I don't know about you all, but sometimes even in the midst of what is going well I can zone in on what is not going the way I wish it was. While on the outside my attitude may be cheerful and pleasant, too often I dwell on the "if-only's". I have found myself in that place this week...instead of focusing on all the ways I am blessed and the fun I am having spending time with my family, I have let nagging irritations or dashed expectations niggle away at my joy.
It can be hard to know how to combat those feelings when they pop up...they are unwelcome guests but it is difficult to kick them out once they find their way in my brain and heart! Three things that help, though, are timeless ways to refocus my heart and realign my thoughts to what is good. Number one: Spending time in God's Word. Whether it's reading through the wisdom of Proverbs ("A heart at peace gives life to the body but envy rots the bones." (Proverbs 14:30) or the truths of Philippians ("Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right...think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." (Philippians 4:8) there is always something to remind myself to take off my pity party hat and focus on joy. Number two: Pray without ceasing. I used to think prayer had to be a down-on-your-knees-in-the-quiet-of-the-morning thing, but now I know that I can send up quick prayers for help and patience (and a better attitude) whether I am being tested by my toddler or frustrated with my spouse. It's not always a prayer to get my way, often a prayer to change my attitude or my approach to a situation is just what I need. Number three: Focus on thankfulness. Long has it been touted that focusing on thankfulness is one of the best ways to cultivate a grateful and joyful heart. What have I been blessed with today? A beautiful family? A safe place to live? Food for the day? What can I relish in the moment? A hot shower? A comfy pair of jeans? What do I take for granted? A spouse who loves his family and shows that love in his own unique way? The health and lung-capacity of my tantrum-throwing child? There is so much to be thankful for if we but open our eyes.
So there you have it, my plan of action to combat the unwelcome guest of discontentment. Thank you, God, for the joy you bring and the opportunities you provide for me to grow in peace and contentment. May joy and laughter be my heart's song this week, and may it be contagious!