“you can’t positive-think your way out of negative feelings. the only way to fight a feeling is with a feeling… feel thanks and it is absolutely impossible to feel angry. we can only experience one emotion at a time. and we get to choose – which emotion do we want to feel?” (page 136)
for those of you who are not yet aware, friday is book club day. this sweet friend & i think that book clubs are cool so we are bringing them back. we all know that even if you didn’t read the book you still go to the club for snacks and conversation. this is the same. except it is BYOS (bring your own snacks). come if you are reading along, come if you are not. link up with your thoughts on the book, thoughts on life, thoughts on being thankful or gratitude lists. no book reading necessary. but we sure would love it if you read with us. and shared with us. so please, join us!
CHAPTER SEVEN: LOOKING THROUGH THE GLASS
it is easy to be thankful for the things we are thankful for because, obviously, they are good things that we are thankful for. but can we possibly be thankful in the messy and the broken – not just by searching for that one bit of goodness but being thankful for grace in the midst of the messy?
that quote that i began this post with was one that really struck me (feel free to go back and reread it!) in those hard moments. those moments of self doubt, of not feeling good enough, in fights with my husband, in hard conversations, while hearing bad news… in all those things i try to fight with positive thinking and i never seem to win. i let feelings of entitlement, bitterness, self loathing, sadness, anger to consume me. in those moments i cannot fight with “happy thoughts” i have to fight it with focus. i have to look toward the Lord and give thanks. give thanks for something, anything.
- nail polish
- dirty dishes with the scraps of delicious meals
- piles of laundry – blessed to have so many options for outfits
- dirty carpets because we live in this house
whatever… and then slowly my feelings change. when i see the face of God in Bruce’s face i cannot stay mad. when i see grace and forgiveness in my life, i cannot help but pour out grace and forgiveness. when i give thanks for truth, for beauty, for Christ in me – i cannot believe the lies of Satan trying to tear me down.
so i have a choice. a choice to choose how i feel:
“do i really smother my own joy because i believe that anger achieves more than love? that Satan’s way is more powerful, more practical, more fulfilling in my daily life that Jesus’ way? isn’t is because i think complaining, exasperation, resentment will pound me up into the full like i really want? when i choose – and it is a choice – to crush joy with bitterness, am i not purposefully choosing the angry way of Lucifer because i think it is more effective – more expedient – than giving thanks?” (page 126)
the art of being aware and awake enough to choose how you feel takes practice. practice. practice. practice. so that is what i am choosing to do. practice. because i want to live a life that honors our Lord. one that gives thanks. on that chooses joy.
- airplanes that carry friends
- cute eateries
- picking up where we left off friendships
- the sound of children playing outside of the window
- the methodical tic toc of the clock
- husbands pursuing their passions
- belly laughing
- lists. all the time. every where.
- rain clouds
- swapping dream stories in the morning
- the click of typing
- healthy cupcakes
- fresh fruit
i think this being thankful when its ugly and not what we imagined is the real trick to this thankful lifestyle. this is the part that has taken me a year to try to get down (not that I have it down). It's hard, but I think it can get easier the more you try to force your mind to change…
I think it's seriously "choose joy" week in blogland because I just posted about that last night and I've seen it on a few other blogs here and there. And even though others are blogging about it, I think it just shows how important it is for me to re-read and remember that I have 100% control over how I act and how I choose to fell.
Hooray for choosing joy, for belly laughs, the sound of kids playing outside, and fresh fruit. 🙂
Jessica Lynn Martin says
I love your blog–I'm so excited to follow! It's super cute and I love your a Christian as well. I am new to the blogging scene, follow me at http://foreverconvinced.blogspot.com/
Xo- Jess 🙂