The Jack-O’Lanterns were hauled away in the trash truck this morning. Candy was dropped off at the Dentist office to be delivered to troops. Costumes were put away. Halloween is over. Most of the stores are in full fledge Christmas mode now. I’m mentally making my to do / buy list. I’m planning on ordering our Christmas cards this week (well, considering we’re at the end of this week already, maybe I’ll get it done by next weekend…).
But, I want to make sure that I don’t skip over Thanksgiving. Not that I would ever “skip” the Thanksgiving meal – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes – YUM! That’s my favorite meal of the year. But I mean the spirit of Thanksgiving. I want to make sure that I am really focused this month on being thankful… then hopefully the attitude will carry on through the remainder of the holiday season, and then next year, and then the year after.
You see, I’m ashamed to admit that thankfulness doesn’t come naturally to me. Complaining does. Back when I was working before I had kids, my department took personality tests to help us understand ourselves and each other better. I forget the terms they used and the name of the personality I had, but basically it said that I see what’s wrong with everything. The description stressed that it didn’t mean I was a negative person, but it meant that I looked at a situation and could see what was wrong with it. Oftentimes I could also see the solution – but not always. The description said that this personality was a very important one to have on a team because it tended to prevent and fix a lot of issues. But that it’s not always the most popular personality because people don’t usually want to hear what’s wrong.
When I read that description, I realized it was pretty accurate. I then became determined to “cultivate” my strengths: analyzing situations and preventing or fixing problems. But that I needed to “minimize” my weaknesses: tendency to be negative and complain, focusing on what is broken rather than on what is right, pointing out things that really don’t need to be pointed out, not being appreciative or thankful. And now, 12ish years later, these are still qualities of my personality that I’m very aware of and still pressing on in to be the woman God created me to be.
So as I see what’s “wrong” with everything around me, I’m trying to focus on being thankful for what’s “right” about it. So here are some of the things I’ve been complaining about lately – and what I’m trying to replace my thoughts with…
Choosing what to make for dinner… Thank you God that we have an abundance of food that I not only can feed my family, but I can choose what to give them.
Various issues at my boys’ school… Thank you God that my sons get to go to such a clean, safe school with intelligent, friendly teachers.
Cleaning, laundry, cleaning, laundry… Thank you for a home and for clothes to wear.
Political issues… Thank you that I live in a country with so many freedoms. Thank you that we do not live in fear of bombs and missiles and other combat weapons.
Church issues… Thank you God that I live in a country where I can freely worship you.
People… Thank you God that you forgive me when I mess up.
I don’t complain about you, my “readers” but I am thankful for you. I’m thankful for your encouragement to me, because like I said before this is more or less a glorified journal, but having readers helps to hold me accountable to focusing on areas in my life that are not perfect… because I have not already achieved perfection, but I press on!
P.S. I wrote about laundry, complaining and thankfulness before… I think that was a better post than this one – check it out by clicking here.
Also, along the same lines, here is a poem, author unknown, about thankfulness that I love:Be Thankful For: The mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends. The taxes I pay because it means that I’m employed. The clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat. My shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine. A lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home. All the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech. The space I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking. My huge heating bill because it means I am warm. The lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear. The piles of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear. Weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive. The alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I’m alive. Getting too much email bogs me down but at least I know I have friends who are thinking of me. Unknown