Tuesday, January 29, 2013

28 Days of Thankfulness

In my last post 2013 A Year of Faith I wrote of the three things I wanted to commit to during 2013 (and hopefully the rest of my life). But there's also another area of my life I'd like to be better at and that is to be thankful in all circumstances good and bad.
There are often things going on in my life that I wish I could do without and as a result I waste my energy on complaining and being frustrated about it. Whilst there are things that warrant complaining and then reforming/changing, there are also things I can not control and therefore shouldn't let it consume me. I've come up with my own motto to help me along the way...

 'If I'm not happy, [seek God] change it and be happy. If I can't change it, stop complaining and find something to be thankful for'.

Throughout my life there have been things (big and small) I didn't like or enjoy and made me somewhat unhappy. My unhappiness can take such a hold of me that I forget the things that are going well in my life and, the blessings I should be thanking God for.
One thing that makes me frustrated is the Darwin wet season weather which isn't actually very wet at the moment but, is certainly very hot! So hot it drives me insane and there are days I want to scream! But, I can't change the weather so, I should instead channel my energy to something I can be thankful for. 
Another 'thing' that had me unhappy and in discomfort was our mattress. It was only a very basic and cheap mattress which was bought over 3 1/2 years ago and, for the most part an okay bed to sleep on. However, since being married and having 2 in the bed, being on my second pregnancy which has resulted in chronic back pain and, also a childhood injury that tends to flare up, this too would make me unhappy. A good night sleep is one of life's must haves! This 'unhappiness' in my life was something that I could change so we did. We bought a good comfy mattress and I sleep better as a result. There was no need to keep complaining if we could do something about it.
Although these examples may be small and petty things to some they have actually been issues in my life that make me not such a great person to be around. If I don't like something than I should change it and if I can't change it I should get over it and be thankful for the good things in life.

Having said all this I still want to pray and ask for Gods will and guidence before changing anything in my life, it's important to consult God in all things. The weather and a bed may not be big things or issues but moving house or changing jobs are. It's important to always seek out Gods will as sometimes he gives us challenges and trials to build our faith, contentment and character so, maybe there are times that the things we can change shouldn't be changed?!

For the coming month of February I have set myself a challenge to be consciously thankful for at least one thing each day - 28 days of thankfulness. On days when I'm feeling tested and frustrated I shall remember to divert my thoughts and energy to being happy about something. 
If you'd like to follow my challenge you can follow me on Instagram under essiefong. If you'd like to join the challenge using Instagram then be sure to tag #28daysofthankfulness. Challenge will commence Feb 1st.



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2013 A Year of Faith!

Like a lot of people when a year is coming to a close I often think of the things I might want to implement and/or achieve in the new year ahead. A lot of the time new years resolutions are great for the first month or two and then they slowly fall to the wayside for the remainder of the year. 
So, this time round I was cautious to not making too many demands on 2013 and have them hyped up only to be forgotten after a short while. But there were a few things I wanted to commit to this year, one being a commitment to read my Bible daily and the other was to pray more and to be faith driven.

BIBLE, read daily

I fail at this every year so, I tried to think of why it has failed in past years and to make it not fail this year! I've usually followed chronological reading plans but would then become bored of the theme or book. To fix this I decided that this year I would try the One Year Bible reading plan which consists of four readings (can't get bored with that), Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. I am loving it and I have been able to take something away from my readings each day. It's important to me that I open my heart, mind, soul, body and spirit to hear Gods voice each time I read His word. It's often too easy to just read with my eyes and think with my head, without being open to hearing what God is trying to show or teach me from his word. 

PRAY more

I have this thing with prayer where I only feel worthy enough to pray for forgiveness and to thank God for the things I already have. Even though I'm great at complaining and whinging about things, I know that I am blessed far beyond my needs and, only have to glance at the photo of our sponsor child on the fridge to be reminded. When it comes to prayer requests I feel I already have so much and, shouldn't bother God with things that I think I need especially when there may be others with greater needs. For example; why should I pray for God to provide us with a house when there are many who live in poverty and slum? I tend to think that if I want something then I should get it myself and shouldn't bother with asking for Gods help.
Well this year I am committing to taking all my needs and desires before God, both big and small! I also want to remember to pray diligently before making decisions. God may not always give me all the things I desire but I pray also for contentment and the desire for His will only. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

FAITH driven

This year in 2013 I am committing to trusting in God in everything and for anything! 
My need for faith kind of goes hand in hand with my need for more praying. I may not always feel deserving but God still wants me to have faith in all things. 
I have faith that in 2013 God will provide the safe delivery of baby #2. I have faith God will keep my husband in a good job. I have faith that our finances will allow me to continue as a stay at home mum. And I have faith that health will not prevent more children after baby #2. These are just a few things that cause worry but must be replaced with prayer and faith. Whatever Gods will, I will have faith and I will trust that He has it all under control! Faith, that God will get us through the good and the bad times.

For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” 
Matthew 17:20

“To learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.” ~ George Mueller