“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
― Abraham Lincoln
“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His
love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”
― Thomas Merton
I have tried to make the choice to be happy most of my life. I’m still a work in progress. It’s not that my life has been so terrible, it hasn’t. I grew up knowing that my mama and daddy loved me and my four older siblings. They always provided for us. As a matter of fact, I was an “ungrateful, selfish, spoiled” child. My daddy and oldest sister get the credit for spoiling me. I take the credit for being ungrateful and selfish.
I think I began to be ungrateful and unhappy when, as a child, I began to compare myself to other children. I was never thin enough. I wasn’t pretty enough. My hair wasn’t long enough. My skin wasn’t light enough. I was taller than most of the other children, so I wasn’t short enough. The list of complaints goes on and on.
I was depressed and even considered committing suicide several times during my teenage years. I never actually tried to kill myself. I was too afraid that I would botch up the job and be maimed or a vegetable for the rest of my life. I never thought I would live past the age of eighteen. God has brought me a long way.
It hasn’t been an easy job loving and accepting myself. Being grateful and happy has not been easy. Some days are better than others. The good news is: My grateful and happy days outweigh my ungrateful and unhappy days. The gap is getting smaller and smaller. I plan to spend the rest of my life finding things to be grateful and happy for.
I greet the day with gratefulness. I choose to have an attitude of gratitude. When my eyes open in the morning, I thank My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I make positive declarations. I declare, “I am blessed when I go out and when I come back in. Today is a gift from God. It’s wonderful to be alive another day to glorify and honor Him. Nothing is going to happen to me today that God can’t handle. I am grateful for all that I have had, for all that I have now, and for all that I will have in the future. I choose to be grateful and happy.”
I cannot control negative situations that I encounter during my lifetime. I can control my reactions to them. I was on my way to work in August of 2013. I went through the green light. A driver didn’t stop at her red light and ran into my car. Thank God, no one was hurt. My car was totaled. I had owned that Mustang for 13 years. I had no car payments, the insurance wasn’t high, and the yearly taxes weren’t high.
I made a choice on that day, not to act crazy. I made a choice to be grateful. I could have died. Someone else could have died. The situation could have been so much worse. I was also grateful that the accident wasn’t my fault and that the other driver had insurance.
I went to the car dealership and signed the papers to purchase a new 2013 car. I had not had that car a month, when it just completely died on me. It had to be towed. The dealership informed me that it needed a new battery. That didn’t sound right. Why would a new car need a battery so soon? I got the car back. Thank God for warranties. The story keeps getting better and better.
I was laid off my job of eleven years, October 31, 2013. I loved that job and thought I would retire from there. There I was with no job and car payments to be made. This was not a happy time for me. It wasn’t easy for me to be grateful nor happy. As I write this post, I am still unemployed. That brand new car has died and been towed three more times. The car company informed me that they will buy back the car. I have never gone through a buy back process, so I don’t know how it will work.
I am not feeling sorry for myself. I am not asking, “Why are all of these bad things happening to me?” It hurt to lose my job. I shed some tears. I am not super woman. I am grateful for the years that I had the job. Not everyone has been blessed to have a job that they actually love to go to.
I don’t like being at home. I can’t shop like I want to. I can’t do things like I used to. I enjoyed getting out of the house, dressing up, and wearing heels to work. This is not the route that I would have chosen for myself. I believe that God has something better in store for me. Throughout this process, I think I have gotten closer to God while choosing to be grateful and happy.
We can choose to find something to be grateful and happy for in every situation. One size doesn’t fit all for happiness. Here are 6 more things that I tell myself or do to help me stay grateful and happy:
1.) I affirm that trouble doesn’t last always.
2.) I affirm that my situation could change for the better before I go to bed tonight.
3.) I remind myself that everything has a beginning and an ending.
4.) I change the words to the song, If You’re Happy and You Know It to: I’m happy and I
5.) I quote and meditate scripture from the Bible.
6.) I remind myself that Jesus loves me and because He loves me, everything is working
together for my good.
What will you say or do to help you be grateful and happy today?