Why I Continually Choose Gratefulness

Today’s blog post was inspired by a sermon my uncle gave this past Sunday. Remember, our thoughts shape our lives.  

Proverbs 4:23 Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.”

 

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After graduating from college, nearly three years ago, I found myself in a pattern that was really unusual for me. I would complain a lot. Nothing in life seemed to go as I would have liked. Ugh, why do my days start so early? Why don’t I get paid enough? There was always something wrong, even in the most ideal of circumstances. I started to complain more and more until my mom spoke to me. Do you realize how much you’ve been complaining? I was unaware. Do you realize how complaining hurt the Israelites? That too, I was unaware of.

Growing up in a Christian home, the story of Moses and the Israelites was one of the first stories I ever learned. Moses, an Israelite man, was chosen by God to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt into a promise land. Great idea, right? Except almost all of the original people who left Egypt never did actually make it to that promise land. On their journey from Egypt, after being given victory over Pharoh, the Israelites began to complain. Though they hated their lives in Egypt they began to say that their life was better before they left. They complained of the food God gave them and never trusted that God would provide enough for each day.

In my own personal life, like the Israelites, the complaining didn’t stop. It didn’t stop after my mom chastised me. But, luckily, despite my incessant complaints at the time, I consider myself a positive person. At my very core I hope and dream big dreams. I realize that the moments I choose gratefulness over criticism fill my life with such incredible joy as I look to everything God has given me, rather than what he has not.

I realize that gratefulness gives me hope and joy, while discontentment leads to sadness and pain in my own life.

We see what we expect to see.

 

 

There are some a couple reasons why gratefulness really works, why even research supports the idea that it works. Have you heard of the law of attraction? It sounds like a bunch of hippy love stories until you see it work in your own life. We attract the energy that we send out.

How many times do you see a Prius out on the road? Now that I’ve mentioned this, you’re likely to see them all over. When we focus on something, whether good or bad, we see it more and more.

We can practice contentment in living within God’s provisions for us 

 

 

I remember reading a book on personal finance and God entitled Free. The ideas were revolutionary to me. In a world that praises sacrificing everything in an effort to make more money, the book offers a countercultural idea. Buy that smaller more expensive house closer to work if that means you have more time with your family. Spend less so that you can work less and use your time differently as as you would like. And the biggest of all takeaways for me was the idea of living within the provision God has given me. For me that meant to stop trying to buy clothes and brands that I couldn’t afford and would leave my budget extremely tight. I could feel myself breathe a sigh of relief. I don’t need to buy that $500 wallet if that $50 one looks just as cute. Granted, you can choose the $500 one if you would like, but I realize that there was incredible freedom in living well within our own means. Keep in mind, for a person making millions of dollars, a $500 purse isn’t that expensive. I, on the other hand, don’t make that kind of money. 

So many times we can question the things God has given us. Why were we born into certain families or why are we from a certain country? Why were we inclined to work in a certain field and not another? Our bank accounts and salaries may change, but that doesn’t mean that our joy and contentment in whatever it is God has given us should change as well.  

Gratitude changes the way you think and even feel

 

 

We constantly build habits in our lives, both good and bad. Whichever habits were are used to become easier to repeat again and again. When we train our brains to think positively and to think gratefully we can in turn change how we feel.

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As a Special Education teacher I’ve learned a lot about de-escalating potentially volatile situations. We learn to nip problems in the bud. Cognitive behaviour therapy also follows a similar idea. Our thoughts can lead us to feel unnecessarily anxious or even depressed. In the midst of a spiral of negative thoughts, it’s hard to stop. But instead of allowing thoughts to escalate so fast, we can try to stop negative thinking right when we start to feel it beginning.

One of my favorite ways to practice gratitude is by using the ideas behind The Five Minute Journal. I try to stop and thank God for different things in my life, even things that may seem stupid. I affirm myself and think of what I long to accomplish for the day.

Thank you, whoever you are, for taking the time to read this blog post.

Thank you Lord for giving me fingers to type and a mind to think.

Praise God for another beautiful day.

Have you intentionally tried to practice gratitude in your day to day life?

 

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25 Days of Christmas (Day 24) Birthday Post!

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(Day 24) Susan Mathew, Happy Birthday Susan 🙂

Susan:  I like having my birthday on Christmas, people seem genuinely happier during this time of year.

Joel:  Really, you think so?

Susan:  Seeing other people happy makes me happy.

Joel:  Susan is a naturally happy person.

Dream Jobs

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Only nine percent of people have their dream jobs.  NINE percent, how crazy of a number is that?  I grew up in a Malayalee household, this means my parents are from Kerala, India.  I grew up being told to look for a job with stability.  Available options included becoming a doctor, nurse or engineer.  Anything else was simply inadequate.  I bit the bullet and told my parents I wanted to be a business major, they were not happy but they accepted my decision and even pay for my college.  I am incredibly grateful in this regard because I know so many people who are forced to study something they do not like.

With this being said, I’ve recently changed my major to Corporate Communications, a field I find myself incredibly excited to learn more and more about.  At the same time, I am constantly met by opposition.  The funny part is that this doesn’t even really come from my parents, but my friends who have chosen to take the traditional path for my culture.

One of my closest friends is studying Pharmacy in a six year program, something that is incredibly grueling and difficult to pursue.  She is currently in her sixth year and pushing forward.  Because of her major she knows that she doesn’t get that much free time during the week.  She knows that she doesn’t even have much time to spend with friends because she needs to study.  But the prospect of such amazing job security and stable income is enough to fuel her through the remaining four to five years of college that she has left.

Because she is a close friend of mine, we talk together about things like our majors.  And because she is a good friends, she tries to be honest with me.  The way she sees it, of course I should try to get a job I will like but I should find some sort of middle ground.  Meaning a job that I can see myself doing, maybe not loving, but a job that can give me a steady and secure source of income.  Student loans are no joke and four years is a long time to waste.

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The fact of the matter is that I know that money does’t in fact guarantee my happiness.  Just as the little info graphic above shows.  Right now I’d rather take the risk and try to get a job in a major that is incredibly competitive than give up on my dreams for the secure road.  If I was meant for the secure road I would have gone to medical school a long time ago and pushed myself to get through.  But I know that wouldn’t make me happy, in fact I believe it would make me feel miserable.

The thing is that God created me just as I am for a reason.  I am Nina.  I like certain things and dislike others.  The entire world of incredibly diverse and different people who are not all meant to doctors and engineers.  In fact some of them really are made to do that, and I am happy that they are passionate about helping people and building things.  But this mold is not a one size fits all kind of thing.

I might change the way I feel about this by the time I graduate but right now I refuse to major in something I do not love.  I want to take classes in which I take notes because I want to, not just because we have a final coming up.  I want to learn about things that will actually impact who I am as a person and who I want to be.  Majoring in Corporate Communications will do that for me.

Proverbs 4:23 (Good news translation)

I started using a website to help encourage me to read my bible daily.  It’s usually a tiny passage that takes barely 5 minutes to read an analyze and helps me stay on track day to day.  Baby steps right?

Anyway while reading today’s passage I can across one verse that caught my eye, Proverbs 4:23 which reads

” Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.”

I never read this particular verse in the translation and I was surprised by how powerful it was to me, and how true.  What do you think of on a daily basis?  No really what do you think of?  I remember hearing that you become a slave to what you think about the most.

The minute I read this verse I reevaluated everything I was doing.  I did this because our thoughts really do shape our lives and so many times its so easy to let these negative ideas pierce through our conscience and this changes us.  This changes the way we live our everyday lives.

Today I want you to think about something that you have been obsessing over.  Do these things deserve your time and do you want to be the type of person who thinks of those things?  If they don’t deserve your time, its time you change your mentality.  And if they do then you’re one step closer to be the type of person you want to be.

Day 26: Your Dream Wedding

I think most guys have heard that girls plan their wedding day from as far back as they have enough cognitive reasoning to think.  I’m not one of those girls.  So many times I’ve been tempted to let my mind imagine and delve into all the wonderful possibilities.  But I stop myself because I know that a wedding is just one day.  And that the marriage that comes from it is far more important.

However, there are some things I need in order to have my dream wedding, hopefully my demands aren’t crazy.

1.  God fearing man

I find it so funny how some girls will go on for hours about the location, colors and ambiance of their wedding and forget to marry someone good!  I remember telling one of my friends that I just wanted to marry someone completely in love with God.  She looked at me kinda weird and said that I should be careful of those guys, they may be a little crazy. But the way I see it, God is the center of my life.  He is my moral compass and my everything.  So why not marry someone who loves God as I do?

2.  Simplicity

I’ve always loved the colors red and white because it looks so classy and simple.  I wish I could have a small wedding but I have way to many relatives to ever wish to do that.  But I can keep things simple.

3.  Lace wedding dress

I don’t know what is about lace.  It just looks so refined and so classy.  I would of course need a sari too, but maybe a lace dress for the actual wedding itself would be nice.  And white looks really nice against my burnt chocolate complexion.

4.  People I love

I want to be around people who actually care about me and my well being.  People who smile and pictures and are actually really happy.  People I’m happy to spend my day with.  I promised my aunt I’d get married in India if she couldn’t come to America.  I want her there.

5. Prayers

I want to start off my married life draped in blessings!  Is that a little selfish?

 

Nina

A post I made about my internship.

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Please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Nina.  I am a blogger, a student and a marketing intern for “The Ticket’, the page you are reading right now is all about is.  In our earlier post you can learn more information about who exactly we are.  And in addition to this I am currently eighteen years old, and on the verge of being nineteen in a little less than two hours.

Although this may an odd thought to think my ride home from summer classes, I couldn’t help thinking, “What if I died right now.”  There’s something beautiful about it, just a day shy of nineteen.  But more than that I thought, “What am I doing of worth in my life?”  This was something we had spoken in detail about during our production meeting this past Tuesday, but it kept bothering.

Lately I have been feeling overwhelmed…

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Keep on waiting 41/365

Ouch.  Apparently my blogger views have FELL dramatically!  The internet REALLY does not wait for a blogger who chooses to be lazy.  I was checking my stats and I think I got 1 view today and around a month ago I was averaging around 70 views per day.  The deactivation of my Facebook will also take away a chance for me to market so I guess I need better tags!

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I kind of wanted to keep my age a secret to the whole internet world, FOR my safety of course.  But honestly I don’t think I can make my point without naming my age and you can pretty much guess how old I am from my posts.  PLUS the majority of my posts are viewed by people I know any who.

I just entered my S E N I O R   Y E A R of highschool!  I was pretty excited to enter a new chapter in my life but as soon as my day ended I saw something pretty disturbing written on pretty much EVERY status I saw.  Day 1 down __ days left, blehh first day only __ more, and on and on.

I remember waiting to enter 2nd grade and then 3rd and then 4th and then 5th and then 6th and then suddenly being in middle school and then suddenly being in HIGHSCHOOL and then I remember counting down the days until summer.  Wondering how long it would take me to reach the “fun part”, waiting for APS and SATS and every other thing to end.

I then realized that while I was waiting for all of these things to end I had missed out on truly enjoying the good things.  I thought about how during APs I had actually blogged the most with my friend and how during finals I would really confide in friends and laugh about how dumb finals were.

Point blank, if you rush through the bad things, you miss the good things.  This wasn’t a religious post but today, take it slow, think about everything you do and  ENJOY the small things.  I know I will.

This is ninarachel621 and maybe I’ll enjoy the countdown to 365 full posts a little bit more.