Jen’s Gem: In all seasons, give thanks.
As I look outside my window, I see the colors of fall starting to emerge. Yellows, oranges, reds, and even remnants of green from the leaves that are not ready to let go of summer. Like me, they are hanging on to it for as long as possible.
I don’t dislike autumn. It has its good points. But the season that follows – winter? Not my fav. I much prefer the warm, carefree days of spring and summer over the darker, colder days of the winter months. I already feel my mood dipping as dinner time rolls around and the sun begins to set, leaving only minutes of sunlight left.
There is one positive thing about this coming winter and that is, given that I am now in a condo, I won’t have to shovel the snow, rake leaves, or pull up the summer flowers. Those tasks are now being done by a landscaping company and I’m very happy about that!
Silver linings. It’s important for us to find these glimpses of joy no matter the season. Study after study has proven that being grateful enhances both our physical and mental health so it behooves us to seek out even the tiniest of positivities amidst the challenges and give thanks.
The Bible instructs us to be grateful. We are to “count it all joy” (James 1:2) and “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) It’s crystal clear that God likes “glass half full” people. He is not a fan of whining and complaining as it says in Philippians 2:14 – “Do all things without complaining and disputing.”
I could spend the next six months whining about winter and what will it get me? Absolutely nothing. It won’t speed up time and bring about an extra-early spring. It won’t raise the temperature or prevent the snow from falling. What will it do? It’ll steal my joy and likely the joy of everyone around me who’s within earshot.
“When you complain, you remain.” A trite phrase, yet so true. If we look around, we could find oodles of things to complain about. However, there are boundless reasons to celebrate. Got your health? Better do the happy dance. Are you working? Do a bigger happy dance. Is your family safe? Jump for joy. Is there food and water and paper towels and toilet paper in your cupboards? Well… you know what to do!
In these trying times, it would serve us all well to count our blessings because I’m willing to bet we have much more than we think. However, if we spend our time focusing on what we don’t have, that’s a recipe for a long winter.
Growing up I was not a naturally happy person. My siblings will tell you that I cried a lot. Maybe it was those crazy pre-teen and teenage hormones messing with me or perhaps there were other causes. I’m not sure. Today, most people would describe me as positive and funny (well, not my kids!), despite those pesky middle-age hormones that threaten to steal my joy.
One of my first Bible College papers was on the verse in John 10:10 –
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
The “thief” here is referring to Satan. The “I” is Jesus. In a nutshell, Satan wants you miserable. Jesus wants you joyful. (Click to Tweet) So when you’re complaining and depressed, Satan does the happy dance. When you’re grateful, happy, and laughing, God does the happy dance.
The question for all of us is – Who do we want dancing for us?
You see, the more Satan can steal our joy, the happier he is. He does not want God’s kids to be happy. He wants us sad, divided, full of hate, and anger. When we’re in that state, we won’t see the blessings and miracles God has given us.
On the flip side, when we are praising God and being thankful for all He’s done, we can see the ba-zillion blessings He’s provided for us to have an abundant life, including and most importantly, His Son Jesus.
I have learned that every day that God chooses to wake me up is a good day because it is the “day the Lord has made.” If God woke you up this morning, He has a purpose and a plan for you. Possibly even a miracle!
Now that’s something to be grateful for no matter what season you’re in.