November 1, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

Our Bible study this week was on thankfulness.  Thomas had to go by himself because I had a meeting for school, but he filled me in on all the details. 

Anyhow, sometimes it's hard being in such a materialistic society.  It's easy to get caught up wanting more than what you have.  Just when you get what you want, you find something else that you just have to have.  It's also easy to get caught up in the trap of wishing we had something another person has or wishing we could be more like them.  I'm sure everyone has negatively compared themselves to another person at least once in their lives.

However, all of that is detrimental because it causes us stop focusing on all of the blessings we do have in our lives.  It moves our focus away from God and onto the things of this world.  When I start to get upset about something small or something that doesn't go my way, I need to change my attitude and thank God for all of the good things he has done for me.  After all, we know that everything good in our lives is from God himself.  Even the very small things are a gift from him:

"All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, from whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change."
- James 1:17

We are also told to give thanks for everything

"Rejoice always.  Pray without ceasing.  Give thanks in everything.  For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for all of you."
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Being thankful for all of the wonderful small and ordinary things in our lives is a good reminder of God's love and faithfulness.  It helps us to become less anxious and worried about our everyday lives because we know God is right there with us in every part of our day.  We should send up a prayer of thanks to God whenever something good happens, whether it's seeing a pretty sunrise, having a great dessert, or having a little bit of extra free time in the day.  I can't find the quote online, but Thomas wrote in his notes that G.K Chesterton said that thankfulness is the key to happiness in life.  I couldn't agree more.  Sometimes when we are falling asleep at night Thomas and I name three things from the day we are each thankful for.  I certainly feel so much happier and content when I start thinking about all of the good things going on in my life rather than focusing on the things I want.   I really need to do that on a more regular basis. 

Finally, when did our homework for Bible study, Thomas and I were talking about how essentially anything that goes wrong in our lives is a first world problem.  Seriously.  We have never had to worry about food to eat, clothes to wear, a safe, warm place to sleep, or having people to love us.  The things we get upset about in our day to day lives are completely trivial in comparison to those things.  When I think about the fact that God has met every single one of our needs and has provided for way more than what we could possibly need, I remember how much I truly have to be thankful for.

I am praying for a constant attitude of gratitude and that I will be content wherever I am in life with what I have.

How do you make thanksgiving a regular part of your life?

"Therefore, through him, let us offer the sacrifice of continual praise to God, which is the fruit of lips confessing his name."
- Hebrews 13:15


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