Gratefulness are you tired of reading about it yet?  I am/was.  It seems that every time I look at Facebook someone is posting about their gratefulness project or what they are grateful for.  It sounds so cliché to me.  Practicing gratefulness seems almost fake and just too forced to actually provide any real benefits.

I think it is because I am a half full kind of girl.  I have a lot of hope and faith in the overall positive outcome of things.  Consequently, I think of myself as a grateful and generally happy person.  But you know, gratefulness and optimism are not the same thing.  And as I go to close out 2014, I think I just might need I to work on my gratefulness.

I guess it is human nature to think the grass is greener on the other side.  Even though I know this is not the case, I still find myself looking at my life and lamenting certain things and wishing they were different.

Recently one of my friends has been going through a bit of a rough time and she said to me, “I wish I could just be happy all the time like you are.  You are always so happy.”  Ummmmm, no I am not.  While I am glad that I am not a downer to be around, it is also worth admitting that things are not always what they seem from the outside.  I think people see my beautiful family, my generally optimistic attitude, and our really cool business and they imagine our life rolling along like an episode of Leave it to Beaver.

In case you were wondering, our life is so far from that, I don’t even have time to write about all of it.

My kids ARE awesome, but occasionally (ok maybe more than occasionally) they don’t do exactly what I would like for them to do AND they do that all day L-O-N-G……AND at the end of the night postal mommy emerges.  I’m not going to describe postal mommy, because it is embarrassing, but let’s just say she has zero patience and it is not a “happy” mommy that I would want others to see.

My husband IS awesome, but occasionally (ok more than occasionally), we are just like every other couple and we don’t communicate and we get angry at one another and we wonder what we were thinking when we got married.  AND….there are certainly times when we have to dig really deep to work things out.  There are times when we choose to stay together because love is a choice and not so much a feeling.

Our business, IS really cool.  But it is hard, really, really hard.  Anyone working retail right now knows that customers don’t just come in because you have a good store now.  There are lots of other good stores right at your fingertips and around the corner that will sell the same items at prices we cannot compete against.  Then there are the events.  If you haven’t noticed everyone is putting on events now.  And, as soon as we put on a successful one, someone else decides to put on another one the weekend before it.  Plus, race entries are unpredictable.  One year you might have 1000 people sign up and then the next year only 800, for no apparent reason.

Soooooo, I find myself occasionally (ok maybe more than occasionally) lamenting the circumstances I am in.  Isn’t it funny how the negatives of something, even if they are really small, seem to outweigh  the positives?  If we get 100 positive comments about an event and one really negative comment, we will dwell on that negative one forever.  We know we shouldn’t but we almost can’t help it!  At times, it is almost impossible to get it out of our heads, while all the good comments, all those 100, just kind of fade into the distance.

Aren’t our lives that way too.  Sometimes all the good is overlooked because of the hard stuff.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances.  As cliché as this is, I can look back on hard things in my life and know that they were for my good and that I learned from them.  Maybe my kids trying my patience all day, is a lesson for me in patience?  Maybe my relationship with my husband is designed to help me realize what true commitment is not only with him but with my church and with the body of Christ in general.  My sweet hubby isn’t perfect, nor am I, nor is anyone else or my church.  But that doesn’t mean I should quit those things when we face trials together.

Our business certainly isn’t perfect either and I have no idea why it has to be so challenging, because the good Lord knows we work really hard.  But, I do know that I should be thankful that we have gainful employment and that we have the rare opportunity to create something that is our own, to work with a team of people that are awesome, and to do something that we not only believe in but really love.

My thinking is often futile.  It turns from being thankful to poor, poor pitiful me, right in the face of so many blessings.

So today, as 2014 draws to a close, I will reflect on and be thankful for the blessings from 2014 even giving thanks for the hard parts knowing that God can use all things for good.

What are some things you are grateful for from 2014?

Here’s some of my list:  My faith and redemption in Jesus, my kids and my husband, mom, dad and crazy brother AND his new girlfriend, the new sunrise every day, really close friends who love me like a sister, our health, the opportunity to run and use my body in a variety of ways, my church, quiet mornings when my kids sleep in (like today), freedom, books (I LOVE books!), stay-at-home days, the 4 seasons, the opportunity I had to run a marathon AND enjoy it this year, all the times our family has arrived safely at their destination, my children’s school that teaches them about reading and colors and numbers, but most importantly, the Bible and character, for humility, the honor of leading my running groups…..this might take all day.  Your turn.  Go!

 

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