January in Michigan can be challenging. The sun rarely peeks out from behind the clouds, and it's cold and damp outside. Monday mornings tend to be my most challenging. We host an outdoor food pantry. It seems like our coldest snowiest or rainiest days are on Monday. This week it was considerably warmer than it has been. However when my alarm went off I could hear that is was just pouring outside. I started to grumble and complain about the weather before my feet even hit the ground. My glass was not only half empty at the point there were only a couple of drops in the bottom of it.
As I was getting ready for the day I took some time to read my Bible and pray. As I began to pray I was still grumbling about not wanting to be cold and wet. I continued to pray and God began to remind me that my joy is not determined by the weather or by anyone or thing. My joy comes from the Lord and He supplies all of my needs. By the time I left for work I was singing to every song I heard on the radio.
Volunteers started to arrive and many had the same grumbly attitude that. Attitudes are more contagious than the flu! That was not something that could continue. As soon as all the food was off loaded from the truck we gathered in a circle for a quick chat about the day. We take about 5 minutes together every week before we begin and talk about what we have and how it should be divided and so on. We take this time to recognize birthdays, honor our volunteer of the month and pray before we begin. I looked out and saw about 20 volunteers who were already soaked from rain and cold, look back at me and no one was smiling. So I shared my morning and how I didn't want to be there in the rain. I admitted that I was grumbling, even whining about how awful it would be. Then I shared how God reminded me that joy isn't determined by circumstances. Happiness is a choice. I told them that I was choosing to smile and speak words that would bring smiles to other people. The challenge was set for each one of our volunteers to lead with love and a smile.
Almost 3 hours and several buckets of rain poured out on all of us we were finished for the day. We had successfully served 268 families food for the week. I suddenly realized not one person complained about anything. There were no frustrating moments or issues to try to sort out. In fact the pantry ran like clockwork. As I played back the sights and sounds of the morning, I realized that there were countless smiles, friendly conversations, and laughter.
The day started out with a glass half empty outlook and was transformed into a glass so full it was running over.
If your glass is half empty, I encourage you to take a minute and choose to focus on what is good in your life. Take time to thank God for all that He has already done and is yet to do. Don't worry things you can't change. Celebrate the blessings in your life. I promise your glass will begin to overflow.
Phillipians 4:4-9 NLT
4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.[c]
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.