It starts when I lay in bed for the night. I don’t know what it is about elusive sleep, but I seem to get most of my revelations when I can’t sleep. I started going through the ongoing list I like to title “ME.”
No one does the laundry for me.
No one cooks me dinner.
No one takes care of me, I mean right?
Clearly I do everything. I remember to feed the dogs. I remember to book the appointments. I am the brains behind family vacations. I am the one who bakes for the group fundraiser. I am the one who makes plans for date night. Am I the only one who likes romance?
Me. Me. Me. What about me? What about me?
We live in a culture that is constantly telling us that we need to love ourselves, take care of ourselves. Keep ourselves first. While I believe that taking time for myself and putting some of my needs at the top of my priority list is important, because if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, but I struggle balancing this.
I tell myself I am neglected. I tell myself it’s someone else’s fault I lose my joy. I convince myself that others are responsible for my happiness and peace.
But if I am being brutally honest with myself. These are lies.
Joy is a choice. Happiness is a choice. A choice that says I trust you God with all my heart. The joy of the Lord is my strength. Not if my husband decides to cook dinner one night (although I”m not saying he shouldn’t ever do that, you know 😉 ).
I can’t look past the two greatest commandments Jesus gave his followers. I find I am at a constant battle with one of these commandments. A battle I am always fighting, with gloves held high. The commandments that say “Love the Lord with all your heart and soul” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
OK, God. I love you with all my heart and soul. Sure. No problem. At least it’s no problem today. It’s that “simple” second one that holds me up.
How do you love others but still feel like you aren’t running on empty?
Feeling like I am the one who is always doing everything makes it hard for me to sometimes love others as myself, particularly those close to me, like family members or my husband.
I want to be intentional in my life. Intentional in loving others. I want to be intentional in giving thanks for God’s love in my life. I want to be intentional in strengthening myself in the Lord. I want to choose the Lord to fill me up when I feel like I am running on empty. I want to make positive choices to try and prevent that feeling of being empty.
I want to be intentional while I am doing laundry.
I want to take the focus off of myself and focus on Him.
To help me stay focused on Him and the strength I get from Him, I plan to spend the next month being intentionally thankful each day. Taking my eyes off of me and looking to Him. Focusing on others. I’ve got this nifty little dry-erase board on my mirror in my bathroom where I brush my teeth. I have this here so each morning, as I get ready, I am reminded to start the day with gratitude.
What about you?
I challenge you to choose to be intentionally grateful each day this month. There is no time like the present. This isn’t about some rules to try and please God. This is about striving to trust God with your hurts or worries or maybe, just maybe, those feelings of feeling neglected, and bring peace and joy into your life.
I don’t know about you, but at the end of the day, I can easily convince myself out of anything because I am exhausted. I’d like to still reflect at the end of the day, but I also want to try and start my day with being grateful because I know I am more likely to have a refreshed mind then.
For you, maybe that means the drive to work. Maybe it’s during your lunch or a quick coffee break at the office. Maybe it’s during nap time for your littles. It doesn’t matter when it is! Think about a time that lends itself to you being able to be intentional.
As I was lying in bed, throwing myself a pity party, I heard Him. I hear him. I hear Him call my name. I hear Him say “Gloryanna, you are mine. You are doing that laundry for me. You are remembering and taking care of others for me.” He encourages me to focus on what I am grateful for in this life. That the constant renewal of my mind is a process that begins with thanksgiving. I think of how many times Jesus started to pray by giving thanks. How many times prophets and servants of God in the Bible began their missions, their letters, their prayers, with giving thanks.
Gratitude doesn’t leave room for the lies I tell myself.
Gratitude leaves room for Grace. And we all know we need that. We just have to accept it.
I know, I know. I’m jumping around a little bit here. But bear with me. Join me.
Join me in being intentional in gratitude and disarming the lies we tell ourselves. Join me in choosing to trust God each day with our fears, our angers, ur worries, and remember who He is and be grateful for what He has done and what He will do.
Prayer for Today:
Thank you, God for reminding me that I am walking this life to serve you and bring Glory to your Name. Thank you for wiping out the spirit of self-pity and replacing it with your love for me. By trusting you with my fears and anger, I am releasing them to you. Trusting that you will work it out.
What else can you thank God for today to start out on an attitude of gratitude?
(This post also appears on gloryannaboge.com.)