This evening I met my friend, a young girl I’ve been meeting with for years now. She started off our telling me all the crazy things that has been happening in her life since we last talked, and there’s usually a lot, particularly since we don’t get to see each other all that often these days. Before she could get far, I stopped her and said, “instead of starting how we normally do, with you telling me all the negative and terrible things that have happened lately, how about we start differently, and start with some good things, some things you are thankful for?” She proceeded to explain that she didn’t have anything happening in her life right now to be thankful for, that it was just all negative and there was no good. I reminded her that there are people in the world who are a lot worse off than she is right now, and that I could already name a whole list of things just from what she had shared already that she has to be thankful for. She still continued to insist she really couldn’t think of anything. This went on for a few minutes, and eventually discouraged because I was seeing we were getting nowhere, I changed the subject. As the night progressed though she actually said a few times “you know I guess that is something I am thankful for” in response to some story, a glimpse of something positive in her life. This might not seem like much, but I was really encouraged!
It’s amazing how focusing on the positive and not the negative can change your perspective, even if the negative seems to far outweigh the positive. It might start with just a few tiny things amidst a tone of overwhelming issues and struggles. And it may not actually mean that your life changes much or the struggles go away, but by consistently thinking about the things you can be thankful for, over that which is difficult and we are not thankful for, our attitude starts to change, and then our whole perspective on our life changes, and we can start to go through life looking at the glass half full. So instead of wondering when life is going to get better, and wallowing in our misery, we can wake up every day and thank God for giving us breath, for our relationships, for the friendly man at the toll booth, and we start to celebrate what we have instead of complain about what we don’t have. “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever,” Ps. 107:1