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Saturday, November 16, 2019

Recent Reflections - November 2019: Having Gratitude vs. Attitude

This is the eleventh Recent Reflections post of 2019.  Recent Reflections goes live the third Friday or Saturday of each month.  Each Recent Reflections post covers something that I'm reflecting on.  If you'd like to share a post with a similar theme, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your post, and I'll hop on over and leave a comment (and maybe some other readers will, too).

This month, I will be reflecting on having gratitude vs. attitude rule our lives.

I'm sure you're aware of or even part of the trend that comes every November.  You know the one - share something you are grateful for every day through the entire month of November.  Don't get me wrong; I think this is a great idea.  However, why do we just do this in November?  Why must we only be thankful during Thanksgiving and the month that it falls in?

A month of gratitude means very little when {bad} attitude rules our lives the other eleven months of the year.

Ouch.  That's a hard truth to face, but definitely one we {read that as I} need to reflect upon.

I like to call myself a realist, and to some that translates as pessimist.  I am not overly negative, but I am definitely not oozing positivity.  If I am really honest, my realistic side lends itself to being less grateful.  That's not something I want in my life.

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Everything?  Surely God doesn't mean everything.  I mean He can't possibly want me to be thankful for the rude neighbor, the coworker who is dead set against me and trying to get me fired, the broken bone I have, the bad health I am facing, the {insert scary or bad thing here}, etc.  I mean, God doesn't want me to be grateful for bad things, does He?

Everything means everything.
That's the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, and everything in between.

Why?  Because every path has its uphill, its twist, its valley, its narrow, its scary, its wide, and its beautiful.  You cannot reach your destination without following that path, and you most assuredly will miss something amazing if you don't let God lead you down the path He has for you because everyone knows the most beautiful views are at the top of the hardest climbs.  Worthwhile paths are not meant to be easy, but at least you have God with you to hold your hand and help carry you through it if you're a Christian.

When you go through your hard days, remember that the beautiful view is coming.  You're just going up a hard climb.  Keep your focus on the fact that you are not alone (you have friends, family, and God {if you're a Christian}), and that you will make it to the top if you don't give up.

You never know what what is waiting for you or what you're being protected from.  

What if breaking your leg means you lose a job, but a new and better job is gained because of it?  You'd never have gotten the new job without breaking your leg.

What if being delayed at home due to a missing shoe or missing car keys helped you miss a car accident?  You could have ended up in the hospital or worse if it had not been for a few minutes delay looking for said keys or shoe.

The next time you find yourself in a bad situation, think about what worse thing you could be being saved from.  That will help you be more grateful for sure.  I know it works for me!

But what about the serious health situations?  What about an untimely death?  How can I be grateful for those?  Truth?  You should never be grateful that someone is sick or has died, and that's not what a life of gratitude is about.  What you can do, however, is choose not to let those negatives dominate your life.  If the case of death, grieve, of course, but then live your life to honor the loved one that has been lost.  In the case of illness, live your life to the best of your ability and don't focus on what you can't do.  That's how you live a life of being grateful in the light of these horrible situations - live with the joy of having had a deceased loved one in your life, and/or live with the joy of having whatever positive health things you do have.  

Being grateful doesn't always mean being grateful for the situation.  It just means not letting the situation rob you of your joy.

Christians, the next time you are faced with an unexpected, take a minute to breathe and ask the Lord to let you not be ruled by an emotion.  Ask Him to help you keep your joy and let Him work through the situation in such a way that you can show others His grace and goodness by your reaction and actions.  This is my goal, and I know it will help me have a gratitude "problem" vs. an attitude problem.

{If you have never read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, I highly recommend it!  It talks a lot about being grateful in some of the worst conditions imaginable.  It will definitely change your life.}

I truly hope this post has been a blessing to your heart, or at the least made you stop and think a little.  What has God done in your life lately to bless you?  What are you reflecting on?

Have a wonderful weekend!

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