What’s your favorite happy thought? What lifts your spirits when you are down? One of my happy thoughts is my gold sparkle shoes. Several years ago, my friend had wonderful news, but I was unprepared to hear it. I was not in the same place and wanted to be, so it was hard. I felt guilty being envious, but it was rough nonetheless.
The next day during prayer group, I had people share what they were thankful for, knowing I needed a dose of gratefulness myself. When my turn came, I stared at my feet. My gold sparkle shoes glinted in the sunlight. So I chose to be thankful for them. My $15 shoes from Payless were all I could see even though my health was good and my job fine. But my shoes were enough. They were a starting point. God pulled me through that time and showed me beauty in my situation.
I love how God meets us where we are. Maybe you are experiencing a rough time now, thinking there is little to be thankful for in your circumstances. Perhaps you are staring at your feet, wondering how to feel good again. Ask God to show you what He has already done for you. Find ways to practice thankfulness. When we remember the good things God has already done, it brings hope in dark times.
When times are good, hoard up happy thoughts for difficult days. The same way you are advised to have a rainy day fund of money in case bad things happen, stockpile good memories. Write them down so when you can’t think of anything positive, you can revisit the list and remember all God has done. Pick at least five things that remind you of God’s deep and abiding love for you.
Once when the children of Israel returned to the Lord after a time of disobedience, they implored Samuel to pray for them to defeat the Philistines. After a triumphant battle, 1 Samuel 7:12 says “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” (NKJV) This is an example of the children of Israel setting up memorials after encountering the Lord’s provision. These stones were designed to help them remember God the next time an issue arose.
Another person who excelled at remembering God in rough times was David. In the Psalms he often started in dismay, only to change his song after recalling all the Lord’s blessings. Psalms 77:10-12 says “And I said, ‘This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.’ I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.” (NKJV) We are not only to think about God’s goodness, but also talk about how great God is with others. This encourages them and provides them ways to remind us of God’s work when we are down.
Remembering what God has done breeds gratefulness. Thankfulness is a spiritual weapon that brings peace. Philippians 4:6-7 says “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (NKJV) God’s peace comes from thankfully acknowledging all God has done in our lives so far.
God hasn’t brought us this far to drop us on our heads. I pray you find your happy thoughts nestled deep in God’s provision for you. May they sustain you in the ups and downs of life. If you are in the storm, ask God to show you His rainbows. They are real for those who ask to see them, and their hope will carry you through.
Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over ten years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people know God better. Joanna enjoys coffee, traveling, and reading, and currently lives in northern Virginia.