So, I have several coping mechanisms when things feel hard and overwhelming to me, as they do often. One is something that I started doing when I was living in Texas, working a job in a ministry that I didn't choose. I was an intern and I hated my job. It stretched me and I felt sorry for myself often, sad to say.
However, I KNEW that in order for me to be effective, I had to see the bigger picture, open up the view on my lens so to speak. SO, on the days when everything felt awful, I started to make a "thankful list". Here's how it works. You get a piece of paper and write everything down that you are thankful for, and you keep going till your heart feels better and blessed (because the TRUTH is, you are blessed).
I found one of my lists that other day and it made me laugh and smile. You'll be able to tell that I didn't totally have the concept down...there are little hints of bitterness. Here is part:
1. Praise the Lord I have a PC
2. Praise the Lord for all youth pastors (who are never in their offices)
3. Praise the Lord for Entice (our database program that was ALWAYS slow or down) and all the hard work people put into it and how much of a blessing it is to me.
4. Praise the Lord for WHITE (?? I have no idea)
5. Praise the Lord for food!
6. Praise the Lord I work in the US.
7. Praise the Lord for HIMSELF!
8. Praise the Lord for my freedom
9. Praise the Lord for a chair to sit on
10. Praise the Lord for pink wands (?? again, no idea)
etc, etc, etc....
I used to have entire stacks of thankful lists sitting around and taped to my cubicle wall.
The funny thing is, I still do it. Here's a list from a few weeks ago:
1. I hung out with my mom
2. We went shopping together
3. White Chocolate Mocha's!
4. the nice salesguy at Radioshack who let me use his internet at the mall
5. cute-hot trench coat spring jacket
6. new jewerly
7. cup of tea @ home
8. candles that flicker
9. seeing Sarah and Stacy
10. Soft pink pj pants
11. He is able
Sometimes I do it when I pray outloud...those are even funnier. I praise the Lord for oxygen, ugly carpet to walk on, lungs that breath properly, a pancreas that secrets insulin and digestive enzymes, a good immune system (because I'm not dead...just sick a lot), etc. You get the picture.
(okay, okay, so you can tell I'm a nurse!)
You get the picture. It's just what I do. It shifts the focus from "poor me" to "blessed and loved me". There is freedom in the truth and the truth is, I am saved, loved and VERY blessed in the Lord, even when I don't feel like I am.