Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Grateful Humbling

I think it takes humility to be truly grateful. Gratitude causes us to acknowledge that we need more than just ourselves to meet our needs. When we are able to graciously receive from another with an attitude of gratitude, we are acknowledging that we had a need that someone outside of ourselves had to meet. That can be humbling.

In our culture people often pride themselves on being self-sufficient. No one wants to even rely on a neighbor to watch their house anymore. It's the generation of "I'll take care of myself, thank you!" Or we have the other extreme, people who feel they are entitled to whatever they receive and because they feel entitled, they are not grateful. They feel they are just receiving what was due them anyway. "Please" and "Thank you" are not courtesy words anymore.

It takes conscious awareness to live in a posture of gratitude on a daily basis. I'm working on it!!

One of my favorite quotes is - "There is always, always something to be thankful for." No matter what circumstances you find yourself in, look and you will find the "silver lining;" that one thing that you can thank God for.

I remember when my husband was sick over a period of nine months before he died, he'd had surgery and was left with an open incision. I had to daily change his drainage bag, which, trust me, was not an easy thing to do. There was a lot of precision to it. During the course of his illness, we covenanted  that when we prayed together before lights out at night, we would find at least one thing to thank God for that day. Some days the only thing we could find to be thankful for was that his drainage bag didn't leak!! Most times, that was enough! If you look hard enough, you can find it!!

This week as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, I'm especially mindful of the things in my life that I am thankful for. Especially, I am thankful for my God who provides all I need and more.

I have learned over the years, that I can't provide for myself all alone, that I do need the help of God and others in my life for my physical, spiritual, mental and emotional well-being. I am not an island, nor do I want to be. Since my husband died, I have had to rely on others in ways I never needed to before and that has humbled me. I am at their mercy when I need something from them. God has taught me tolerance, patience, understanding and gratefulness. I can't demand my way - with God or with others - I can only submit to their timetable. But I am grateful, truly grateful, to God and to others when He provides.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever."
1 Chronicles 16:34

Being grateful changes our whole perspective, it can even change our countenance! It makes us much more pleasant to be around than someone who complains all the time! Most importantly, it will change our hearts.

"Thanksgiving is gratitude for a benefit we have received. Joy includes gratitude, but its true delight is in the beauty of God and the deep goodness in all the things that come from him. Joy draws attention outward with a nonpossessive appreciation for something that is good......... Your attention is captured by the Giver more than the benefit received."  
Edward T Welch, Heart of the Matter

Studies tell us it takes 21 days to either make or break a habit. Try for 21 days to list daily what you find to be thankful for. This simple exercise will change your heart and your perspective. It can even change your life!! Ask Ann Voskamp, author of A Thousand Gifts. When she was challenged to find 1000 gifts to be thankful for, it did indeed change her life!! If you haven't read that book, I very highly recommend you add it to your reading list for the new year.

Join me in cultivating a thankful heart beginning this week. I've been working on this project for at least the last 12-13 years. Some days I find it easier than others to give thanks. Other days it seems downright impossible. But, God......

If you find no other reason in your day to give thanks, give thanks simply because He is a good, good Father and deserves our praise and our thanks!

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