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The holiday season is fast approaching. Thanksgiving is today. Christmas is only 31 short days away. A week after that we celebrate New Years. This is a time of year when many people focus on all of the reasons they have to be thankful. This got me thinking about how many people live their lives for the big events and ignore the day to day. So is this it? Do we focus on gratitude for a couple of days out of the year and then go back to our selfish lives? It doesn’t have to be this way. You can choose to live a life of gratitude. All year- 365 days, 52 weeks. And yes, it is a choice.
If you have ever been in touch with someone who is really in need and had that need met then you have seen the face of gratitude. In fact, I used to volunteer for an organization named Operation Christmas Child. It is an organization that packs shoe boxes full of Christmas gifts for kids and sends them all over the world. I have met several adults who actually received these boxes years earlier as kids. Their reaction was always the same: “those boxes changed my life.”
So how do you live a life of gratitude? It’s really very simple.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” That’s it. Give thanks! In all circumstances!
Let’s look a little closer. A measure of your spiritual and emotional maturity is the amount of gratitude you show in your life. If you are unsure of where you stand, take a look at the people you choose to spend your time with. Are your friends and acquaintances ungrateful? If so, then chances are that you are too. Ever hear the saying “birds of a feather flock together?” It’s a popular saying because it is accurate. Look at who you surround yourself with.
When you make the simple decision to “give thanks in all circumstances,” your life changes. Gratitude will allow you to grow closer to other people. Gratitude will allow you to grow closer to God.
So, how can you learn to be more grateful?
Focus on life’s blessings. Life is challenging. You will face difficulties. If you don’t then I would recommend checking your pulse to make sure you are alive. In fact, in John 16:33, Jesus tells us: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Think about the good in your life. The words “think” and “thank” come from the same root. Being thankful is directly related to how much time you spend focusing on the good in your life. So what is good in your life?
- Positive relationships- You have at least one. His name is God.
- Material blessing- You do have stuff- look around.
- Positive world events- Negative news sells but try to find the positive stories in the news.
- Health- Eating Right and exercising will change your life. If you’re not doing them, then start.
- Success- What are you successful at? There’s something.
Avoid focusing on the bad. Bad things happen… It’s just part of life. Deal with the situation and move on; don’t dwell on the situation and become bitter.
- Negative relationships- Some relationships are just a part of life but that doesn’t mean you need to be part of the negativity; be the light instead.
- People who don’t like you- Not everyone likes you. It’s none of your business what someone else thinks of you.
- People you don’t like- Let’s be real. These people will always exist. You don’t need to focus on them.
- Material lack- You’re always going to want something. It’s human nature. Focus on what you do have instead.
- Sickness- We live in a world where people get sick, including you, choose to be positive anyway.
- Failures- Everyone has failures. Learn from them and apply the lessons to the future.
We can’t be grateful unless we realize how blessed we really are. Grateful people take time to experience joy. Learn to tune out the world and praise God. Accept His free gift and share it with others. Learn to be still and listen for Him as you take quiet time each day.
Grateful people live for today. Put down the phone and focus on now. Destination disease causes a person to search for happiness somewhere in the future. It’s an excuse for not living today. It makes you believe that you will be happy and grateful at some point in the future. The prime cause of destination disease is being unhappy/ungrateful. People who suffer from it put off joy until some distant time or event in the future that may never happen. There is no one place to arrive at once and for all. Life is a journey. Live for today. Do the things you love. Be grateful!
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Thanks for joining me at renewed2win. Remember, maybe everything you have ever believed doesn’t actually matter to what is truly real.
Michael at R2W