Isn't it amazing that it is so easy to focus on the negative? I am amazed at how easily I fall into the habit of focusing on all of the things I do NOT have - such as more money, more things (cars, cloths, jewelry), ability to travel, etc. When I focus on the things that I am missing, I generally end up comparing myself to others. I become envious of the many "things" that they have that I am lacking - sometimes it is money, sometimes it is a situation, and sometimes it is a relationship. This always leaves me feeling angry, sad, and hopeless. So why would ANYONE focus on what is lacking if it makes him or her feel so bad? I do not know the answer; however, I do know that many people, including myself, spend more time complaining than we spend praising.
As most of you know, I am NOT a fan of New Years Day. I think it is a fairly worthless holiday that leads people to make commitments and resolutions that they never keep. However, this year, I want to make a resolution that I will keep, and that I am convinced will have a positive impact on my life. I want to focus on the positive, happy things that are happening in my life - specifically, I want to focus on the rich blessings that God has poured upon me. When I focus on the blessings of my life, I am filled with joy, gratitude, and hope. Why would anyone chose to focus on anything else?
1. My husband - we will be married 10 years this year, and he is still my best friend. He makes me laugh, and he reminds me that it is ok to have fun. In fact, he shows me that God designed us to laugh and enjoy the beauty of life. He supports me, comforts me, and has enabled me to be the person that I am. He has given me a glimpse of what unconditional love should be - he has helped me feel the love of God.
2. My kids - they are the light of my life. They make me smile daily. Being a mother is the most challenging job I could ever have, but nothing in my life gives me the satisfaction that I get when my kids hug me and kiss me and tell me they love me. I am so proud of them, and I am so blessed and thankful that they are healthy, beautiful, wonderful kids.
3. My family - my mom and dad are the best. Of course they are not perfect, but they are beautiful, loving people. They loved me enough to give me the courage to try new things and be the best that I could be. They love me so much, and they have sacrificed to give me opportunities that they never dreamed of having. They have always believed in me, even when I did not believe in myself. They enabled me to have all that I have. My in laws also rock - my mother in law keeps my kids when I work. I never have to worry about the care that they are getting. I know that she loves them as much as me. My father in law adores my kids and is so good to us. My extended family - aunts and cousins, inlaws, etc. adore my kids and show generosity to my family that cannot be measured.
4. My friends - God has richly blessed me with friends all over the world. I have friends from high school that have loved me through many stages. I have Salem sisters that love and support me and are heart sick when I suffer. I have my legal gal pals and my guy friends from law school that understand the many challenges that lawyers face in our profession. My church is full of wonderful Christians that are willing to love me, despite my many, many shortcomings. I have friends at work that bring joy to my day. I have a spiritual mentor that listens to my ponderings and never judges me. I have friends that love my family and my kids as their own. I cannot begin to describe how rich my life is with friends.
5. My job - I prayed for years for a position that would allow me to support my family financially while giving me some flexibility to be with my kids. I have found that position, and I have been blessed with an outstanding, ethical boss.
6. My church - the Refinery, and now Main Street, have been powerful influences in my life. I've met so many people that are struggling to be the followers of Christ that I long to be. My church is filled with people that want to change the world and bring restoration to the brokenness of this world. These people seek to do this for unselfish reasons, and they seek to do this through serving others. I admire so many of these people and look forward to learning more from them in the future.
7. A big, big world - I am so thankful that God designed such a beautiful world full of mysteries to be explored. Nothing makes me happier than reading a new book, discovering a new piece of art, learning something new, or enjoying music that helps me feel a specific emotion. I love to travel and see the way that others live, and I love to explore nature - I can find God in the smallest tidal pool or on the top of the highest mountain. I am so thankful that God designed a beautiful big world that is full of things to learn and to explore. I hope that I never take this forgranted.
8. I am thankful for my faith. I am thankful for the hope that I have in Christ. I am thankful for a God that gave me free will to seek him. I am thankful for a God that allows me to work out my faith. I am thankful that God gives me the privilege of serving him by serving others, and that I can be a small part of his purpose for the world. I am thankful to live in a country and be surrounded by people that allow me to ask the difficult questions.
I wish you all a blessed 2008. I hope that 2008 will be a time of joy - a time that you and I can focus on the many blessings that have been poured upon us.