What bliss! I can’t help but smile along with this baby.
Imagine waking up to an adorable sight like this. Doesn’t it warm your heart and set you off to a good start? How I wish all days were like this. With everything that’s happening now, we need a lot of moments like that. Somehow, we can all feel the squeeze economically, politically, socially, and even physically. Never before have we been told to avoid gatherings and physical contact with each other. For many, this has been most difficult as we are social beings after all.
Kvetch or try this
There is a verse in the Bible that has been popping in my mind since the onset of the pandemic, “in everything give thanks.” It is a simple phrase but feels like a tall order because it is challenging to be thankful while in a crisis. Kvetching or complaining, on the other hand, is effortless when we are constantly bombarded by negative news, commentaries, and images across all media. Even songs with positive lyrics are hard to come by these days.
I thought about things I should be thankful for in general like family, shelter, provision, protection, life, God, community, government, etc. Before long, I was saying these things out loud, and it made me feel different. Hearing all the things I was thankful for made me grateful about the things I take for granted: gadgets, the A/C, food in the fridge and pantry, clothes, our dogs, vegetables in the garden, beautiful weather, my mountain bike (gets me around nowadays), etc. I even started thanking God for the maya birds that keep getting to our tomatoes and guavas before I can harvest them. Their chirping refresh us every morning and afternoon. I was like a child again thanking God for every little thing, and just like that the world felt like a better place.
It’s amazing how having an attitude of thankfulness can totally change our outlook and inner well-being.
First Thessalonians 5:18, reads, "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." God wants us to give thanks. Surprisingly, in obeying this simple command we'll find a comforting assurance during uncertain times.
Use the mute button
Our vegetable garden if left unattended can be overrun with weeds. I spend a few minutes every day pulling out those little green stinkers and yet new ones sprout in another section of the garden. In a similar way, we can be choked by negative news, images, comments, and music if we allow them into our life. By constantly pushing the mute button to anything (including people) which is causing us to stress out or get worked up, we are guarding ourselves from unnecessary anxiety.
We are encouraged to fix our "thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8, TLV)." What we allow in our hearts and minds directly and indirectly impacts our lives. Our choices can spell the difference between peace of mind or restlessness. What we focus on shape our mood, perspective, and predisposition in life. If we're not careful, "weeds" can snuff out our joy and rob us of an abundant life.
One of my favorite songs is Bill Wither’s Lovely Day. I'd like to personalize the lyrics below - capitalization of some words are mine:
When I wake up in the morning, Love
And the sunlight hurts my eyes
And something without warning, Love
Bears heavy on my mind
Then I look at You
And the world's alright with me
Just one look at You
And I know it's gonna be
A lovely day
When we start the day by looking to God and giving thanks, we’ll be reminded of His love, goodness, and faithfulness. That is the key to having lovely days ahead.