My personal life now includes no travel, canceled events, less income, fewer family gatherings, and bear hugs that seem a thing of the past. Shopping is more complicated, and face masks are a new unwanted accessory.
In my universe, there is social unrest, Saharan dust clouds, and threats of Russian bounties to American troops. I admit, if I am not intentional, it is easy to get a little down.
How about you? Do the events of your world threaten your joy? Me too! But here is my weapon that helps me not spiral downward into a dark pit. 🙂
I have to remember that a heart of gratitude will change my attitude. When I focus on the negative, my approach will be negative. When I focus on the positives, I naturally become more positive. No matter how difficult life becomes, I can find something for which to be grateful. One practical way to accomplish this is an intentional habit of identifying three new gifts each day. Each item listed must be different from anything named in the past. Once completing this practice for a year, a thousand gifts will be recognized. As I give thanks to the Giver of all my gifts, my gratitude returns. This challenge was from Ann VosKamp in her book “A Thousand Gifts.” I highly recommend it. It has changed my life, Honest. Because a heart of gratitude will change your attitude.
Implement this practice by looking for beauty all around you. Yes, there are parts of this world that are not so pretty. However, there is much beauty as well. For these gifts, I can be thankful. I pause today to see His handiwork (such as these flowers in my yard.) I choose to soak in the freshness of God’s creativity and beauty. When I praise Him for His gifts, my gratitude grows.
Another way is to think of what I DO have instead of what I do not have. Yes, I am not traveling now, but I have a safe, cozy, air-conditioned home with practically everything I need. For this I am grateful. Yes, my events have been canceled, but all events have been rescheduled – For this I am grateful. Yes, I have less income because I am not teaching, but my husband does have a job – For this I am grateful. Yes, bear hugs are a thing of the past, but true love bears all things – For this I am grateful. Yes, shopping is more difficult, but I can choose to still shop – For this I am grateful. Yes, I have to wear a face mask, but I have a real cute one. 🙂
Another way for me to keep a grateful heart is to remember who my God is. Even when the world around me changes, He never changes. Nothing takes Him by surprise. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lord. He is ever-powerful and always with me. He loves you and me deeply. He is on our side. What more do we need, really?
Friend, if you are starting to spiral into a dark pit, pause to choose a grateful heart. Because a heart of gratitude will change your attitude. So, what are you grateful for today? I challenge you to pause and praise the Giver of all good gifts. You can start with the simple beauty around you. You can identify what you do have instead of what you do not have. You can praise Him for His unchanging love and goodness in your life. Let’s have hearts of gratitude and change our attitudes.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 (NIV)