I hate waiting. It’s one of my weaknesses. Over the past few years I’ve really tried hard not to get upset when I have to wait in traffic, wait in a food line, wait at the doctor. Long lines in the grocery store are the worst!
A few years back I heard a pastor talk about the children of Israel and their constant ‘murmuring’ when they left Egypt. When I read those passages, I find the people so annoying. I mean, God was taking care of them, giving them a new life, and all they did was complain! Where was the gratitude for all He’d just done for them?
Then I took an honest look at myself and realized I tended to be a complainer, too. I grew irritated and focused on the negative way too often. To get rid of this bad attitude and stop complaining, I had to focus on what I was thankful for. At a church ladies’ retreat, we started a ‘Thankful List” and I was amazed that I was able to make it past 100 items! I started catching myself before the complaints slipped out and began to practice speaking words of thanks.
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of gratitude is “a feeling of appreciation or thanks”. Because God taught me to redirect my energy, I don’t get impatient quite as often when I’m forced to wait for something. I don’t gripe as often when others don’t see things my way, and I don’t get angry as often when life’s complications arise.
Sometimes when we’re overwhelmed by our feelings, it’s hard to focus on what we appreciate, which is why it’s so important to make it a habit. Many studies have shown the health benefits of living a life of thankfulness, and I’ve felt it for myself.
Next time you feel the urge to get irritated and complain about something, choose to speak a blessing instead. What are you thankful for?