Thursday, May 9, 2013

UNhappy: When You Just Don't Feel Thankful

Have you ever thought to yourself, "What on earth in my life is there to be thankful for?" Maybe it's always too hot or too cold for you. Maybe your children or siblings are fighting. Maybe you're stuck in a job you hate. On those days- how can you be thankful?

Confession time- I just finished the worst month of feeling unhappy with my siblings that I think I have ever had in my entire life. And that includes when we were little. It seemed like everything they did got on my nerves. I would feel myself getting annoyed, and in an effort to not lose it I would say something quick and sharp. As I would say it, I would chide myself, "Way to go, Nikitah. You just got an F in Siblings Harmony class." I knew what I was saying, but I couldn't bring myself to stop that little comment from slipping out. I felt unhappy and ticked off all the time. There was nothing to be thankful for.

You know how you are going through something and it seems like suddenly everyone is talking/preaching/singing about your problem? Yeah, well, in case you didn't know: that's a God thing. A couple of weeks after the bad feelings started infiltrating my life, Dad preached on Striving To Enter Into God's Rest. Ok, well, maybe that didn't fit entirely what was going on, but it poked at me. And then Chip Ingram started a broadcast series on Overcoming Emotions That Destroy. During that series, I was still in denial, but things were really starting to prick. And then the most random message of all just burst the bubble- his message Don't Ask Why, Ask What in his Rebuilding Your Broken World series. What really got me in that message was the quote by Dr. Viktor Frankl:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
My attitude! Was there something wrong with it, honestly? Wasn't it just that people were doing things that they knew I didn't like? A little while later I read something on the True Woman's website where Erin Davis talked about how her family had a case of the grumps. She said she fixed it by praying this verse:
"You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound." -Psalm 4:7
Is it really that easy to change what you feel about your circumstances? Could just being thankful- and desiring joy- do the trick? I purposed to find out. First, I wrote down Psalm 4:7, Luke 16:10, James 1:12, 1:19, 3:6, and Ephesians 4:29. Underneath those, I wrote a little message for myself: "'Speak life' rather than 'speaking bitterness'." Next, I started forcing myself to write down every day ten things I am thankful for. And soon I was adding things I wasn't thankful for to that list. Just consciously making the effort to feel thankful for those things (or an aspect of those things) made a huge difference.

Now, am I totally out of the "doldrums" yet? Not entirely- and I suspect I will struggle with this my entire life.  Every day I have to go back to my verses and have to write a new list. Is it worth it? Yes, yes it is. I'm not snapping at the people I love.

So I encourage you- if you have something that is keeping you from feeling the joy that Christ died to give you, sit down. Write some verses that deal with your problem- because it probably won't be the same as mine. Write that list of ten things. And then keep going back to them.

I think you'll be glad you did.


  1. Attitude has a paramount importance in our daily lives. Ch. Swindoll used to say that ''Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...'' Sometimes, people will hurt us by what they do, just because they themselves are broken and hurt. But we should always think about God's grace and love and not let bitterness make a nest in our hearts. If we see things throgh God's eyes, we will see the good even in the worst times or situations, because we, as Christians, know that our Lord is in control. It is so good to be sensitive at His voice, and I am happy for you, that when you're going through a problem, seems that everything around tackles that subject. I've experienced that thing many times too. As human being, we have a proneness to failure, but this is why God wants us to be drawn closer to Him. P.S.: you're not the only one who sometimes gets annoyed by what siblings do. ;))I always TRY to take a deep breath before saying anything. :P

    1. Thanks for the advice! I am definitely doing better in the siblings aspect, but I still have to give my desires to God every day so that I have the right attitude. Unfortunately, our human nature is that of selfishness. But fortunately for us- we have a God that is bigger than us!

  2. Amen! Praise the Lord! You know, today I was thinking about prayer, and that it is said ''Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;knock and it will be open to you.'' Matthew 7:7. So, the key is asking God, in prayer, whatever we need, whatever we lack. And I was thinking about the men and women of prayer from all times. They were so God-addicted, and did so many wonderful things through their prayers, with God's help! Therefore, maybe we need more faith that God will do for us what we asked for, and by praying more, we could find the best way to react to come what may, and have the best attitude towards life's challenges :) I, personally, have many things to pray for. :"> Hope you don't mind too much I am commenting on your posts. :)

  3. glad to hear! ;))