Moscow is not the easiest city to live in. In fact, according to the 2010 Mercer quality of living survey, Moscow is among one of the most miserable cities in the world to live in, ranking 166 on a list of 220, among Caracas, Venezuela and Librevill, Gabon.
Coming back from vibrant, sunny, and friendly Italy, it’s all too easy for me to complain – rude, smelly, pushy metro; terrible air and noise pollution that have landed me with a headache 4 out of the 6 days we’ve been back; racism; stifling lack of freedom; sadistic bureaucracy; and a terrible medical system all make for a shabby standard of living in Russia’s capital.
Not only does complaining get me nowhere, and make me a generally depressed human being, it’s also not Biblical. God warns against complaining, and the Bible is filled with exhortations to “Praise the Lord!” or “Worship Him with thanksgiving!”. Taped up on the bathroom wall next to our mirror is a much-needed reminder for me from Psalm 100:2 “Serve the Lord with gladness; come into His presence with singing.”
Thanksgiving needs to be a discipline with me.
This graphic is from the blog Holy Experience, which I found via a missionary friend in Ukraine, Phyllis. The idea expressed on these blogs is setting aside a time to record one thousand things that you’re thankful for. One thousand gifts that God has given you.
Thanksgiving could not me more timely or needed for me!
SO, here are some of the gifts God has given me lately (where to start!):
- An amazing 10-day honeymoon vacation in Italy with the steady, loving, wonderful, economist that I’m blessed to call my husband
- After our wonderful vacation, easing slowly and gently back into the Moscow rush by:
- Having a few days off to rest before jumping back into things
- A lovely Skype conversation with my wise mother, and advice about being thankful!
- Coffee and biscotti date with my friend, M. and more inspiration to work and advice about being thankful (plan for the future; enjoy your time now)
- A fantastic new hair cut! (new clothes, new shoes, new bag, new hair cut – time for a new job!)
- The promise from my company of a work visa come September, if necessary.
- Being able to live in a city like this where God is so good to constantly grow and stretch me into the person He wants me to be.