|Irene, delighted with and thankful for the sash of her new dress!|
About 15 years ago, I was on a women’s retreat at which we were asked to write down what we wanted our lives to look like in 5 years. Along with ambitious, pipe-dream goals which have not come to pass, I included this, which has not come to pass either, but to which I am closer, “I want to be full of joy, overflowing with thankfulness.”
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Three years ago, at Christmas, we were visiting my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law in New Zealand at Christmas. They were both depressed and exhausted, so we did all the shopping, cooking and washing up.
So we go to the grocery store, planning to buy duck which is what our family eats at Christmas, but was apparently not what Kiwis eat at Christmas. They apparently do not eat turkey either. So, another spanner in the works.
But then I looked around at all the amazing things they did have–crayfish, paua (abalone) and kumaras, chinese gooseberries, South Island wines–and lamb, lots of lamb, very cheap. It’s the country in which there are more sheep than people after all!
And it was one of those watershed moments. If I were ever going to be full of joy, overflowing with thanksgiving, well, I would just need to start practising right now. Start thanking God for my blessings, in that unfamiliar crowded Christmas Eve grocery store in Gisborne, New Zealand.
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“Full of joy, overflowing with thanksgiving”–that describes a very attractive person, doesn’t it? The sort of person you would love to spend time with, to be with.
And I guess we get to be that kind of person, arithmetically, by just counting one blessing after another.
We become people overflowing with joy and thankfulness by practising, by keeping on thanking God for his goodness, as revealed in our lives, and in creation.
For my new joy in walking, thank you, and for my increasing pace, and very slow and very steady weight loss, and for the very slow and very steady growth in my blog, thank you, and for the girls happily and quietly reading, thank you, Lord, and for being able to taste your goodness in the land of the living, thank you, Lord!
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While physical beauty, like intelligence, is given to us by God according to his plans for our life–the beauty of being a person “full of joy, overflowing with thankfulness” (Col. 2:9) is an equal opportunity thing.
As Jesus said, God sends his sun and rain on the good and evil alike, and gives good gifts open-handedly (though unevenly) to everyone.
So anyone, rich or poor, brilliant or so-so, healthy or infirm, naturally cheerful (as I am) or naturally low-key, can choose to count their blessings, to be thankful everyday for the goodness of God, nature, the world, and people, can become a person, full of joy, overflowing with thankfulness.
Like everything else, it just takes practice!