Learning to be Grateful

On a daily basis we have two options – to complain or to be grateful.

There really isn’t any other way to be. We can complain in the morning that the bed was lumpy, the temperature of the room was too cold or too hot, the coffee was bitter, and the eggs runny. Or we can wake up grateful for a bed to sleep in; a roof over our heads; the sweet smell of coffee first thing in the morning; and the goodness of food to put in our bellies.

Same morning – differing perspectives.

1 Thessalonians 5:18,  “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Ephesians 5:20, “Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

The daily grind can wear us down. We can become complacent in the drudgery of work, chores, family, church, school, laundry, or “whatever” fills our days. We long for something new and different or we simply wallow in the muck we’ve made and play our tiny violins of pity.

Years ago a friend showed me his gratitude calendar. It was pocket sized and filled with simply words which he penned daily. He said it was his secret weapon for life.

As I thumbed through page after page of tiny squared calendar days, I read his words on different pages, “So thankful for the lunch my wife made for me today. Really tasty!”  “Thankful for the lady at Walmart who helped me find Cream of Celery soup my wife requested for me to bring home. Saved me a great deal of time!” “Very thankful for the package I received today from my uncle in Wisconsin. Best honey I’ve ever tasted!” “So grateful the flat tire on my wife’s car happened during the day and in a safe place for her to pull over.”

I learned this practice of finding something every day to be grateful about was something he learned from his grandmother after the loss of his 16 year old daughter. While at first it seemed impossible to be grateful about anything, once he began implementing it in his life, it changed the way he thought. Every year on his deceased daughter’s birthday he writes, “So grateful I had 16 years with her. So thankful she was in my life.” His grandmother raised 7 children and in the course of her life, she buried 5 of them. She told my friend, “Gratitude makes life beautiful again.”

Today I want to challenge you to pry open your eyes to see all the reasons you have in your life to be grateful. Keep a calendar or journal. Experience what a difference saying thank you can make in how you look at life.

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