I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. We have so much to be grateful for even when life is difficult or painful. The blessings co-exist alongside the difficulties.
Some people have mastered being thankful. I know – because, when I was much younger, God gave me three mentors. They modeled thankfulness and exercised impeccable graciousness even when things weren’t going well. I’m not going to tell you who they are. But I will tell you that two of them – their names start with “M” and both end in “e.” And the third person rules a country – well, sort of!
Thanksgiving helps us remember the bountiful blessings we have. Thankfulness is a lovely quality that emulates God’s character. And since character forms the fiber of our very soul, it’s worth investing in the very best character possible. My mentors have given a wonderful example of what things to aim for. I want to share them with you.
Did you know your choices about thankfulness reflect your relationship with God? They reveal your level of commitment and love back to God. They measure your trust in Him. And they determine whether you will follow through in 2 things: obeying Him and resting in Him. All these show how much gratitude you have and what kind of perspective you live with daily.
If thankfulness tells this much about you from your inside out, what can you do to get more of it? And how do you live unafraid to show who you really are?
How can you take the sour load life dumps on you and squeeze out a glass of something sweet? Your heart was created by a Designer to do 7 very specific things as you live your life in “Lemon Land.” Every one of these 7 things flows out of a very specific character quality: FAITH!
If you were unable to catch Part 1 of this 3 part series, I hope you will take a look. It focuses on how to “stay sweet” . . . and stay away from the sour end of life’s scale. Daily, there’s temptation to suck on a lemon. But really, all you get from that practice is a “pucker face.” Part 1 talks about how being grateful and staying sweet requires DISCIPLINE. [For your convenience – Part 1 and Part 3.]
PART 2: Being grateful and staying sweet requires PERSPECTIVE.
Life is pretty challenging, and lots of hard things happen. So, you need to be deliberate in responding. Intentional Living is needed.
You may have made some good long-term decisions to wield your character. Maybe you put lots of energy into practicing certain graces. You might be one of those rare people who has exercised admirable manners in daily challenges.
Then suddenly, life treats you quite badly. Another person or group mistreats you. Perhaps you lose in a business arrangement. Maybe your health takes an unexpected plunge. Or you just might be stuck living, long-term, with someone that is sour. Whatever happens, it is possible for you to stay on the “sweet end” of the spectrum. I mean genuinely – to the center of your heart – who you really are: no faking, no acting. You don’t have to slip to the “sour end.”
I found myself defining gratitude a bit differently this year. In past seasons of life, I’d always defined it as being thankful. Over time, I came to say it is an attitude – of gratitude. This year, however, I added new bits to the definition. I began embracing deeper elements that only come in trials and great difficulties, the kind that are somehow important to your well-being as you suffer. Read More …