We’ve been having a very personal conversation about GRATITUDE.
In other words, I haven’t shown a lot of it lately.
I’ve been complaining more than usual. I’m not sure why. Perhaps I’m overly tired. Or I need a vacation. Or I’ve just hung the streamers and put out the fancy placemats for an old fashioned pity party. (If I were you – I’d bet on the last one.)
Do you ever struggle with living in obedience to this verse?
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:16)
I sure do sometimes.
Here’s what I’ve learned (many, many times over)…
When I am ungrateful, my focus is on what I don’t have, rather than on what I have.
A few examples:
It’s seriously cold and windy outside and my car needs gas.
— Rather than muttering under my (frosty) breath about having to pump gas in weather that will make my hair go straight in seconds, I should be grateful that I have a car…and cash to buy the gas…and it doesn’t yet cost a month’s paycheck to pay for the gas.
There was one ice cream bar left in the freezer last weekend…”And when I went there, the freezer was bare.”
— Instead of getting angry about missing out on that delicious treat that I’d thought all day about and planned an entire evening around (get the picture?), I should be grateful that my husband reduced my caloric intake for that day,…that my rosacea may calm down…and my pants will fit better tomorrow. (Honesty time: this one is a little more difficult to appreciate!)
I’m trying to finish a project by a deadline, and My Mom needs a prescription picked up at Cub Pharmacy that afternoon.
— Rather than grumbling about my messed-up schedule, I should be grateful that I have a mom. (This one REALLY makes me feel horrible!)
(Ooftah. I must admit – it is a bit embarrassing talking about these “not my best” moments. So if you can relate, I’d love to hear about it!)
So here’s the deal…
You and I have so many things for which we can be grateful. Even when we feel like we’re walking through the worst of times, there is ALWAYS something good around us.
Our job is to be grateful. Yes, even in the darkest times.
The good news? God has told us how to find the gratitude:
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.
Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized.
Do that, and God, who makes everything work together,
will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”
(Philippians 4:8 MSG).
I can choose how I respond to every situation that comes my way. Whining, grumbling, and muttering make me only feel worse.
God’s conversation with me has gotten my attention.
I will choose to appreciate all the richness that is in my life.
I will choose to say “thank you” for the gazillion things that make my life easier.
I will choose gratitude.
Care to join me?