Thanksgiving is the time of year in which we are reminded to be thankful or to have—–an Attitude of Gratitude. Needless to say, as a child of God, I must possess this attitude beyond the holiday season. In fact, it is my daily goal. Although I sometimes fall short, through prayer, praise and reading God’s Word, I find myself becoming more grateful.
It took me years to finally understand that having an Attitude of Gratitude is a choice. I was (and still am) a radical praiser, the one who could be heard all over the sanctuary with my loud voice. I found it easy to forget about my problems and just focus on the Lord whenever I was in the presence of other believers. Besides, I’ve always loved church! Even as a teenager, I enjoyed the music, the singing, the high praise, and powerful preaching. I especially loved witnessing someone accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, get healed, or even delivered. I would cry as if it were me standing at the altar. However, I didn’t always maintain that same attitude of praise once the service ended. Why? I didn’t have what I like to now call an Attitude of Gratitude. I wasn’t continually grateful; instead of appreciating all the blessings I had, I focused on what I didn’t have.
I can recall a time in the 8th grade when one of my classmates asked me a question which left me stunned! We had just returned to the locker room from gym class and were preparing to go on to the next bell, when she asked, “Kim, why are you so mean?” I didn’t know how to answer that question because I didn’t consider myself mean. Looking back on it, I now know that she mistook my lack of gratitude for meanness. For instance, I only smiled if someone gave me a reason to smile. Since I didn’t like everything about myself, I wasted time comparing myself to other people. Because I focused on what I thought were good qualities in others, I failed to see the good qualities I already possessed, those qualities God had place inside of me. SO, I didn’t smile. Now, please understand that I am in no way saying that I was never happy or had a horrible childhood. Not at all! God blessed me with two awesome parents!!! Although they later divorced, they continued to take excellent care of my brother and me. I just didn’t understand, at the time, that I could smile and be happy just because…just because I’m alive…just because God is GOD!!!!
I carried this mindset into adulthood because I still didn’t get it! I was a young woman with two college degrees, a career, a home, a car, and, most importantly, a relationship with God. Nevertheless, I would allow myself to have moments of depression because of the one thing I felt like was missing from my life……………A HUSBAND! I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit it now, but it’s the truth! Although I had so many other great blessings, I believed that I couldn’t truly be happy until I had a man in my life. In fact, there were times I REFUSED to be happy! I thought that if I cried long enough and hard enough, that God would grant me my wish (as if God were a “genie in a bottle”). I was foolishly waiting for a man to make me happy when I could just choose to be happy by having an Attitude of Gratitude. My situation reminds me of Adam and Eve in the third chapter of Genesis. They had all those delightful trees at their disposal, but they just HAD to eat from the tree God told them to leave alone. They became so fixated on that ONE tree, that they failed to appreciate the ABUNDANCE God had already given them!
Fast forwarding to today, currently I don’t make the amount of money I was making before and, that’s okay! It’ll come around again! I understand that God had to take me on a journey, in order to make me into the woman I am now. In other words, God had to humble me! Even though I don’t have as many materialistic things as I once did, I am happier than I’ve ever been! Why? In time I came to learn that, as a child of God, I must have an Attitude of Gratitude. Just praising the Lord in church is not enough; my attitude must always be right. The apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:12, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” As the scripture explains, God expects us to be grateful in every situation. Now that I choose to maintain an Attitude of Gratitude, I find myself smiling A LOT. I laugh as often as possible, even when no one is watching. As Nehemiah 8:10 says, the joy of the Lord is my strength! Moreover, my relationship with God is stronger than ever, which is more important to me than anything or anyone in this world. No one can love me and take care of me like God can!
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