As I've been praying and feeling very discouraged this week, messages have been popping up all over about being joyful now, being thankful for what God has blessed me with, and being persistent in prayer (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. THESSALONIANS 5:16-18So often I pray for God's will to be done, though I find myself wondering what His will is. By no coincidence, my morning's devotional said it plain and simple: "To be in the center of God's will is to be a woman who is joyful, prayerful, and thankful" (Made to Crave Devotional, Ch. 21). It's not my job to know God's will - His ways is too great for me to understand. It is my job to be in the center of His will, ready and willing to be used by Him for His glory!
The Trap of ComparisonsAs parents, Leo and I want to ingrain a spirit of gratitude into our child's heart so he can be content with what he has and not constantly comparing himself to other children. The kicker is that if we want E to be thankful, he needs to see his parents living that way first!
James Ryle says, “Humility is the God-given self-assurance that eliminates the need to prove to others the worth of who you are, and the rightness of what you do.”The world has a corrupt value system focused on material things and personal achievements. People are always striving for the next best thing - whether it's a product, profession, or season of life - contentment is rare and usually short-lived. Thank God we don't play the world's value game because we are servants of Christ!
Rather than exalting ourselves, we are to be servants. Rather than hoarding our own wealth, we are called to be givers. Rather than whining about what we don't have, we are to be thankful for all God has done. Rather than finding our identity in worldly things, our identity is in Jesus Christ.
I love how straight-forward God's Word is. Envy and selfish ambition = demonic. That sounds extreme, but it's the truth. As children of God, let us focus on pure things, being peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, bearing good fruit, impartiality and sincerity!
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.JAMES 3:13-18 (emphasis added by me)
Five things you are thankful for right now. Go!
Thankful ThoughtsWhile feeling discouraged this week, I've been writing a list of what I'm thankful for in my prayer journal to re-focus and choose joy. Here are a few wonderful blessings I am thankful for today!
My Supportive Husband. I am thankful for super hot running dates with Leo. I'm sure there is nothing he would rather do than run a 15k on an excessively windy day! Now that's love... He is so supportive of me as a stay-at-home mom and even with running. That means the world to me!
Friendly Dogs. This dog chased us for a short while on the homestretch of our run. I am so thankful this dog was nice! His size alone makes him a bit intimidating. In my runner vs. dog experiences, I've found that the ankle-biter dogs are actually more vicious!
This Cool Dude. I am so thankful for E and, wow, has he changed drastically over the past couple months. He now resembles more of a Tasmanian devil (remember "Taz" from Looney Tunes?") than an innocent baby. "Toddler" must be short-hand for Tasmanian devil. He is always looking for trouble but I wouldn't have it any other way. I love this kid and his joy in life!
Laundry-Drying Weather. The weather earlier this week was gorgeous! It takes a little extra time but I really love to hang clothes out on the line to dry. The sun bleaches them and they smell wonderful (and saves on the electricity bill)!
Homemade Bread. I've been practicing up on my bread-making skills and, much to my surprise, I enjoy baking! Making homemade bread with the Kitchen Aid is really easy and so much better than store-bought bread. I am so thankful for the very talented friend that taught me how to do this!