The Top 14 Ways to Be Miserable This Thanksgiving (and Every Other Day)


1happy-thanksgivingWe all want to be happy, thankful people, yet we sometimes find ourselves being miserable. Life can throw us curveballs, tough times, and painful circumstances. At those times, we may have to work hard to be thankful. But what about the times when life is okay, not perfect, but reasonably good. How many times do we find our hearts being filled with anxiety, stress, and negativity?

Do we really have a choice in our attitude? If you say yes, do you find yourself able to make a choice about your attitude or are you stuck, trapped, bound in the mire of negative yuckiness?

Paul, whom God used to write much of the New Testament, reflected on the difficult points of his Christian life in 2 Corinthians 11.

…in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

And yet, despite his difficulties, Paul wrote often of thanksgiving and joy. In fact, he wrote a letter while he was in prison to the church in Philippi and spoke repeatedly about joy and rejoicing and thankfulness.

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and told them that they should give thanks in everything because it was the will of God in Christ Jesus for them. He never said to be thankful for the difficulties, but to be thankful IN them.

In my Thanksgiving reflections this morning, I began to think in opposites. What are the things that we do that keep us stuck in misery? Here is my partial list:

1.  Be anxious and fearful.

Philippians 4: 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

2. Avoid gratitude.

Luke 17:17-19  Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”

3. Allow your mind to focus on the negative. 

 Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

4. Be too self-focused.

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

5. Believe that you are worthless, a failure, or that you will never change.

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 2 Corinthians 5: 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

6. Argue and complain.

Philippians 2:14 Do all things without complaining or disputing.

7. Forget that this life is not all there is.

Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ

8. Refuse to take time off to enjoy yourself.  

Matthew 11: 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Mark 6:30  The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32  And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 

9. Make your life’s mission to control or reform others.

1 Peter 4:15 But let none of you suffer … as a busybody in other people’s matters.

10. Overly focus on your past and refuse to forgive yourself.

Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

11.  Be critical.

Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

12. Be divisive and strife-filled. 

Philippians 2:1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

13. Refuse to forgive others.

Matthew 18: 21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

14. Blame everyone else for most everything.

Genesis 3:12-13The man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

And if you want to be miserable all year long, these principles work all year as well! If you find that you are stuck in any of these ruts, be thankful that you can change! We always have a choice when it comes to our attitudes.

Well, Happy Thanksgiving to you all and I pray that we all will be thankful today and in all the days to come, believing that Christ came to give us abundant life and a life full of joy. 


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