Words that can be found in a scripture verse (1 Thessalonians 5:18). And also a principle that can be found in a number of idioms (wise sayings), such as:
Always look on the bright side of life.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
And there are more to choose from. In essence, what is being articulated or suggested, is that there is a positive to be found. And we are being encouraged to find it.
I remember musing on the scripture verse mentioned above when I was younger, and thinking, “Is this really possible?“. Here it is in full:
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. (taken from The Message – A contemporary rendering)
I had major doubts, but eventually posited that if it was written -and written in such a way as to be a directive- it must be possible. So I decided to put it to the test.
My method was simple. When anything unwelcome, annoying, provoking etc. happened, I tried to express some thanks. E.g.
“Thank you God that even though it’s me washing the dishes again, my Mum doesn’t have to come back to them.”
“Thank you God that though that person stepped on my foot (and didn’t even say sorry) I have the use of my feet.”
“Thank you God that though I’m standing here waiting forever in this queue, I’m fit enough to be able to do so.”
And so on and so forth. Yes, they may sound a bit contrived, possibly even a bit silly. And they were definitely, initially, said through gritted teeth, and sometimes suppressed anger.
However, as time went on, my jaws loosened, my ‘thank yous’ were more easily expressed, and at some point I realised that their had been a change to my heart. A change in my attitude. Or you could also say, a change to my default setting.
Now a change like this. A change to one’s thinking, perspective, and chosen responses, can be hard to maintain. It requires some intentionality and consistency on our part. I also personally believe it requires something ‘other’ than ourselves.
A change like this can also be hard be hard because life’s happenings can be challenging. They can put our resolve to be thankful or positive to the test. And though, for myself, I feel I discovered that it is actually possible to ‘give thanks’ in all circumstances. I’m not convinced that there is always a positive to be found in all circumstances.
Especially, because sometimes…
When it rains, it pours!
*If embeded video doesn’t work, click here*
In my case at the moment, and the trigger for this post, literally!
#indonesiaproblems #myjakartalife #rainyseason #bocor
As I was doing earlier tonight, and have been trying to do on some other nights, I made myself find things to be thankful for. The struggle was real. I def faired better when I focussed my thoughts, and prayers, on others. Whose housing situation will most likely mean they are dealing with a way worse scenario than mine.
I also tried to refrain from being like, “God please stop the rain.” I mean, like it’s not all about me right. And rain is necessary. But I ain’t gonna lie, I did eventually go there on a couple of occasions. I mean, having seen the video wouldn’t you? And that was when it was calming down after almost an hour.
Well at least my water catching solutions are fairly colour co-ordinated! #givingthanks 🙂