If we want to keep the blessings of life coming to us, we must learn to be grateful for whatever is given.
Gratitude is an interesting character trait. It requires us at times to really dig deep to find something, something to be grateful for. As the quote says, we must LEARN to be grateful for whatever is given.
So, how do you learn to be grateful? I think this is an individual endeavor. What works for me may not work for you. I started out with the 5-minute journal and followed the instructions that it provides at the beginning of it when you pull it out of the package that arrives. “List three things you are grateful for” in the morning. “List three things you are grateful for” in the evening before bed. This simple, short exercise helped me finally grasp what it means to be grateful.
When I first started I listed out the common things everyone is grateful for. I was grateful for my wife. I was grateful for my stepdaughters. I was grateful for my immediate family. After a while, when I began to see the benefits of explicitly writing down what I was grateful for, I began to get more detailed. Instead of “I am grateful for my wife” I would write down “I am grateful for my wife because she works so hard to take care of me and our girls.” When I began writing the specifics of why I was grateful for something, the feeling I had changed to a stronger feeling.
There’s another quote I began to think about during this time period. The quote reads, “Things are done for us, not to us.” I don’t know who the author of this quote is, but it had an impact on me. Think about that for a moment. Things are done for you, not to you. Think of the last time you had that “woe is me” feeling. Now think about this quote. It is hard to capture gratitude when things are crumbling around you, but if you truly embrace, “things are done for you, not to you”, you begin to see that God is doing everything for you so you can become a more spiritual being.
Maybe God is trying to tell you to change your diet, or it’s time to get a new job, or it’s time to move to a new area. If you believe that God is doing things for you and not to you, some events in your life that are traumatic or unsettling, take on a whole new light.
These attitudinal changes make a huge difference in how you approach your day. Think how good you will feel when you discover that nothing can rattle you, that your internal happiness cannot be affected by the changes in weather, what other people do or don’t do, or how things turn out for you. The human mind is so feeble and incapable of grasping the whole that we rarely see how God works in our lives, nor in the lives of others. It is beyond the human mind’s capability to see the infinite amount of variables that intertwine to make our reality.
Gratitude is a simple character trait. It is being grateful for your life. It is being grateful for what you have. It is being purposefully grateful for the blessings that God has given you. The ego and the human mind are very small vessels. They are necessary for our survival, but easily offended, upset, and dumbfounded. This is where a faith-belief must take hold in your heart. If God is perfect, which IT is, everything in this universe must be in its rightful place—everything. Everything that God does for us must be received as a blessing not a curse.
When you begin shifting your attention from what you don’t have to what you do have your life will take on a whole new meaning. Try this out. Use a pad of paper, a journal, or a computer program (I use MS OneNote) to do my gratitude journaling. It has made a huge impact on my life and it will do the same for you.
If any of you try this, keep me posted on any changes you feel or what impact this change in attitude brings into your life. Feel free to leave your revelations or insights in the comments below.
As always, have a great Saturday!
Until next time…