Monday, September 24, 2012

Gratitude Works

When you think of someone in shape physically, what comes to your mind? I think of someone who's muscles are toned and a person who has a lot of energy. Being grateful does similar things for our spirit. When someone is grateful, they have energy to go about God's work joyfully. They are eager to give of their time and attention to others and have a positive attitude about the future. Before I was in recovery, I often thought being grateful went right along with having great circumstances. Now I know that is not necessarily true. We can be in physical pain, financial stress, and other of life's many challenges, and still keep a grateful outlook!

How is this possible? It is attainable through exercising our "gratitude muscles" and we can get into great shape, just like a bodybuilder can through consistent exercise. Start  out small. Write down ten things you are thankful for and start off your daily prayer time thanking God for those ten things. If you are having trouble coming up with ten things, then start off each day thanking God for this promise: "For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death." Even if we have nothing pleasant in our present circumstances, if we are baptized Christians, we all have heaven to look forward to.

I used to try and drum up gratitude, saying to myself: "You should be grateful. C'mon, get grateful." I don't think anyone is particularly motivated by someone yelling at them, even if that person is themself! I didn't see that I needed to strengthen my gratitude muscles like any other muscles. It rarely happens naturally. Now I think differently about gratitude. When I am down about life's problems, I need to spend extra time thanking God for the good in my life. At the very least, I can be thankful for God's many promises. The more you strengthen your gratitude muscles, the easier it will be for you to become a grateful person. The Bible says in Phillipians 4:12-13, "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. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." If the apostle Paul can say this while in a rat-infested prison, then I can say it too, in even less dismal circumstances! God bless - SusyQ