Thank God it’s Friday! I’m sitting at the computer watching Bug’s version of Dancing with the Stars as the theme song from Winnie the Pooh plays on his movie. Despite a very itchy infection and a yucky tummy from antibiotics, he is undeterred. My Squiggle Bug is a perpetual visual aid for “Thank God it’s Friday!”
TGIF! We’ve all heard it. Most of us have said it. No matter what we’re doing, there’s something about ending the work week (or school week) and the prospect of a weekend that gets our juices flowing. Friday motivates us to get the last details of the week resolved. Friday fills us with the anticipation of free moments, fun activities and a shift from the weekday schedule. Friday lifts our spirits simply by being Friday.
I’ve always thought that it’s not really a good idea to invoke the name of the God of the universe unless you mean it. (Actually, God tells us it’s not a good idea. But, that’s another post.) So, today I’m thinking quite literally about “Thank God it’s Friday.” I’ve learned time and again about the role gratitude plays in attitudes through my own life lessons–mostly from bad attitudes prompted by a complaining spirit. Last year’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving at EyeJunkie really chrystalized that concept for me in so many ways. Just when I’m unhappily ensconced in my own “justified” complaints about circumstances or people or life in general, it never fails. Some news story, or friend’s story, or precious request from my gifts, or some other real life reality interrupts, and I recognize again how truly blessed I am.
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 thessalonians 5:16-18)
Well, there it is. For all the times I’ve wondered, “what is God’s will for my life?”, this one offers a clue. I’ve often read those versus with frustration. Look at all the extremes in there–always, without ceasing, everything. Ouch! It looks like that’s going to take a bit of commitment. It looks like I may have to rejoice in some not-so-fun situations. It looks like I may need to give thanks for some things I didn’t really want. It looks like I may actually have to let God out of His 911 emergency service vehicle every once in a while. Hmmm.
It seems to me that God gives us a recipe for happy days in these verses. And by happy, I mean joyful contentment and satisfaction, not the fleeting sugary feel we get during the first few minutes of chewing Bubblicious. If there’s anything I’ve learned from raising toddlers, it is that the Happiness Hotel has a revolving door… the devastation of not getting to play with the exact truck you wanted, followed by the utter bliss of realizing the helicopter is just as fun… the sorrow of not being able to ride with Daddy to the grocery store, followed by the sheer joy found in helping Mommy with the dishwasher. (I’d personally like to bottle that one so I can unleash it again in ten years when I know there will be no parallel happiness universe in which the dishwasher will be fun.) That ever-shifting concept of happiness is surely a normal part of learning about the world as a child, but what an incredibly unfullfilling grown-up lifestyle to endure!
That’s not God’s version of happiness. With the “always,” “without ceasing” and “in everything,” He gives us a glimpse of how constant real happiness can be. The happiness power comes in using those three ideas in tandem–persistently. Giving thanks provides us with something to rejoice about. Rejoicing reminds us of more in which to be grateful. Praying offers us Someone to thank for the joy we’ve seen. And, it gives us a way to get our worries and concerns out of the equation. If I can make those three actions constants in my life, my attitudes and perspectives will have all the checks and balances they need for me to be who and where God wants.
The thing that really convicts me in these verses is the intention that’s required–the deliberateness. I can’t accidentally “rejoice always.” Not with everything this life and the people in it have to offer. I can’t just haphazardly give thanks, or my gratitude will be confined to one Thursday in November. To pray without ceasing? It won’t just happen with a husband, three children, a job, a house and 6000 other things vying for my mental space. Paying attention rears it’s ugly head. Again.
I recently read a blog post where a woman described her habit of being grateful. She made a commitment to herself to stop and write down 5 things she was thankful for at the end of each day. She would not let herself go to bed at night until that task was completed. So each of her days ended with a tangible joy list.
I like that. Hence, the Oh Happy Day Project begins today. It’s my own little “Thank God it’s Friday” experiment reporting on the weekly EyeJunkie gratitude attitude documentation. I’m incorporating the “5 things” idea into my daily routine, and I hope to expound on the best in five-star Montgomery Happiness Hotel occupancy each Fridays. Oh Happy Day!
I’ll keep you posted.
[My compliments to the Muppets for their unmistakeable visual of the Happiness Hotel where you can drive a cab through the front door and opt to skip out without paying!]