I don’t know about you but when it comes to praying for my marriage and my spouse, sometimes the ones that leap out first are “improvement” kind of prayers.
By improvement prayers, I am talking about prayers that dwell on places where I want to see change.
The prayers are often cloaked in ‘thanksgiving’ – a prayer may go something like ‘thank you God because this and this area is turning to become this way and that….for the glory of your name‘ (that’s the short version)
I read and write and meditate on ways to be grateful, thankful and more appreciative in my marriage. I blog about it.
But ever so often, God steps in and reminds me to stop thinking and start being.
The other day, I was on “improvement-cloaked-in-thanksgiving” mode when I felt God ask “Instead of thinking and thanking me for the future, how about being thankful for now?”
I was taken aback.
But the short of it is that I wrote an email to my husband, expressing my appreciation, complete with a list of things that am grateful for about him.
Small but weighty
As I wrote the email however, I wondered about the importance or “weight” of what I was doing. I knew that I was doing right and my husband would love and appreciate the email.
But still, I just wondered if it would build him up much. I wondered if I was overdoing it, you know, overstating the obvious.
Sometimes doing right can become so routine and normal that we toy with the idea of skipping it all together.
We think the other person already knows or we worry about being ‘too much‘. And life keeps getting in the way anyway.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s the small things, added over time, which tend to matter the most. One big action is awesome but it tends to fade from memory.
But the smaller things, done consistently over a period of time somehow end up mattering the most.
Small words, repeated over time, take root somewhere deep within us. They influence the way we see ourselves and how we look at things and life.
They bubble up in difficult or discouraging times and become our fuel and strength, right when needed.
Intentional actions don’t always feel or look fruitful at the exact moment of doing them.
We do them because we know it’s the right thing to do.
We understand the power of repeated behavior, how it affirms and changes things.
How can you be more intentionally thankful today?
1. Stop ignoring today. It’s here, open your eyes to the moment. Appreciate it, even as you look at tomorrow
2. Cultivate contentment. Be content with what God has given you today, even as you trust Him for tomorrow.
3. Appreciate and value others. See the small things that they do right, even when they do ten other things wrong (in your eyes).
See them the way God sees them.
4. Have faith. Faith goes beyond being positive.
In his article Fear of the Unknown Platinum Leverage’s Lincoln Parks says,
“Many people think that chanting affirmations will take the fear away, or running around the block will do it for them. The fear usually comes from lack of Faith.”
5. Let go of pride and ego. Don’t be afraid to look silly.
6. Take action – Dr Gary Smalley, a relationship expert keeps an “Honor Journal” – a book where he lists the good qualities of wife, children and grand children.
“Sometimes when I feel frustrated with one of them, I read the Honor list rather than read them the riot act”
Do something – be thankful in action, not just thoughts.
Have you struggled with being thankful? How else can we be intentionally thankful? Please share in Comments below
Image courtesy of Angela Highfield
Post linked to Wifey Wednesday blog link up at tolovehonorandvacuum.com