In my devotions one morning I read about giving thanks to God. Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has done,.” After I had read that verse, I had a new sense of what defined the word ‘worry’. Most often we think of worrying as something we do in our heads. But I started thinking that worrying could also roll over into the things we say and even how we pray! I even felt that complaining about something fell into the context of this verse. How can we thank God for everything if we are busy complaining about the very things we should be praising Him for?
Of course, this all sounded wonderful in my head at 4:30 that morning. So I decided that I would swear off complaining for the day. Every time I wanted to complain, I would just bow my head and praise the Lord. I asked God right then and there to help me focus more on praising Him and less on whining. This was when I learned a valuable lesson: be careful what you pray for. It turns out that if you ask God to teach you something, He will make sure that there are plenty of opportunities throughout your day to learn.
My opportunities began the second I arrived at work. (For those of you who don’t know, I was a chef at a little café.) That day was order day, and, although I was expecting a rather large order, I didn’t expect it to be where it was. Every box was in front of a refrigerator or freezer door. I couldn’t get into the walk-in or any of the coolers! I couldn’t even begin to open the restaurant until I put the entire order away! It was so frustrating. Lucky for me, it was still early enough that I remembered my early morning pact with God. So I said a prayer and thanked God that my order had arrived in a timely fashion. (It was the only thing I could think to be thankful for in that situation.)
The order got put away and the rest of the day passed without incident. Although I wasn’t perfect, I tried my best. I learned something about myself, though. I learned that my first response is usually a negative one. Even though I’m a pretty positive person, I found myself thinking negative thoughts in many situations. It’s just proof that the sin nature still has an influence in my life, even if it doesn’t have any power. All I can say is, “Thank you, God, for remaining faithful to me and bringing me to a better understanding of you and myself.” I will continue to pray every day that God will help me be grateful for all situations, knowing with full confidence that He can, and will, work everything out for good!