Monday, October 31, 2011

29 and Grateful

A year ago at Thanksgiving, I wrote a post detailing 28 things I am thankful for (28 after having just celebrated my 28th birthday). Yesterday, I turned 29, and I'm finding myself thinking about gratitude and blessings much more earlier than the holidays this year.

Last Sunday at church, my pastor spoke about giving thanks and how much a grateful attitude can change your overall health and mind when compared with one of pessimism. (The overall series is about maintaining hope amid all of the crazy things we see going on in our world every day.) And he charged us to write down three things we are thankful for each day. You can check out my daily rambles on my Twitter account (and you can follow along with the #betterdayschallenge as well), but here are a few things of note:
  • Heated air and water
  • The ability to fall asleep whenever/wherever (sometimes a problem, but mostly a blessing)
  • My roommate and sister and their built-in companionship and laughter outlet
  • A good job and coworkers I like
  • A family that has never made me feel lacking in love, support, or safety
  • Living in a town in which I can see a free show every night if I want to
  • Ear Plugs
  • Fantastic Friends
It is so easy to take the simple things for granted and get caught up wishing for more and ungrateful because, perhaps, life isn't following your path. That was yesterday's message at church: worry. And the most poignant thing that struck me was when Pete emphasized Jeremiah 29:11, a verse he says we misuse and sometimes manipulate to bring us comfort: "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." We often replace the "I" with "you," but like Pete said yesterday, it isn't "I know the plan YOU have for you..." and he challenged us to continue searching our hearts for gratitude and listing them daily.

So I've been doing this, and guess what - I'm feeling pretty good these days. And this is coming from someone who just turned 29 and am realizing that there isn't a part of my life that has turned out as I'd planned. A friend of mine just posted the following on facebook, and I had to steal it: "Looking for a cure for your depression? Try Appreciation. It's free and works great! Warning! Side effects may include: happiness and contentment. Do not use Appreciation if you enjoy being miserable." So you see - it's not just me. Join me in being grateful, won't you?

And on a side note, if my plans had all worked out the way I'd wanted them to, I wouldn't have this:

You see, with the exception of my sister, who doesn't have much choice in the matter, I probably wouldn't know these people in the picture, who gathered with me yesterday for a birthday picnic. I never anticipated the relationships that have been formed later in life and made such an impact on me. That I would meet these wonderful people after moving to Nashville who would change me and make me better. Nor did I expect for my sister to become my best friend. I love that doggie, too, but more on that later. So suffice it to say, I have a lot to be thankful for.

1 comment:

Christen Price said...

Happy birthday Lauren! Love the post :)