Hope Wissel, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Finding Joy

give thanks

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

Giving thanks in ALL circumstances is not always easy for me.  I can say the words but in my heart, I struggle with believing it.

Does that mean I should give thanks for:

  • Not having a full calendar.
  • Sales being off or down.
  • Not earning the Leadership Trip
  • Cancelled parties.
  • Hubby being less than 100% supportive of my business
  • Weight creeping up
  • Aching in my legs

Okay, so you get my point right?  In the past – before the Leadership Retreat – all of these things would have put me in a funk.  Negative Nellie and Doubtful Debbie would have surfaced and I would have stayed STUCK in that negative place.  I would have let fear take over and guide my path.  I would have settled for what was happening, accepting it as my fate.

When God asks me to “give thanks in all circumstances,” He means EVERYTHING. Even when it means my plans don’t pan out or my best efforts seem to go wrong, not just the things that are pretty and planned.

What I have actually learned is by giving thanks to God for each of these things, I am hearing a small voice inside giving me comfort and direction.  Wouldn’t I rather just stew a little while and enjoy a nice warm cup of self-pity?

Of course, I would.  God may have another plan for me that day or in that season.  What lessons have I learned over the few weeks as each of  these things have happened:

  • I am working my business as a business
  • I have become focused on the tasks to build my business
  • I am seeking new hostesses to book parties
  • I am not giving up and accepting the status quo
  • Each day is a new day – working towards shedding the few pounds & maintaining goal weight
  • I am diving into my Leadership Bible each morning to hear what God’s plan is
  • I am learning to communicate better with hubby about my business.  He needs facts not my “talking out” process

So, why am I sharing all of this, right?  Maybe you are grumbling too.  Maybe you have sharp tones for those around you.  Maybe you have angry words for someone who doesn’t agree with your plans.  Maybe you are impatient with your children.  Maybe YOUR plan is not working but rest assured that God’s plan is right on schedule.

All God asks of us is to do whatever task He gives with a thankful, rejoicing heart. Just as I parented my daughter, the Lord is in the process of parenting me.  And by trusting Him, I can face the unwelcome moments with joy and peace.  I trusted my parents, so why is it so hard for me to trust the God who gave me life?

By God’s grace, I let go of my plan. In the midst of circumstances I wouldn’t have chosen, choosing to give thanks has led to joy.  I often say the Serenity Prayer ending it with “Your will, not mine be done”.  I really just want my own will to be done. I want to loosen my grip on my plans and cling more tightly to God. What about you, will you join me?

 “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!