Gratitude: The Gift of Contentment
This Will Lift Up Your Joy!
7 Reasons for Thankfulness
I try to make a mental list daily, and these are my top 7:
1) The love of God, which is life support to me. He is my reminder, of every season, not only Christmas, which really is all about His heart toward humanity in sending His Son to Earth to represent Him more clearly. He sustains me when I am weary, gives me hope when I can't seem to find it, changes my heart to care when I can't summon it up in and of myself. He heals my heart pain, (and sometimes my physical ailments as well) provides everything I need to be content and at peace, and provides the right people in my life at the right time for my growth and well being. Sometimes He takes things or people away, but it is through those losses that I learn compassion that is able to be transferred to others in their hour of need. He never gives up on me when I give up on everything.
2) My family, the strategic community I was placed in for time and eternity. All of them in some special way contribute to who I am becoming. They also help me understand how I want to relate or don't want fit into the negative collective cultures within mankind
3) My friendships, forged in the good times and the difficult. Especially my closest ones, who tell me the truth and help me grow exponentially through humility. Sometimes I don't like their advice, but that doesn't mean I don't need to hear it!
4) My faith community, those who have mentored and pastored and ministered to me through my education and practical ministry to the lost, hurting, suffering, which sometimes include my family and friends.
5) The people I serve from my God-enlarged heart, and who remind me what is important in life: the simplest, most meaningful exchanges, transactions and values that keep me committed to not forgetting how everyone fits into this world that appears exclusive to so many.
6) The technology to transcend physical obstacles, and communicate with people from all backgrounds and cultures and needs. It has made my world so much larger than myself which it well should be, and expands my thinking when it becomes myopic through the blessings and challenges of my "extended family of friends."
7) My health which allows me to be carried practically through my world, and reminds me from time to time of the fragility and frailties that limitations can present to many. This is my reminder to never forget those who are set aside and to take time and patience to include them in important activities and events when it takes more time and effort to do so. I am so grateful for the lessons they have learned and taught me through suffering that cannot be gained any other way.
7 Reasons to Be Thankful
From time to time, everyone experiences days they would rather forget. On difficult days, when little seems to be going right, are you able to you dig yourself out of the mud? Over the years, I learned one of the greatest secrets to disarming discontentment. It is to find things to be grateful for, and shift your focus to helping someone else is usually a great way to move into joy.
Gratitude. A forgotten word for some, a most important for others, yet for all, it can be a word that brings hope and healing, and often a new "lease" on life. It is also an effective antidote to the sickness of self-centeredness, and it is contagious, without ever harms the receiver. You can't get sick from it, and you can always give it away without losing it yourself. Isn't that amazing? If it's been a long time since you have been optimistic, and you need to find it, read on!
It's quite obvious in our world today, that not everyone has enough happiness, but I am talking here about the deep-seated joy that isn't determined or affected by circumstance. Some want to learn how to give, yet haven't learned to care about or put the welfare of others in the forefront, even temporarily. It may be hard to believe, but there are people so narcissitic, that they have never been drawn out of the selfish mode. It's a greater stretch when you are feeling mistreated or unappreciated, or worse, invisible. People with greater struggles than my own help me keep perspective. They may often seem to have less reason to find joy, but somehow have learned be happier than the richest person in the world.
I am often overwhelmed with all that I had to be thankful for. The basics, shelter, clothing, food, yes, of course, people who genuinely care about me. How often we can forget to say the most simple thank you's to the people around us who are meaningful to us.
Early this morning I received a thank you from a woman who is gratefully flourishing in recovery. I gave her 20 days of my life, some inspired counseling of which I was not the initiator but the messenger, and 3 years of prayer. Through every experience I learn much, it was worth it because she matters in life to a whole lot more people. The simple act of a thank you, lifted my spirits to go on and reach out to another.
Gratitude is so contagious. It can spread quickly to others, and its rewards are astounding. It is the antidote to complaining, and it literally stops gossip dead in its tracks. I want to be around grateful people because it rubs off on me, I start thinking of all the people I could thank for pouring their lives into me, and do something special to let them know. I feel better inside whenever the focus isn't on me and my problems, so I am sure it will probably work for you.
So here's a challenge:
Praise others for who they are and what they do to contribute to your world.
Believe the best in others, everyone is generally doing the best they can, and if it doesn't seem like it to you, look in a mirror.
Write thank you cards, (not on a computer) and mail them. Every one likes real mail, remember they pull it right out of the junk mail and see if it's for them.
Pay something forward today! Anything is generally acceptable and appreciated.
Make a meal or take a meal to someone who can't get around.
Take time when someone tells you they aren't feeling great and listen, and pray if possible.
Offer someone gas money if they are driving you around all the time.
Bake cookies for a friend.
Thank God at the end of the day for what you do have instead of complaining about what you don't.
Practice makes Progress
Everyone who is in my life matters because we cannot live isolated, even when it hurts. I am not one to easily give up, even when it costs me something. It is my deep relationships with people that help me stay in that attitude of the heart. Perhaps that is why I have chosen gratitude as a way of life.
I am convinced that when these categories are remembered, I am healthier for it, whether spiritually, physically, or emotionally. When I am heartsick, a return to this checklist might be just the recipe I need to be apply for my own health and recovery.
Feel free to make a list of your own and share it with others, as you thank them for what they have contributed to your life. See if it doesn't change your outlook!