“Thinking about and giving thanks for what you want produces more of it. While thinking and complaining about what you don’t want produces more of it.”
Life for Josie Robinson was looking up. Emotionally she felt better. Her relationships were improving. There was still one area that ‘desperately needed improving’ thought Robinson. Money needed fixing NOW.
There was a perpetual knot in Robinson’s stomach due to financial stress. As the CEO of the household, she was doing everything she could to cut the budget. Some of the cuts included cable television, eating out, buying new clothes (second-hand only), and wearing sweaters and covering with blankets in the colder months to save on energy cost (the family lived in Minnesota and the winters were brutal).
No matter what she did, the family would come up short every month. At the time, the country was in the middle of a recession. The couple even considered walking away from the mortgage payment until they found out their monthly payment was lower than any of the rentals in the tri-cities.
Robinson couldn’t tell you the number of times she looked at the grocery budget trying to find ways to spend less. She finally resolved to let go of meat and cheese. She would get out her cookbooks and try to create as many dishes as she could out of potatoes and pasta. No one complained.
As a part-time school counselor, Robinson’s hours had been cut to one day a week. The savings had been depleted and it became clear that she was going to have to look for another part-time job. The family couldn’t afford for Robinson to work full time because the cost of daycare was outrageous in Minnesota. Sean’s mom, Robinson’s husband, made herself available for part-time babysitting as opposed to having the children go to daycare.
The more she applied for jobs, the more she was turned away. The family needed money NOW. Giving thanks and faithfully committing to the gratitude jar concept helped improve Robinson’s anxiety, however, because of the financial stress, it was starting to kick in again.
Robinson and Lucas (her four year old) were in the middle of the 30 days of gratitude. She decided that it was time to quit complaining and start showing gratitude. As she and Lucas sat down to share, Robinson said, “I’m thankful both your daddy and I have jobs. It gives us money for the house, food, and clothes..” Typically, Robinson was really negative about money and her job. She said it felt weird to give thanks for these things.
The gratitude statements continued. “I’m thankful for having jobs that help kids feel better and do better.” Sean was a teacher and Robinson a school counselor. Lucas chimed in, “I’m thankful because I’m a nice kid and being a nice kid I can help people too.”
It was time to turn that frown upside down. Time to turn it around and make negatives into positives. Instead of thinking there’s not enough money to buy groceries, she started being thankful for the skills she learned from being frugal, growing her own vegetables, and making her own products. The thing Robinson realized is that she was having these thoughts all day long. It seemed like every five minutes she was having to turn a negative into a positive.
Day 22 of the gratitude jar. Both she and Lucas sat in silence for a minute to think of ‘thankful things’ as Lucas called it. Lucas started, “I’m thankful for doors. You get to go in places. Some places are in my house.” Robinson said, “I’m thankful that we’re all healthy.”
As a few weeks passed, turning negatives into positives helped to relieve Robinson’s anxiety even more. While attending a school staff meeting, Robinson had a gratitude explosion. She became overwhelmed with love for the people around her and those at work.
Suddenly, miraculously, Robinson started saying “I love my job.” I have a house, clothes, food and no more anxiety attacks.
Then, it was as if the universe opened up and asked Robinson exactly what she wanted. Things started to happen. Her boss offered her more hours, more money, and a better opportunity. The hours she was going to get would help feed her family. She went out and celebrated by bringing home meat and cheese.
The act of being thankful for what you have instead of complaining about it really started to change Robinson’s life. Robinson said she’s come a long way from the person that used to stair at the ceiling dreading the day’s events.
God knows we have trials and tribulations. When we’re in the middle of a storm, it’s important to seek God’s help. I realize that calling out to God only when there’s a storm isn’t ideal, but knowing when we need him the most that He will be there is very comforting. It’s important to remember that no matter what happens in our lives, we can be confident that God is in COMPLETE control.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” James 1:2
“Now this is the confidence we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to HIs will, He hears us.” John 5:14
So be at peace. Be positive. God will be with you. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:7