Hmm… this is a difficult question. God has created each of us unique with different dreams and personalities. Therefore, our annual goals should be as diverse as we are.
However, there is one command that crops up over and over throughout the pages of the Bible that would enhance every one of our lives. I believe if we would “resolve” to heed this godly advice, our year would indeed be more full of joy and peace – which is what I believe we can safely say we all desire despite our individual ambitions.
Are you ready for it? It is so simple yet so hard to do this day in and day out – Choose an attitude of gratitude. In fact, if you are a Christian and striving to know God’s will for your life – the following verse tells us CHOOSING to rejoice always and give thanks in all circumstances IS God’s will for you!
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 states, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Is this realistic though? Honestly, can we give thanks every day? What about when the combi guy cuts us off and we can’t help but scream though we know he can’t hear us? What about when you are waiting at a government office for help and you get to the front of the queue only to be told “check us tomorrow. The system is down.” What about when you get home after a long day’s work and your children have broken something valuable in your home? What about when you get laid off work?
What about… and the list could go on and on. There are a million and one reasons every day we have to be mad, be frustrated, and be sad – anything but grateful! And yet, the command inspired by our all omniscient Creator states simply give thanks in ALL circumstances! Why?! Doesn’t He know that isn’t possible?
I remember when I realized this command is a lifeline to experiencing joy on a regular basis in our lives. I was in South Africa in NICU with my newborn son whom I had just learned was severely brain damaged. Medical bills had already exceeded Bo-maid’s limit within a few days. Having just gone through a traumatic birth experience, I was in enormous physical pain myself. I felt like I was drowning in sorrows. Things could not get worse emotionally, physically, nor financially! My world, at that time, couldn’t have been any more despondent and dark. I felt like I was suffocating with grief and despair.
And my heavenly Father whispered,
Having nothing to lose, I sat down and decided to force myself to think about what I had to be grateful for. Pulling out a pen and paper, I began a list.
My dedicated husband sat by my side supporting me – that was something to be grateful for – a life partner who was literally there with me in the valley of the shadow of death. I had a healthy baby girl and friends who were kind enough to keep her when we took the air evacuation out of Botswana – that was something to be thankful for. I had a God who promised He could bring life and hope no matter what the situation – that made light shine through the cloud of doom over my head.
As I sat, forcing myself to CHOOSE gratitude, my spirits began to lift. My mind began to see past the oppression of depression. As I focused on the positive and sought to lift my eyes to the God who can bring peace and light into the darkest day, my joy returned. My hope returned. I realized then that when God says choose an attitude of gratitude – it is a lifeline to a life of hope, peace and joy. I also realized no matter how bad the situation is, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for! Always!
This year, 2019, my challenge to you as you reflect on the year ahead and make a list of how you can make this year brighter is to add this to your list: Choose gratitude. It is a gift you will give yourself, and I promise those around you will be blessed to when they hear you expressing thankful thoughts instead of complaining.
Send more questions or make comments about this article to firstname.lastname@example.org or write me through my Facebook page – Mom to Mom: Parenting Consultations and read next week to find answers.
Ashley Thaba is a popular author, life coach, and motivational speaker. She also facilitates corporate team building and wellness activities. You can view some of her work on her YouTube channel: Ashley Thaba.