The time when I’m making dinner can be a vulnerable time for me, thought-wise. It’s often the first time after the events of the day where I am somewhat alone—the kids usually play and it’s just me and my thoughts while I cook. Often the activities of the day have left me somewhat tired and instead of having time to process the day I’m doing more work. Now, I love to cook, but this just seems to be a time where I’m able to be in my head, and that’s not always good.
Last night I got to thinking about Mary and how much I will miss her. And there was that jolt of “I can’t believe she’s gone,” which is so often followed by what seems like an almost electrical jolt of sadness to my system. It is the kind of thing that can sometimes be a diving board straight into despair.
But last night, just as I had that thought, it was hijacked by this most wonderful realization: “I am so thankful I got to know her.” Now, Mary knew a lot of people. A LOT. And because she loved people in general and because she wanted to serve God and them, I’d say she knew well many more people than most folks do. But in the grand scheme of the world, there are so many more people who didn’t get to know her. BUT I DID. And I am just so thankful that God allowed me some time with her. And it gave me a totally different perspective on what to think about during the many times she will be crossing my mind. “I miss her, but thank you, Lord, for letting me know her even just a little bit. I won’t waste that gift.”
I like to think I’m a pretty grateful person, but this was revelatory for me. For the rest of the night, I decided to consciously practice gratitude, just to see what other thoughts I could turn on their head.
I was making Breakfast-for-Dinner (yeah!), which involves my grandmother’s recipe for biscuits from scratch. I am pretty committed to cooking real food, but I gotta tell ya, cooking without convenience foods can be pretty…inconvenient. And while Breakfast-for-Dinner is pretty much the best thing in the world, I found myself looking at the bowl of flour and thinking of cleaning up bacon grease and cutting up watermelon. I felt a sigh coming on.
And then…”I’m so thankful I get to do this.” I’m so thankful I have the means to do this. That I have a husband who supports us willingly so I can have the time to do it. That he even has a job. That we have two little girls who clamor for the biscuit dough and help set the table. And on and on till the biscuits were in the oven and we were ready to eat and truly offer thanks for dinner. Grateful. I won’t waste that gift.
The other experiment came when I checked Facebook. One of the first things that came up was a picture of some people I know, having fun together. I hadn’t been invited. This is nothing new, and I don’t invite everyone I know to everything I do, nor do any of us have time to attend every gathering of every person we know every time they happen. And yet, I started to feel that feeling. Perhaps you know it? It’s the “Oh thanks Facebook for letting me know that other people are having fun together while I’m just here hanging out in my frumpy clothes with my phone” feeling. I hate discontentedness, and yet I could feel it coming on.
And then… I hijacked the thought. “I’m so thankful they got to be together.” And I meant it, too. Perhaps it was just what they needed at that time. It was certainly a group that doesn’t get to be together often. I know how that feels and it is so good! I’m thankful that they were together, and that they got to get closer. Those are all good things and frankly, how self-centered of me to be even remotely jealous. I have good times, too—a lot of them. There are times where the reality is, I am thankful not to be asked to do more things because I tend to over-commit and then get stressed out. I’m truly thankful for all of it. And I won’t waste that gift.
I intend to practice intentional gratitude again today. But going beyond gratitude, I intend to hijack as many negative thoughts as I can. We are in a war against Satan, who wants to steal our joy at every turn. This is a weapon against discontentedness and so many other joy-stealers that we are free to use, and it’s a powerful one. Strongholds: I am coming for you today.
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Encouragement Spoken Here
"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." Proverbs 25:11