblock. When the path seems blocked, don’t despair. Find another route that will get you to the destination you desire. When everything and everyone tries to convince you you can’t, look them straight in the eye and say, “oh yes I can!” Where there is a will, there will always be a way.