1 Thessalonians 5: 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
I recently attended a speaking engagement where the leader opened with something she had read on a Facebook post from a young mom. She entitled it: “10 Things I can be Grateful for”. As an example, she included: “Early wakeups, because it means I have children to love”; “A house to clean, because it means I have a safe place to live”; and “Toilets to clean, because it means we have indoor plumbing”.
While I’m in a different place in my life than this young mom, it didn’t take me long to catch on to her message and then quickly turn to the areas in my life where I had been grumbling. “Too much work” or “too many people counting on me”, can quickly be turned around to: “I’m blessed with a job”, and “I’m blessed that God has entrusted me with His precious children”.
An athlete’s life is filled with difficulties and challenges. The average person wouldn’t understand, but if you have either competed yourself, coached, parented or befriended serious athletes you will have experienced or seen the struggles up close. Whether it is the pain that comes from poor performance, or not achieving your goals, or the literal pain that comes from injuries, there is much that an athlete can become down about and even complain about. But what if we learn a lesson from the young mom’s post? Whatever you may be down about, or even grumbling about today, can you turn it on its head?
That poor competition or poor performance in a game becomes: “thank-you Lord that I am able to compete doing what I love”. That team you did not make becomes: “thank-you Lord for removing me from a situation you did not want me to be in” or perhaps “thank you Lord for bringing trials into my life so that I may grow stronger and fight even harder”. And those injuries become: “thank-you Lord for bringing perspective into my life of what is truly important”, or “thank-you Lord for the awesome, complex body you created which breaks down to identify overuse or misuse of my body”.
The apostle Paul had learned the art of turning hardship upside down. If you’re ever feeling hard done by, take a quick read in 2 Corinthians 11:16 -12:10. Listen to Paul’s story; a man who was flogged with whips five times, beaten with rods three times, shipwrecked three times…. the list goes on. And for what reason did he go through this? Because he chose to be obedient to God and preached the Word. Surely Paul had reason to grumble, but instead he says: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
What have you been grumbling about? Spend some time in prayer and meditation and determine how each complaint can be turned on its heads and turned into praise and thankfulness. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).