No Loopholes

A thankful heart is always satisfied.

A sweet college friend of mine repeated this often to me during our Tuesday night dinners, some twenty-five years ago.  We keep in touch only occasionally now, but always fondly.  Even though thousands of miles lie between us, I often remember her words.

A thankful heart is always satisfied.

On the days that I tug this thought to the forefront and center of my mind, chew on it for a bit, and then actually practice it, my heart is at peace despite every difficult situation.

“Thank you God for my hard-working husband.”

“Thank you, God, for blessing us with our four delightful children.”

“Thank you, God, for endurance to run this difficult path.”

“Thank you, God, for saying “no” to what I have begged you for.”

“Thank you, God, for allowing me to work in my home.”

“Thank you for giving us a sweet spot to call home.”  

Joy and gratitude breed joy and gratitude.  It is contagious.

An ungrateful and complaining spirit is also contagious.

I know this because I have (sadly) practiced this complaining.

Turning our attention inward will always lead to complaining and discontent.

“He isn’t listening to my opinion.”

“She is ignoring me.”

“Why is our life so hard?”

“Why isn’t God giving me what I want?”

“I am exhausted from all of life’s stress.”

“This house seems so small.”

And so it goes.

A whining and complaining mother always breeds poisonous air into the life of the the home.  In deep contrast, a joyful mama is a blessing to her entire family.

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” (Proverbs 31:25)

It is so simple to turn my attitude around; but it is not always easy.  I have searched the Bible for some kind of “loophole” which would allow for just a teeny bit of complaining….because everyone has bad days! Right?

No.  Instead, I discovered these verses:

“Do everything without complaining or arguing.” (Philippians 2:14 NLT)

“And the people complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes, and when the LORD heard it, his anger was kindled…” (Numbers 11:1 ESV)

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)

“Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.”  (James 5:9 ESV)

Something else that has encouraged me is the dawning realization that I am only responsible for the attitudes and behaviors of myself.  A bright disposition is practiced with a heart bent on pleasing God, and God alone. Scurrying around in an attempt to put out fires by pleasing others is exhausting, defeating, and unbiblical.

Like the apostle Paul, I am learning to be content in every situation.  Others may disappoint and wound, but we can learn to rise above the drama.  By drawing a circle around my own feet, and working on the attitudes and actions within that circle, I am free to become all that God has designed for me to be.

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