I haven’t been doing the Facebook “Today I’m thankful for” things as I knew there would be many days I wouldn’t have time to get on Facebook, but I was thinking about the story I wrote last week about the tick, and if I hadn’t written it in a hurry and had put more thought into it, I think I would have pointed out that the thing that kept coming to my mind as far as something working its way into your life and getting in deep, not wanting to let go, even to the point of breaking off part and making sure you still had a piece holding on is the seed of bitterness. Do you agree?
I had a friend once that I loved very much, but she truly sucked the very life out of me. I could only take her in extremely short doses. She was bitter about everything – and I do mean EVERYTHING. If her kids weren’t first starters, it was because the coach was against them; if her husband forgot something, it was because he never cared in the first place; if her mother needed something, she was just a burden and a drain; if her boss didn’t give her a raise, it was because he was having an affair with someone with less experience and talent than her……just typing this makes me want to run as fast as I can go. I still love my friend, do not spend much time with her, and honestly don’t even know if she has changed because when I think about “catching up” with her, I begin to feel this exhaustion of fighting against that bitterness.
Do you ever wonder if that’s you? Do you find yourself saying things like, “Well, that sounds like a good idea but….” Has anyone ever told you you’re a negative person? Honestly, to me that would be probably the worst thing someone could say to me. I don’t want to ever be that person, and I try very hard not to – am thankful if my husband points out to me, “You have had nothing but negative to say,” and I quickly realize that is not who I am, who I want to be, or who I am GOING to be, and I get my attitude adjusted! How do you do that, adjust an attitude that is negative?
I think the first step is to examine yourself for that root of bitterness – do you feel negative toward people, even just certain situations? Why do you? Has forgiveness been offered for old hurts, even if it hasn’t been asked for? We are in control of our minds, of our attitudes, of our reactions, and the devil would like nothing more than for us to be a hateful, spiteful, bitter group of people – why would he need to turn people against God if we do it for him? One of the things Tom tells me drew him to God was the fact that when I went through my divorce, I didn’t turn ugly, bitter. I had good reason to, Lord knows, and there were many wrongs that could have been counted up and held as weapons …..but who would have benefited from that? Certainly not me! Certainly not my children, and certainly not my ex-husband. I refuse to waste energy on hate, on holding grudges, on returning evil for evil. There is way too much to be thankful for!
Our family started the tradition several years ago of gathering in the living room after dinner and sharing what we have been most thankful for that year (or overall). My sister Kim is the one who started it, as she keeps a “Blessings” book all year long, writing down the big miracles and blessings as well as the small ones “Hit a deer and only the car was hurt, sun shone today in February and was able to be outside and soak it up” – I am so thankful for Kim’s leadership in this area, as it has blessed our entire family. No one will miss that special, intimate, sweet, sweet presence of thankfulness at Grandma’s on Thanksgiving. It lasts usually a couple hours, almost all of us are bawling by the end of it, and it is a reminder that the world does not revolve around us, but it revolves around God, His blessings, His presence in our lives. I would encourage you this week to begin that tradition in your own family – you will be amazed at how it will transform your holiday and your intimacy as a family.
If you feel you have a negative spirit, use this time – today and this week – to ask God to remove that spirit from you, to replace it with thankfulness and praise, something that lasts all year long, not just while we’re all posting what we’re thankful for – and ask your family to remind you of when you get negative and need an adjustment. And now my short list of things I am so thankful for:
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.