The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment
and to thank God for all that He, in His goodness, sends to us day after day.
~ St Gianna Beretta Molla
Not too long ago, in dealing with someone, it occurred to me that I rarely heard the person being thankful about anything. When I pointed it out, to my surprise and disappointment, the person replied, There was a time when I thanked God hundreds of times a day. I was surprised because I was actually right; disappointed because it felt as if God needed to earn this person’s thankfulness.
Perhaps, I should not have been disappointed at all. After all, I am pretty familiar with the struggle to be thankful. Even till now, I struggle to make a thankful spirit part of my identity. So many in my family circle are not particularly thankful people too. I believe that many of us might need to work at building up a thankful disposition. Part of that problem might just be because many of us have such a limiting view of thankfulness and thanksgiving. We believe that the stone jars in our lives must be filled to the brim with the things we set our hearts on before we can offer up genuine thanks.
And yet, thankfulness is so much more.
It is indeed the rejoicing spirit when things fall in place and dreams come true, when our tables are laden and the heart content. But when our days stretch out long and dry and empty, thanksgiving becomes more of the gathering to the heart of all the old blessings we have received.
If it doesn’t flow naturally, that is when being thankful will likely be most needed.
A grateful heart is a happy heart! I always think of the verse from Lamentations 3:22-23: ‘God’s mercies are new every morning.’ God showers gifts on us day in and day out. The gifts are without end. If we live in a spirit of gratitude, and we work to live our lives that way, we come to understand that ‘our cup of blessing does overflow.’ (Psalm 23:5) This does not mean that we do face heartbreak and many hardships. It means that even in times of turmoil, grief, and sadness, we remember the One who calls us by name and loves us forevermore as His children. We are always in His heart and that is such a wonderful place to be! Praise God!
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We miss out on so much peace and joy, don’t we, when we are not sufficiently grateful. For those of us who do not possess a naturally grateful heart, working to live our lives in gratitude, as you put it, is very important.
Keeping a gratitude journal is very helpful for me. If I am having a not so great day, and then I write about it, I see little things that actually ‘went right’. The more we can focus on the things in our lives that are going ‘right’, the better everything is. I do believe that a positive attitude goes a long, long way. It does take practice, like all things in life. But kind of like a wave that knocks you down on the beach, you have to keep getting back up and starting all over again. With God’s help a positive mindset does create more joy in our lives. It opens us up to possibilities we never dreamed ‘possible’. God wants to infuse our lives with His love, joy, and peace at all times…even in the really hard times.
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