If I were left to myself, I would be a depressing person to be around. (Thank you for not leaving me to myself, Lord!) The criticisms of my father often run through the background of my thoughts. The Lord is constantly reminding me to guard my thoughts, and to identify untruths and correct them with truth from His word.
(One benefit of blessing your children and not cursing them with your words is that the voice they will hear in their heads long after you are dead will be a voice of blessing.)
Looking through the negative side of the lens – everything that is difficult in my life – can so easily derail me into depression. If that is you, too, try this experiment for seven days; it will change you! I often have to implement this “exercise in perspective” when I find I have become discouraged over something.
Simply reverse perspective. Yes, things are imperfect in my life, no one escapes that. The people I live with are sinners (as I am also, hello! They must bear with me, I so conveniently forget.) But instead of dwelling on their faults, when I reverse my perspective, I choose a trait or characteristic I am grateful for, and then I thank the Lord for that quality in my husband or children. When I begin to hear griping thoughts in my head, cut them off (“take them captive” is the biblical phrase) and replace them with the gratitude du jour. It also doesn’t hurt to tell my family, “I am sorry for being so negative, and by the way, thank you, dear, for going to work every day and supplying our needs! I love that about you!”
The same applies to illness, financial distress, or persecution: find that thing in the bad situation, whatever it is that is praiseworthy, that I can sincerely thank the Lord for His care and tender mercy in my life. Even if I can’t see a single thing, I can always thank the Lord for His deliverance from my distress that is yet to come!
Appreciation is just a matter of perspective. Appreciation blesses the Lord (“A contentious woman is as a continual dripping of rain” are His words, after all) and it blesses our families. It blesses me, too, when the spirit of heaviness gets replaced by the mantle of praise!