Attitude of Gratitude

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So many times, especially lately, it seems easy to focus on everything that goes wrong! Trust me…in the last three weeks…I’ve burned my arm on an oven, burned my arm (yep…the same one!) with an iron, stabbed myself with a needle, broken a needle, broken a brand new foot to a sewing machine, bruised my shin badly, lost sleep, had sick friends, interacted with people who you’d rather just never have met and been told ‘no’…isn’t that the worst!? I’ve been driving home from work and find myself trying to maintain calmness as I watch other people do really dumb things while driving…and I wonder “how did they ever get their license!?” Yesterday…while expressing my disgust at their horrific driving I actually stopped long enough to listen to my attitude.

There wasn’t a single thing I was thankful for in that moment and I thought “oh no…”. Immediately my attitude changed…and as I spoke with God I realized I should be thankful that I have my license, thankful that the lady in front of me is living and well enough to be behind a wheel, thankful for the roads and the safety of cars, thankful for the EXTRA TIME I could choose to spend with God (if I stopped complaining about “how I’d be late getting home”) and thankful that I was well enough to see their bad driving, thankful I had family to go home to, thankful for a job that kept me out on the roads…and before I knew it…I had such a list running through my head and I realized how long it had been since I’d really spent much time simply thanking God for what He’d blessed me with. 

That night, I listened to a dear friend speak the words that I often find running through my mind…the question of “what’s the purpose? why me? why is this so hard? is this even worth it?” and my heart was breaking. Because I’m pretty sure there’s a point in everyone’s life where they ask if life is really worth living, what is the point of this anyway…and the truth is so clear IF we focus on the right things!!

I’d made the choice in the last few weeks to focus on everything that was going wrong…and let me tell you…the stuff mentioned above (that’s only a small portion!) 🙂 and yet, looking back…had I not been frustrated, not been ungrateful, not been stressed (solely because of where I was focusing) I’d probably not be burned and now scarred, my thumb wouldn’t have throbbed for days and my sewing machine would have been a lot better off! 

It’s not easy to change all that negative focus. It’s a daily struggle…and I’m sure I’ll never get it perfect. However…here’s what I’ve been doing to “fix” it. 

1. As soon as the negative thought hits…I think up 2-3 things I’m thankful for

2. Consistent Bible reading…regardless of if I feel it or not (and let me tell you…when you make this commitment…Satan will send everything he can to distract you…you’re tired, you’d rather play with family, watch a movie, text a friend, exercise, eat a late night snack, etc. etc. etc…the list will never end!) 

3. Singing praise songs…if you’re ever in the car alone…and you don’t care what your hair looks like at the end of the trip…roll your windows down, turn your music as loud as you want and sing…sing like no one is listening, sing like you’re the biggest sensation to ever hit the stage, sing to God, sing from your heart and worship! Who cares if you hit all the notes or not…it’s just fun to feel the wind rush through the car, lift your spirit as you raise your voice in praise. (I PROMISE…it will improve your attitude…)

4. Reach out to someone – God didn’t put us on earth alone, find that friend…and share your heart, share your struggles. You’ll feel better, and I speak from personal experience…when your deepest friend shares their heart, it’s a most beautiful thing and you are drawn into a closer, more intimate relationship. This kinda of relationship, of deep connection and mutual encouragement, honors God! 

So when your heart is asking “what’s the purpose to living?” Touch your heart…feel that beat, that steady beat…and start being thankful that your heart is beating! God still has purpose for you…He isn’t finished with you yet and you’re still under construction! The building process may not always be fun, but when the masterpiece (when you are finished…) is completed, the results are astonishing and breathtakingly beautiful!! And then…then you know without a shadow of a doubt “This is why life is worth living”. Be thankful…enjoy life and count your blessings. No matter what you feel like…it’s a choice you must make…focus on the negative or the positives. I know which side God supports….so that’s probably the better road to take!! Have a heart full of gratitude. It doesn’t make the problems go away, but it sure makes them easier to go through!!