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An Attitude of Thanksgiving

Sometimes when I look back to my pre-teen and teenage years I wonder how my parents made it through with two girls a little more than two years apart in age. My sister and I are opposites in many ways but one thing we shared in those years was a dislike for helping out around the house and especially emptying the dishwasher. I chuckle to myself about it now since it generally takes less than 10 minutes to put a full load of dishes away and we were only delegated to each empty one rack! Oh the complaining and the arguments over who had to empty the bottom rack (that is where the silverware is after all, thus creating MORE work!)

I don’t know how many times one of us was told “you’d better change your attitude!”

Luke 6:45 tells us:

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Have you noticed the difference in what comes out of your mouth when you are stressed compared to when you are relaxed and having a good time? When we are under a great deal of stress (external or internal) we often choose to concentrate on the negative instead of the positive. Soon the negative will affect our attitude and without even realizing they slip out of our mouths.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 charges us

Rejoice always,

pray continually,

give thanks in all circumstances

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

WHAT?

This is a big order to be dished up for us! After all, we all have troubles and times when things aren’t really going so well. And God’s word says we are to give thanks?

Notice the verse doesn’t say to give thanks about all circumstances but in all circumstances.

I think it all comes down to attitude.

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When the attitude of our heart is one of thankfulness to God for what we have and His grace and faithfulness to us it is easier to give thanks even when things are not going well around us.

As Thanksgiving approaches we focus more on being thankful. That is a good thing. But what about 3 weeks from today? Thanksgiving Day will have passed and many will be recovering from Black Friday shopping. The Christmas season will officially be in full-swing. The stress will increase and it will be more difficult to give thanks.

It is said that it takes 21 days to make a habit and 21 days to break a habit.

We have just that – 21 days!

Let’s spend part of each of the coming days giving thanks and asking God to help us change our attitudes to one of being thankful in ALL circumstances. Over these 3 weeks we will certainly see a change in our hearts, minds and actions! We will have a habit of thanks which will become an attitude of thanks.

Don’t think of it as a chore but as an opportunity.

Attitudes are catchy. Make it your goal to spread an attitude of thanks.

blessings & peace…and thankfulness for all of you!
Paula

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The Choice

I had an “Ah-Ha” moment on the way home from work yesterday. The day had been crazy busy, phones incessant with non-stop needs. I had a headache, terrible tension in my neck and shoulders and I was feeling rather crabby.

Driving home I was revisiting the day, holding on to every negative feeling and still hearing the phone ring, getting grumpier and oh so tired. Then I thought about all the things I had to do when I got home and I was more overwhelmed. I was longing for the next few hours to be over so that I could just go to bed!

 

Then the “Ah-Ha” thought came – IT’S OVER!!

It was not a new thought and certainly not earth-shaking but at that moment for me it was life-changing.

I had a choice to make. It was a choice of whether to allow the ugliness of my day to affect the evening or to change my perspective and look forward, not behind. I could choose to allow my past experiences carry through or I could let go.

And it was my choice. 

I realize we don’t always have the ability to control our environments or our circumstances. We can’t control the attitudes of others or how they act or react to us. And sometimes that can bring us down. We can’t always control our work environment; whether our electronics will act properly, how much the phone will ring or how many problems will be brought to us. Sometimes we simply have to enter survival mode.

What I realized on my way home yesterday is that what we can control is what comes next. When the chaos is over, phones turned off for the day, electronics set aside and people are gone it is up to us to choose what comes next.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

We CAN control our thoughts. And we CAN control how we move forward.

Here are some practical things to remember and apply when you’re feeling at the end of your rope:

1. Look back and find the good/happy/”smile” moments in your day.

  • It is so easy to see the bad/negative, but I’m sure there are at least one or two good things too. For me it was a patient bringing donuts because he appreciated the ladies in our front office, and the lighthearted moments with my coworkers here and there.

2. Let go of grudges, judgment, etc. 

  • I tend to be quick to analyze the actions, words and attitudes of others. The way I interpret them sometimes lead to judgement and bad attitude on my own part. I discovered the freedom yesterday in letting go.
  • Ask yourself, does it really matter? Or am I being petty?

3. Take a long, deep breath. REALLY!

  • Yes, it sounds a little cheesy. But it does work. We don’t realize how much we hold our breath or have shallow breathing when we are upset or under stress. Stopping and forcing yourself to take a long, deep breath or two will remind yourself to release the physical stress which in turn helps your mind!

4. Look for the good ahead of you.

  • When I allowed myself to think about the beautiful weather around me, the lovely drive home, the fact that I had the next day off, and family and a cute little dog at home waiting for me helped me change my perspective to look ahead instead of back.

I don’t mean to sound simplistic, but my “Ah-Ha” moment is that sometimes it really is.

It’s a choice.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

May blessings and peace be yours today as you choose the best for YOU!

Paula