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"Lollipop and Pearls" - Jared Kraft

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

An Attitude of Gratitude

“Life will bring you pain all by itself.
Your responsibility is to create joy.”

~Milton Erickson, M.D.

Joy is a choice! Circumstances in life don’t dictate our attitude about those circumstances. We make a decision on how to respond to those circumstances.
I have found that the very things I feel like I am lacking in life or think I need in life are best found when I give those things to others.

I sometimes struggle with feeling like I am not appreciated by certain people. (Disclaimer: this is NOT a pity party for Lolli! Au contraire!) Deep within my heart I know in my head they appreciate me; yet, in my heart I don’t necessarily feel it! I can choose to believe it and live in joy; or I can doubt it and insist on proof! So one way I can fill that void is to offer gratitude to others.

“One of the incredible truths about gratitude is that it is impossible to feel both the positive emotion of thankfulness and a negative emotion such as anger or fear at the same time. Gratitude births only positive feelings—love, compassion, joy, and hope. As we focus on what we are thankful for, fear, anger, and bitterness simply melt away, seemingly without effort.” (Ryan, M.J. Attitudes of Gratitude)

In times of solitude, it is easy for my mind to focus on all the “could’ve, should’ve, oughta’s”…things that could have been, things I should have done, things I oughta have... blah, blah, blah! The magnitude of problems in my life and/or problems in people’s lives I care about can envelope me, and divert my focus from the magnitude of blessings the Lord has showered upon my family and me!

So, I’ve made a decision: every time I blog, I’m going to either begin or end with something that I am grateful for. My hope is that you will consider joining me in this effort. How much fortitude does it take to identify blessings in your life? Little to none! If you got up today still breathing, you are blessed! If you have a roof over your head, your are more blessed! If you have people who love and care about you, you are among the wealthiest people in the world!

What would happen if daily you spoke gratitude to someone ~ from a family member or friend, to a fellow employee or employer, to the mail carrier or grocery store clerk, to the medical personnel you may be in contact with…you would profoundly bless someone’s life, and I guarantee you the blessing would come back to you in even greater proportion! Try it! You might like it!

In Matt. 5: 3-10 we find Jesus’ teaching on blessings, commonly referred to as “The Beatitudes”:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

So if you are poor in spirit, if you mourn, if you are meek, if you hunger and thirst for righteousness, if you are merciful, pure of heart, if you are a peacemaker, and/or if you are persecuted for the sake of righteousness….receive the blessings of God above! Then turn around and bless someone else….watch it come right back to you!

So I ask you to consider joining me in this effort to have an attitude of gratitude each time you blog!

Today I am blessed to have my eyes! Though legally blind in one eye since 3rd grade, I see better now than I did a year or so ago! Thank-you, Lord, for eyes to see your beautiful Creation, and for opening the eyes of my understanding of who You are in my life!

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