I was lamenting on facebook about how I was thinking of going on strike again. Yes, again. I actually did once.
At first I thought that if I stopped doing the things I did for the kids, eventually they would get the hint. (They didn't.) I stopped doing the dishes. I stopped doing their laundry. I stopped making their lunches. I even stopped asking them to clean their room. That one in particular surprised me. I never thought I'd do that, but I also never pictured having three boys share one room. I also never grew up around boys and didn't realize the level of mess in which they will survive. I would still make dinner, and serve my husband, but they had to set their own place. I did everything I could so that it didn't impact him.
It didn't work. I don't know if they really got the concept, and I was freaking out inside over the mess. I don't remember exactly how it was resolved. I think I had them help me clean it up, but it certainly didn't have the impact I was hoping for.
I also realized it had a lot to do with my heart. When I get in that space, I often forget to take a step back and think about why I'm really frustrated. Yes, it could be as simple as people not doing what they're supposed to do, and how I feel like it's disrespectful, but that's where my discipline & accountability with them should come into play. It shouldn't be throwing a fit like a pre-schooler.
I also recognize that it comes from a selfish place. When I'm focused on myself, I am, obviously, less thankful.
There will always be people who seem to have it better, but there are always people who have it worse. The problem though is that I shouldn't be comparing myself in the first place.
Once I hear God whispering (ok shouting) to me, I take a step back and I am grateful.
I'm thankful that I live in the U.S.A. I'm thankful we have so much here. I'm thankful that I am usually warm enough (and if I'm not, I have coats, blankets or a wood burning stove that will do the trick).
I'm thankful that I have food. Even if I'm down to slim pickings, I'm nowhere near starving. Cans of plain chickpeas and tuna sound nasty together, but it's there if I need it.
I'm thankful I have a vehicle that works. And after having a van that got to the point of breaking every other month, I'm thankful this one runs, has heat, a/c (since currently I need both in one day) and working windows.
I'm thankful for my dog. She has been such a lovely addition in our home and I know she has helped with my depression.
I'm thankful for medication. As much as I also loathe it and don't like how it makes me feel, I'm thankful I have the choice to use it, and that it keeps me stable to have healthy, balanced relationships.
I'm thankful for my friends. The ones who walk closely through life with me and are the family I've chosen, and the ones I see here and there. The ones I see in person, and then ones I see online. The ones I've had for decades, and the ones I've made this year. And the ones that make me laugh.
I'm thankful for my family. So many people come to this country and leave their family behind. Others move to other states for jobs. I have family within 10 miles at the farthest. My kids have grown up having relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
I'm thankful for my core family of 6. They make me crazy frustrated, bring me to tears and feel anger and sadness I never knew I could feel. (And which goes both ways, I'm aware!) But oh how sweet life is with them. It's richer than I could have ever known. They make me laugh with humor similar and different than mine. They teach me, forgive me and love me. They love each other and seeing that brings the good tears. They bring me joy I never knew I could feel.
I'm thankful for my husband. Though he is definitely part of my core family, he is my partner in life, my best friend and my true love. He shows me daily he loves me in all sorts of ways. He is an example to me, our kids and anyone he's around how a man of integrity conducts himself.
I'm thankful I have the freedom to say I love Jesus without fear of prison or abuse. I'm thankful Jesus loved me first and picked me. I'm thankful he picks us all.
It's an endless list and though I love using sarcasm, it is most definitely filtered (usually) through a sieve of a grateful heart.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, pausing to reflect on some of the things you have to be grateful for.