Have you ever noticed how we often look at others and envy them because they seem to have it all together? As I think back on my life, I can remember observing certain individuals and thinking: “Man, they’ve got it made!”, but as I lived my life and grew closer to some of these folks, I realized that way too often ”looks” can be very deceiving. I have discovered in my own living and learning that most all of us that are living on this great big spinning ball of blue and green have challenges, frustrations and struggles. I have also discovered that everyone of us have a choice about how we will respond to the things that happen to us, in us and through us.
Often times, when people see me, they think that guy sure is lucky, but they have no idea the roller coaster ride that life has taken this ole boy on. I don’t think I am lucky, but I know I am blessed. Most people look at my life today and think: “This dude is one lucky dog!”, but they don’t know that there was a time that I pretty much lost everything and had to start over from scratch. A lot of folks see my relationship with a beautiful wife of almost thirty years and think: “He certainly out punted his coverage!” And they are right, but most do not realize how many times we wanted to throw up our hands and give up on each other. Looking at the life I live, a lot of people might be tempted to get jealous or envious, thinking that I have it all together, but the truth is: Everyday is a battle, learning experience and often a struggle.
I say all of that to say this: I am not better than anyone else. I am not smarter than anyone else, I am not more blessed than anyone else. If anything, I am just learning how to get out of my own way. I am learning how to let God be God and His will become the guiding force and purpose of my life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:4-7
One day as I was thinking about how my life got headed in this right direction, it hit me that it was small, consistent changes in my attitude and thinking. As I spent time with God and thought about all that I had been through and was still standing, then I could not help but to be grateful. As I looked back on all the things in my life that should have killed me, but instead made me stronger, I could not help, but to be grateful. The more grateful I became, the more I focused on the reason for my gratitude and the reason was and is God. He loves me and has a plan for my life. He does not get rid of the bad, but He does use it every time to take me some where that I could never take myself, God is growing me at whatever pace I choose and am comfortable with and that makes me very grateful for it all.
Gratitude Changed My Life! Gratitude is a spiritual practice of seeing and celebrating the good in the world around you, regardless of how bad, challenging or tough things may be. One day I realized that worry was doing me no good and decided to replace it with faith in God and His promised plan for blessing. This simple change made me grateful and started me down a path of learning and growth that has changed my life for the better in every way you could ever dream or imagine…
If there is one discipline that I could recommend that would help to get your life headed in the direction it was created for, then it would be to start practicing being grateful. When you want to get good at something, you have to practice, so here are a few ideas to help you get started:
1.) Start A Gratitude List! Take some time to start writing down and thinking about all the things that you are grateful for. Big, small and in between. Actually think about how you feel and why???
2.) Write Down Three Things You Are Grateful For Everyday In Your Journal! In my personal journal, the very first thing I write down at the top of the page is today’s date. I then write out my Scripture verse or verses for the day and then right under that Scripture, I write out 1, 2 and 3. “Thank You for _____________!
3.) Remember This: Perspective Changes Everything – Good Or Bad = The Choice Is Yours??? You are the only person that can change your perspective! The world can mess it up, but you’ve got the power to fix it and making and taking the time to make sure that it is right will change your life.
God loves you and God made you, because He wants to bless you, because you really are something special…