Hello everyone! Today marks my 15th day in Turkey! Just over two weeks have gone by in a blur of new people, things, and especially new places!
My teammate Erin and I moved into a flat with a Turkish girl who is about our age. This has been a huge blessing because our flat is already furnished and our roommate is friendly and ready to show us around and help us with our language!
One of our first days here, our roommate (who I'll refer to as 'M') took us around the city to see some of the main sights. This was both fun and a challenge for me! It's going to take me awhile to get used to the amount of walking we do on a daily basis, and one of my biggest pet peeves is when people walk fast and don't wait for the slower people in a group. Thus, walking around with M and Erin, after awhile I found myself falling behind and getting cranky. I wanted to know where we going, how long it would take, how we were going to get home, why we had to walk so fast, grumble, grumble, grumble. I knew M wasn't aware she was frustrating me and Erin was just trying to keep up with M. I knew in my head that I was cranky because I was tired and a little hungry. But still, I couldn't get the grumbles out of my head!
A few weeks back, before leaving the U.S., I had received a note from my Grandma with some Scriptures she'd been reading and some quotes from Christian authors. The theme was praising the Lord. The quotes, although for the life of me, I can't think of who wrote it and what exactly he said, were talking about how Scripture repeatedly tells us to praise the Lord, not because He needs it, but because it changes us for the good.
So while walking around in Turkey, trying to keep up with my roommates and not get angry over inconsequential things, I decided to try not to dwell on what was irritating me, but to thank God instead. So I started thanking and praising Him for everything. "I thank you for this long walk that makes me feel strong and healthy. I thank you for this cool weather that is refreshing. I thank you for my roommate who is showing me around the city. I thank You for the public transportation that can get me anywhere at anytime of day. I thank You for this new home that keeps challenging me in new ways... etc."
Low and behold, when I started dwelling on all that God has provided, thanking and praising Him for it, I no longer had room for dark feelings. Praising Him crowded out the evil in my heart, it renewed my mind, and helped me see the situation in a new light. It made me smile and renewed my joy.
What a beautiful Savior we have, that made it so that our joy and contentment flows out of our praise of Him!
Having just celebrated another Thanksgiving, I hope you too can resonate with the joy that comes from having a thankful heart!