Today's guest, Meredith Curtis from Powerline Productions, encourages us to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness every moment in our day. My prayer for you is that as you read you will find ways to create your own gratitude attitude.
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“How is it going?” Aisha asked me.
I sighed. 45 minutes of fighting with Pinterest and Facebook, trying to post a review. I was frustrated and definitely not in the mood to be grateful. I muttered something about my stupid computer and went back to work fighting with the internet.
Another hour passed, and I realized that I was being a bonehead. Yes, the computer was not behaving today, but life was still good.
I stopped and took stock of my life. I was waiting on God and trusting him in a lot of areas: sickness, financial provision, wedding plans for my daughter, and health issues with my grandsons. I was just about to dwell on all those things when I remembered the verse in I Thessalonians 5, “Give thanks in all circumstances.”
I started listing my blessings and thanking the Lord. My daughter was marrying a wonderful man. They just found a beautiful place to live and best of all, it is close to us. My children all love Jesus. My husband is faithful and kind. We have a lovely home filled with people and laughter.
As I focused on my blessings, my problems seemed to shrink. They didn’t go away, but they took their proper place.
My life is filled with blessings and challenges.
How about your life?
When I count my blessings, I feel thankful and happy inside. I am aware of how much the Lord has given me and want to praise Him for every blessing.
When I focus on my trials, I feel so isolated. I feel like I have a heavier load than anyone and I feel sorry for myself.
Should I pretend the hard things don’t exist? No, not at all. However, I don’t need to dwell on them.
Instead, I can pour my heart out to Jesus, casting all my anxiety on Him because He cares for me. When I pray about my challenges, I feel strength rising up in me as I lay those burdens at His feet.
When I focus on my burdens, I feel overwhelmed and frightened.
So, I will think about the good things and count my blessings. And when my thoughts turn to the harder challenges of life, I will lift them up to the Lord in prayer.
The Bible tells us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
Why is that so hard for me?
True confession time. My thoughts go a million miles an hour. My mind is always active. I think about what to fix for dinner, books I want to add to the homeschool library, a new song I want to learn, and all the things going on in my life. Oh, and did I mention all the things going on in my children’s lives.
I used to think it was not possible to NOT WORRY, it was just part of motherhood. Then I realized that the commands to not worry or not be anxious are always connected with the loving heart of God toward His beloved children.
In my younger years, I felt rejected by the Lord when bad things happened. Things would go swimmingly and I would praise and thank God. Things would go wrong and I would wonder if God loved me. It was an emotional roller coaster.
Sometime in my late thirties, I
came across this verse in my Quiet Time:
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11 NASB).
I meditated on it for several weeks, sensing the Lord wanted to teach me something.
Since I am covered in the righteousness of Jesus, my walk is upright in His sight. That means He will not withhold anything good from me. So, when He does withhold what I want, it is because it’s not good for me. That gave me so much peace.
It also opened my eyes to see how much the Lord loves me like a good Daddy. When I know something would hurt my children, I withhold it and the Lord is the same way.
After this, my heart changed and became secure in God’s love regardless of whether He gave or withheld. I knew He was doing all things out of love for me.
So, relating that back to gratitude, it allowed me to say, “if you give me this (vacation, opportunity to speak, new outfit, new couch), I will thank you and if you say ‘no’ I will praise you.”
Sometimes when I thank Him for closing a door, my emotions are still disappointed. Over time, they come around.
So, say, I’m praying for a new couch and there is an opportunity for one on sale, but there is no provision from the Lord, even after lots of prayer, when I realize the door is closed, I thank the Lord for closing the door because He loves me and knows what’s best. It doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed, but it does mean that I don’t believe that God doesn’t love me.
Good and bad things happen to us every day.
When I am going through my day, I encounter blessings, disappointments, and frustrations. I can choose to focus on the negative or the positive.
Running late, I hit every red light. How can I respond with thankfulness? “Lord, I’m running late and I ask that you would get me there safely and as quickly as possible. Right now, I can’t see what you are protecting me from, but I thank you for your protection."
I walk into the house from grocery shopping and the house is a mess. We have a Bible study meeting in our house in three hours. I can get angry. Or I can focus on the positive, cultivating gratefulness.
“Lord, thank you for this challenge. I will
definitely need your help getting the house ready. Thank you that I will have
to rely on you. Thank for my little mess-makers. And thank you that they are
strong and healthy and can help me clean.”
I get on the scale and I have gained three pounds. How can I cultivate thankfulness there? “Thank you, Lord for living in a land of abundance so that my struggle is to keep weight off, rather than search for enough to eat to survive. Thank you that I need your grace and help right now to lose this weight."
I get on the scale and I’ve lost three pounds. “Lord, thank you for your grace and help to lose this weight.”
Can you think of scenarios in your own life where you can thank the Lord throughout the day? I encourage you to cultivate gratefulness in your own life, too. The results are a happy heart and a closer relationship with Jesus.
God bless you in every way.
Warmly in Christ,
Meredith Curtis, homeschooling mom, Grand-Merey, writer, speaker, and publisher, loves to encourage ladies in their walk with Jesus and families in their homeschooling adventure. She is the author of A Wise Woman Builds Bible Study, HIS Story of the 20th Century, Celebrate Christmas with Cookies Unit Study, and Joyful and Successful Homeschooling. You can check out her books, curricula, unit studies, and Bible studies at PowerlineProd.com . Free Reading Lists for all ages are available at JSHomeschooling.com. Read her blogs at MeredithCurtis.com and PowerlineProd.com and listen to her at Finish Well Radio.