Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse. - Henry Van Dyke
The most difficult part of my writing life, I think, is yesterday.
I don’t mean literally the day before today, but yesterday as in the way I look at what I previously set down on paper. It’s difficult because I want to change yesterday – I rewrite and I second-guess. Invariably, when someone reads what I wrote, I go back to find a spelling mistake, or see a sentence that could have been reworded. My self-editor soon has me struggling with regret over having shared in the first place, and unwilling to submit anything more.
I am grateful for the opportunity to write, and for others who are interested in what I am writing, but I have trouble expressing that thankfulness when my focus is on what others think, or on my shortcomings.
My husband is a glass-half-full kind of guy, and he has pointed out that I am a glass-half-empty kind of gal. Personality contributes to some of this worldview, he being always up for an adventure and me being more cautious about the unknown. However, many other variables can also determine these perspectives.
Have you ever put the dinner leftovers away and found you chose the wrong size container for the food? Some people have a gift for spatial acuity (like my husband), while I struggle with a fridge full of containers either overflowing or too big for the contents. Could this be the reason I also see my glass as half-empty? I just do not have a good frame of reference for determining how things fit!
Or perhaps thankfulness has more to do with expression of feeling. For example, when a pet dies, some people are devastated and need to build memorials. Others get on with the burial without shedding a tear. We may think the emotional response means one loved their pet more than the stoic response, but that may not be the case. Grief can look vastly different for different people. Their beliefs, previous experiences, coping skills and methods, and personalities are all factors shaping what their sorrow looks like. Could it be the same for thankfulness?
Each of us is unique, so how we respond to the same circumstance can look completely different. Half full or half empty - these may not be good or bad, just different ways of looking at a situation. Seeing the good in yesterday’s writing may cause me to celebrate, and seeing the reality of a situation may create angst, but these are simply perspective. I become a better writer by not ignoring that what I wrote yesterday could use improvement, and seeing the opportunities can motivate me to continue.
|How full is your glass?|
God gives each of us different kinds of glasses, so it can be difficult to tell the level in a glass when the containers are different sizes or shapes. Maybe a glass looks full because the glass itself is smaller, so appears fuller even though it carries the same amount as a larger glass.
I am learning, though, and the fact remains, that whether I see my glass as half-full or half-empty, the glass still has room for more!
No matter how I describe it, both glasses can hold an additional amount. I believe God would prefer each of us, no matter the shape of our glass, to seek to have our glass over-flowing
. He speaks in Scripture of abundant
We cannot fill the glass on our own. Choosing an attitude of thanksgiving helps us be content with the glass we have, but the glass is no fuller. We must go to the source to be filled. I cannot change my yesterday, but I can seek improvement for my tomorrow. That is important in my writing, and in my life. By going to the tap, or as Jesus said, to the well of Living Water, my glass can be filled.
Yes, when I look at my yesterday, I often see the glass half empty. When I look at tomorrow, I fear my glass may once again become half-empty. When I look at today, I see my glass with all its imperfections, yet I am grateful to have the glass. And when I focus on the maker of my glass, He pours into me abundantly.
I know the well of Living Water who can fill me. Filled to overflowing, no matter the shape of my glass, no matter the circumstances of life, no matter what my self-editor has to say. Then even this glass-half-empty gal cannot help but express thanksgiving to God.
Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. (John 7:38 NIV)