There are many verses in the Bible about being thankful and living with gratitude. As a regular practice, I try to remember and meditate on a list of things for which I’m thankful, such as family, friends, good health and my beautiful home.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
We are taught to be thankful even in difficult seasons in the midst of trials, knowing that we are being refined in ways that we can not always see. But does that mean that we just accept our “lot” in life and walk around defeated like Eeyore? Honestly (and I say this with love) some of the Christians I know are also the saddest, most miserable people I know.
An acquaintance recently told me she had a great day helping someone with a project. Because she was busy focusing on something else, she said she hadn’t given any thought to her current laundry list of worries. But she followed by saying that she was “sure it would all come crashing down tomorrow.” Seriously?
Eeyore is a character in the Winnie-the-Pooh books by A. A. Milne. He is generally characterized as a pessimistic, gloomy, depressed, anhedonic, old grey stuffed donkey who is a friend of the title character, Winnie-the-Pooh.
Our minds are very powerful, and it is true that we move toward what we think about. Scientific studies prove that thought life is critical in patients recovering from illnesses, such as breast cancer. Being positive and visualizing healing and a happy future can be key to survival.
What tapes are you playing over and over in your head? Often we are so accustomed to years of negative thought patterns that we are not even aware of it. Are you stuck in anger, depression, self-pity, or worry? Instead of picturing all of the things that can go wrong, maybe its time to visualize yourself doing something you love or being somewhere you want to be.
A few months ago, I completed a Bible study that addressed getting trapped in cycles of various kinds in life — fear, sadness, guilt, etc. The conclusion of the study was basically that we will never be satisfied here on earth and that we should have low expectations because we only have hope in heaven.
While I agree that our ultimate hope is in heaven, I don’t agree that we should succumb to low expectations here on earth. In his book, Working With the Law, Raymond Holliwell states, “There are others who believe that in God’s good time all things will eventually work out to their satisfaction, but this is not so. These people are planning for a heaven to be gained at some future time, when it is actually a condition and state of mind that can be had now as well has hereafter…they think it is God’s fault, will or desire, when they do not get the answer they seek…’God’s will be done’, is one of the most over-worked and least understood statements in our day. Some use the idea as a crutch to lean upon, when in reality it is a powerful bridge…”
There is another layer to faith that I believe Christians (including me) often miss, and that is living expectantly. God intends for us to thrive, not just survive each day. Think about your children and how much joy it brings you when they are happy and operating in their full potential. Then how much more is God pleased when we are doing the same? What would it look like if we were to be fully alive?
A a mom and caregiver, I personally feel guilty or selfish at times when I consider starting something that will provide personal growth because I don’t want anything to take away from my role and responsibilities as a wife and mom.
Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” We each have unique personalities and God-given talents. Part of thriving is learning how to utilize those gifts and talents, not just for personal gain, but to serve others. There are resources to help discover your gifts and develop a plan to use them, such as free podcasts, books and professional life coaches and counselors.
I met an amazing life coach while I was on a yoga retreat in Mexico a few months ago, Simona Ksoll. In a coaching session with her last week, she quoted one of her mentors, “True desire is never selfish.” In other words, if God has placed a real desire in your heart, it’s not going to be hurtful or take away from those around you. Realizing that dream or desire should actually benefit those around you. When we are more fulfilled, we have more to pour into others.
Bill Johnson, Pastor and Author, gives a great analogy: “An automobile may have several hundred horsepower. But the car will go nowhere until the clutch is released, connecting power to the wheels. So it is with faith. We have all the power of heaven behind us. But it is our faith that connects what is available to the circumstances at hand. Faith takes what is available and makes it actual.”
What is one thing you can do right now to take a step toward growth? If we are constantly waiting to for everyone’s approval or encouragement, we might be waiting forever. Don’t limit God by thinking small. Trust Him and trust yourself to dream. Live expectantly!
1 Corinthians 9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love him—
Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.
….but first you have to get off the couch – stay tuned for more 🙂
#yogateachertraininghereicome #getoffthecouch #alwaysgrowing #faith #gratitude