“Today is gone, it was not fun. Tomorrow is another one. Every day from here to there, funny things are everywhere.” (With apologies to Dr. Seuss’ One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish)
Certain Seuss-isms have lodged in my brain and pop out at times to bother my children. The good Doctor actually wrote “today was fun” and I tend to quote this one properly at the end of a good but tiring day. But the day in question had been stressful and I was glad to see the end of it.
Instead of his usual Seuss-induced eye roll, my 15-year-old stepped into my personal space, index finger outstretched, and challenged, “Name three good things that happened today. Fast.”
There had been good things, not least being that although anxiety had hounded me all day I hadn’t crumpled. I was just tired of the repetitive battle.
He didn’t move. “Three good things.”
I don’t remember now which three I told him, but his moment of tough love is up there with the best things in that day.
How quickly we forget the good, or focus on the bad instead. And as Ann Voskamp says in One Thousand Gifts, even the bad can be a gift if we choose to recognize God there and continue giving thanks.
Gratitude has to be intentional. Deliberate. Radical.
For further reading:
At A Voice Crying Out into the Wilderness, Roger Tharpe reminds us of the importance of remembering the good.
At Other Food: daily devos, Violet Nesdoly affirms that gratitude is a choice.
And you’re bound to find something valuable about gratitude at Ann Voskamp’s A Holy Experience.
What? You mean I’m not the only Christian out there who is tired of still fighting the anxiety battle? Sigh. It’s great to have company. Thanks for sharing this…
My bit of help along the way yesterday – in the heat of the battle – was one line from the hymn form of the 23rd Psalm that jumped out at me as I quietly croaked “My head Thou dost, with oil anoint, And my cup overflows…” The Creator of the universe. The King of Love. The Good Shepherd. The Bonum Sunum. Anoints my head. Me. So undeserving, yet so loved. How can I not be grateful. And pour back everything that I have – all that I am.
Thanks Janet. I needed that. (again) 🙂
Wow. Thanks for this, Susan! I’ve never focused on that bit of the verse before, but it’s downright amazing. I will think on this today.
When my road is bumpy and hard, I remind myself of Ephesians 5:20, “Always giving thanks for ALL things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” It reminds me of how the disciples learned to give thanks even while in prison and facing other hardships. God worked out all things for their good in the end and has promised to work all things for our good also. We can be so thankful that Jesus has promised to never leave us.
Margaret, you’ve captured it. We can’t act on the truth if we don’t first remind ourselves of it. We’re so prone to forget.
Thinking your 15 year old was inspired to skip the Seuss-induced eye roll, Janet ;} and the result was inspiring as well.
He definitely has a gift for comfort/encouragement. That’s what I wanted to share here, the importance of thankfulness, not “poor me having a bad day”.
“Seuss-isms” – I love that! And thanks for the honor of that special mention. I’ve just spent an hour reading all kinds of advice about online life–and feeling increasingly inadequate. Your post puts me on back on track, focusing on the ‘good things.’
I can’t take credit for “Seuss-isms” but I love it too. And after all the times your devotional posts have been just what I needed, Violet, I’m really happy one of mine could return the favour.
There are so many things we could and “should” be doing, but there’s only so much time. I think God is more interested in did we spend today according to His direction than did we obey someone else’s how-to list. I know that’s over-simplified, but He knows how to tailor those how-to’s to each of our lives.
Jill Williamson shared this snippet on FB this evening. I loved it.
Beth Moore’s (sarcastic) paraphrase of Philippians 4: 6-7 from her book Breaking Free. “Do not be calm about anything, but in everything, by dwelling on it constantly and feeling picked on by God, with thoughts of ‘and this is the thanks I get,’ present your aggravations to everyone you know but Him. And the acid in your stomach, which transcends all milk products, will cause you an ulcer, and the doctor bills will cause you a heart attack and you will lose your mind.”
If this were actually a command of God, it would be so easy to follow. 😉
Ain’t that the truth! I’m glad that’s not the way it’s actually written!