Giving Thanks in the Midst of Bitterness

I admit that I'm more bitter today than I am thankful. I'm bitter that my wife has to work tomorrow so that we don't get to have Thanksgiving together. I'm bitter that God hasn't opened a door for her yet into her field, but that instead she's having to work through another menial job. I'm bitter that it doesn't pay enough to live on. I'm bitter that we've been whittling away at our savings again (it seems every time we get a little saved up something happens where we have to use it) to pay bills instead of paying off more of the mortgage. I'm frustrated I haven't been able to do more to help out. I'm bitter that she has to work irregular shifts instead of having regular hours so we can have a more scheduled life or so I could do some part-time work.

Yet, I am not without reason to give thanks. I have much for which to be grateful. Unfortunately, I don't do it enough. One day is not enough. Every day is not even enough. Thanksgiving must be more of a state of being--something we are all the time.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, thanking God is the surest way for an attitude change ("gratitude evaporates frustration"). We incorporate giving thanks into our prayer time with the boys each night. When they're having a bad attitude (greedy, selfish, etc.), we often have them name a few things they are thankful for.

And so I am thankful that my wife has found a place to work, and that for the most part it's been a healthy place. I'm thankful that God provided us with a house with payments cheaper than our rent. I'm thankful that we were able to receive a tax credit on the house so we can pay the bills right now. I'm thankful that I get time with my kids (and my niece and nephew). I'm thankful for a wonderful family, for an amazing wife and for kids who bring a smile to my face. I'm thankful for these things and so much more. And I'm feeling better already.

So, with this post I remind myself that I need to "give thanks in all circumstances." When I'm feeling down, frustrated, bitter or angry, I need to also take time to focus on what I have to be thankful for--but not just then. I'm working on cultivating a lifestyle of thanksgiving. It also helps me hold onto things more loosely, remembering that what I have is God's and that He gives me opportunities to bless others with it as well.

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