In my reading of Proverbs 23 this morning, the word "discipline" was repeated several times. I'll admit that is not my strongest suit. One thing I am very disciplined about, however, is gratitude. That word, too, is an oft-repeated word in the Scriptures. There are 106 verses with the word thanks referenced in the Complete Jewish Bible. The two words are tied together for me because it is a discipline to be thankful
.I will admit that gratitude was difficult in my younger days. I remember learning Ephesians 5:20, "In everything give thanks," and often felt like a hypocrite when I thanked Hashem for the hard and painful things in my life. That discipline trained me to be able to be thankful, though, when the tests became more difficult. Hashem, in His wisdom, knows that gratitude is good for us, and He's been so kind in bringing me what I call "gratitude mentors". I wrote about three of them HERE.
He knows that an attitude of gratitude helps us spiritually, mentally, and physically because it is life giving. Praising Him, instead of dwelling on my problems, lifts me above my circumstances. I love the Scripture, "Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." It works every time.
We Jews have a saying, "L'Chaim" which means "To Life". It's based on this Scripture:
“I call on heaven and earth to witness against you today
that I have presented you with life and death,
the blessing and the curse.
Therefore, choose life,
so that you will live,
you and your descendants...
You might remember the song by the same name in the movie Fiddler on the Roof. If you've not seen that movie, you must! It's one of my all-time favorites and I've seen it many times. We even had a sing-along night at the synagogue where we watched the movie together. I provided the lyrics and we all sang (and sometimes danced) through every song. Rabbi Jem even did the bottle dance! We had so much fun!