Every once in a while it’s good to vent. If you’re like me, you could probably come up with 20 things right now that annoy or frustrate you just about every day.
- The 12 year old selling me Oil of Olay on TV
- Pulling an empty jug of milk out of the refrigerator
- Forgetting wet laundry in the washing machine overnight
- Accidentally stepping on the tube of toothpaste someone left on the floor, capless
- Picking up the same jacket off the floor every day
- Finding a free movie ticket in my purse a month after it expired
- Missing a phone call from a friend overseas
- Reaching into my jewelry box on a special night, and finding only one of my favorite earrings
- That the kitchen sink, I’m convinced, produces dirty dishes on its own
- Leaving my wallet at home and discovering this at the Costco checkout stand
- Being late someplace and noticing the fuel needle pointing at “E”
- My dog jumping on me while I’m grabbing that same jacket off the floor every day
- Searching through the 3 a.m. darkness for my youngest daughter’s dropped pacifier
- Hearing “I have to go too” as I return to a restaurant table from the other child’s bathroom trip
- Hearing “I have to go” at the Costco checkout stand while I’m looking for the wallet I left home
- Discovering I’m missing a key dinner ingredient when the meal’s almost cooked
- Domino tantrums – the 9, then 5, then 3 year old – as we leave Costco emptyhanded
- Seeing my husband work incredibly hard to earn way less than he’s worth
- Wondering how long my 8 year old will need to be in residential treatment to get stabilized
- The anxiety that comes when I focus on all this stuff instead of spending my energy noticing the unbelievable number of good things in my life.
Interesting, isn’t it? Simply venting toxic complaints about life builds more pressure in the heart. Not unlike a volcano, our frustration and annoyance builds to explosive results when we vent like this. We need heat vents that actually dissipate the pent-up pressure inside us. And gratitude is just that.
With Thanksgiving holiday later this month, we’re all thinking about gratitude a little more. But life-giving gratitude is so much more dynamic than traditional acts of remembrance and giving.
True gratitude chooses to see good in the moments that try to suck joy out of us.
It is, as Ann Voskamp says in One Thousand Gifts, openhanded to the gifts God gives every second of every day – whether they’re good or bad.
It’s in being content – satisfied – moment by moment. In being glad for the beating heart, life breath, moving limbs, sunshine, smell of rain, sounds of laughter, Saturday morning snuggles, smiles of neighbors. Giving thanks for abundant resources like Costco even if the wallet’s at home. Or welcoming the fridge with the empty carton because the child whose small curious hands left it there means so much to us.
Gratitude like this changes everything. It not only vents the volcano, it levels it and plants a garden in it’s place.
What annoys you most? Will you vent that into gratitude today?
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