It's coming to the end of the year and I thought I'd share some different perspectives that have helped me find joy in my life. Obviously, I have my days—but these are a few ways I'm able to restart my outlook on life every morning that God blesses me with:
1. Go to sleep thanking God. Wake up thanking God.
When you're in bed, about to shut your eyes for the night, thank God for the day. Thank Him for every meal you had, every memory shared with family or friends. Thank Him for the bed you have to sleep on and even the very breath you're taking while thanking Him. If/when you wake in the morning, thank Him. Every morning that you awaken from is God giving you another chance at life. Another day to work on your prayers or to tell your mother you love her one more time. Live every day as an opportunity God is giving you to praise Him.
2. Take pride in the things you have.
You may have a chipped, dented, rundown car but that doesn't mean you can't take care of it like it's a brand new Mercedes. Your apartment may be small but why can't you treat it like you would living in a 5 bedroom house? We as humans assign value to objects we own. If you treat everything with value, you'll have a far greater appreciation for it. You can always work for the better, but don't let that dull what God has you given you in this very moment. Appreciate all that He has blessed you with, no matter the price. It's better to have a rundown car than no car at all.
3. Make a list of things you have now that you had prayed for in the past.
Don't let your future wants fog how much God has given you in the past. A lot of times we pray to get a new job, to pass a class, get the new iPhone, or even just make it home safely that one time we drove in the rain—but as soon as we get it, we thank God once and move on, never really seeing the blessing for what it is. Every once in a while, make a physical list of those things. Or even better, keep an on-going list; every-time you get what you asked for, add it to the list. You asked for something and He gave it to you, how much more proof of His love do you need?
4. Live in the present & one day at a time.
It's super cliche but it never hurts to remind yourself to always be present. Have your plans for the future but don't get caught up in them. Have an understanding of your past and why/how certain things happened the way did, learn from them, but move forward. The past and the future are part of God's plan, understand that all we have control over is the present, so make that your focus. Live one day at a time with an understanding that we're not guaranteed tomorrow. It'll give you an appreciation for every day you are given by Him because He didn't have to.
5. Remember the end goal.
Remind yourself the goal of this life—to make it to heaven by pleasing God. This life is temporary and is essentially a test resulting in whether we make it to His heaven or not. Don't let the trials in this life throw off your perspective of what we're all doing here in the first place. This is where the 5 prayers come in handy. They enable us to live productive and working hard lives, while giving us reminders throughout the day as to where to keep your eyes—on heaven. It maintains the balance of this life and the afterlife.
6. Live for others as much as you live for yourself.
It's every human's duty to help the fellow human. Think deeply about how impactful we are to one another. I'll have days where I'm just super out of it, emotionally and physically drained, but will get a super genuine smile from a stranger at the grocery store and my entire mood will flip. All of a sudden my worries aren't as straining. We're all struggling in this life, whether it be financially, physically, mentally, spiritually, or what say you. We all have our ups and downs—all we really have is each other. Make it a point to do your charity, possibly every month. Set a day once a month for you and your friend or spouse to go volunteer somewhere. Go bring food to a local homeless shelter, or volunteer to help clean your mosque. There's always a need for an extra pair of hands. Get in the habit of having the mentality that we're not in this world alone.
7. Try your best in what you feel God has planned for you, and leave the rest up to Him.
As mentioned, we don't have complete control over the future. We can work towards a goal but the end result is always in the hands of God. The best we can do is pray for His guidance. Rather than asking God for something, ask Him if it's what He wants for you. Ask Him to guide us through His plan and detach us from what isn't part of His plan. Now that's not to be passive with your goals, but to be mindful that life is constantly taking turns you never expected. I'm on a path nowhere near where I thought I would be 5 years ago. Hustle and pray, that's the best approach. Don't tire yourself with worries of what tomorrow will bring. Work for today, He will bring you tomorrow. Appreciate His plan.