The #1 Thing to Change Your Entire Day
By Ginny Hannan
I had reached my breaking point.
Over the span of nine months following the purchase of our home, we found ourselves facing three big projects all related to water issues. Pipes, an entire bathroom, and the ceramic tile that ran over half of our first level all had to be replaced. Our finished basement is no longer finished. The homeowner’s insurance agents knew me by name, and we began to wonder if we should set up a fourth bedroom for the contractors.
Finally, we saw the light at the end of the tunnel as the last of the workers left.
It was then that I made the big mistake.
I looked at my husband and remarked how wonderful it was that the renovations and fixes were finally over.
That night, the air conditioning quit.
I suddenly felt like…
the big bad wolf. I wanted to huff and puff and blow our house down. I desired nothing more than to walk out the front door and stay in a hotel until we found a new house.
I developed a very bad attitude as I sank deeper into self-pity territory. Why did bad things keep happening to us? Would it ever end? We were good people, followers of Christ, and did our best to live our lives to glorify the Lord. Why us?
Then it hit me.
We have a home. It is still standing. Our kids love it here, and in all honesty, we adore it. It has become more than a house. It is a home. It is the place where our kids will grow up and create memories. They won’t remember the craziness of our first year. They will remember playing hide and seek in the nooks and crannies, learning to ride a bike in the driveway, and sharing funny stories around the dinner table.
My perspective changed, and I began to realize that I needed to develop an attitude of gratitude. I needed to focus on the things I do have and demonstrate gratitude for the blessings I have been given. When I change my focus, it helps me focus on what God has done for me and not what is happening to me.
Some of you are going through much tougher situations than my water issues. You may be dealing with sickness, job loss, moving, or depression. Your situation may be leading you to think negatively about life in general. You may feel that there is nothing positive about your life because what you are going through really is hard. It can be easy to make the negatives the single focus and to perseverate on them.
However, we don’t HAVE to center our life around those things. Those negative things happening are true and real and hurt, but we have a choice to think negatively or to focus on the blessings we DO have, and I promise you that everyone, no matter the circumstance, can find something for which they can be grateful.
When we have attitudes that reflect gratitude, our demeanor changes. Our relationships change as we seek to find things to be grateful for in the other person. Our days are less dreary, and it slowly becomes easier to see more and more blessings in our day.
The Bible is very clear about gratitude:
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV
“Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” – Ephesians 5:20
We are to give thanks always and for everything, in every circumstance. It doesn’t say to give thanks just when things are going well or just for the good things. It says thanks for EVERYTHING.
To get you started on your journey of finding gratitude in every circumstance, here are a few simple ways to build it into your day:
1) Keep a gratitude journal – At the end of each and every day, no matter how good or bad it was, write down one positive thing that you noticed today. At first, it might seem difficult, but as the days go on, you may not be able to keep to just one thing. When you focus on positives, you notice them more!
2) Include gratitude in your prayers – When you are praying before a meal, in the car, or throughout your day, thank God for something or someone He has put in your path today.
3) Practice finding the positive in the negative – There are days where my children practice their skills of pushing Mommy’s buttons more than others, and I feel like I am going to lose my mind. A way I can work through those days is to think positive thoughts about my children. What are some things I love about them most? When I focus on those thoughts instead of how annoyed I feel, it is easier to be patient and loving toward them. Focusing on gratitude for my situation and those around me takes my focus off of the negatives and helps me get through my day with a better attitude.
Join me as I reflect on the incredible blessings I have been given today. Even if you are skeptical, I urge you to try it. It could just turn your entire day around in an incredible way.
After two years of in and out depression following the adoption of her two little girls, Ginny discovered the true joy of motherhood. Her mission is to help others find this same joy in their lives through an intimate relationship with Christ. When she isn’t having dance parties with her kids, going on foodie dates with her husband, or singing at the top of her lungs to Disney soundtracks, she enjoys a good chai from Starbucks, watches Downton Abbey, and gets giddy over finding a thrilling new book series. You will also find her sharing her joy moments and faith at www.joyfromgrace.com and www.deliberatewomen.org.