Gratitude

“Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile, and a grateful heart (1)”,

I agree! Integrity is proven in your word, a smile lifts the spirit and a grateful heart is a simple gift given. We are given these gifts to share with others. Perhaps by refreshing another it can completely turn the course of their day, or at least be their highlight.

I’ve come to realize no matter what trial I’m facing, if gratitude overflows in my heart above all else, I can press forward to find the fullness of life. Such as, finding a friendship restored. Relaxing in the comforts of my home and bills paid. Or my refrigerator filled with good things to eat, and the ability to worship without restraint. There are so many things we take for granted. Along with the gift of gratitude comes the attitude we choose to maintain our responses.

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, gifts, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes (2).”

The principle is: Attitude will determine your gratitude. I’ve found that attitude is everything. I am reminded of how grateful I am by three tiles I have on my refrigerator that say, “Live with Gratitude”.  Let me share with you my experience with these three little words. .

Several months ago I was on a restricted diet. I was loosing weight. In the process I found a picture of me six months earlier. In this picture I was much heavier and even looked fat! Very fat! So, I put it on the refrigerator.  My thinking was every time I wanted to open the refrigerator to eat, I would see it and it would stop me from eating the wrong foods. In the long run I would make better food choices. I set the tile that said “gratitude” on top of the photo. It also reminded me to rejoice and be thankful for the pounds I shed. One day, I was planning to meet my sister-in-law for lunch. I wanted to show her proof of what I looked like before I lost my weight. We met, talked and I came home. Several days passed after that luncheon when I noticed the “gratitude” tile was missing. I looked everywhere for it.  I checked on top of the refrigerator…it wasn’t there. I brushed our dark counter tops…didn’t find it there. I checked on the floor, underneath the rug, in the drawers, the cabinets even in the refrigerator, but no tile found anywhere. It was lost! I lost my gratitude, so to speak! That day I asked everyone I talked to, “Have you seen my gratitude anywhere?” I made light of it and used it as a play on words, focusing on the important point of “gratitude”. I told them I’d lost it and couldn’t find it anywhere, and then I would tell my story. I wondered, “Did I take the tile to the restaurant and leave it on the table?” With so many thoughts on gratitude that day, I pondered a lot about gratitude. I even found myself praying, “Lord please keep my heart grateful for the things you’ve done and given me”. Sentiments of God’s goodness overtook me as I pondered how grateful I am for so many of God’s blessings. Through many years of struggle the Lord took such good care of me. And this I know!

When my husband came home from work, we sat down to eat dinner. Then, I began explaining my story of how I lost the gratitude tile. I told him how I looked everywhere, and the sweet sentiments I felt that day about God’s loving-kindness. When we finished eating he helped me clear the table bring the dishes up to the counter. Upon picking up the last plate to wash, I saw my lost tile of gratitude. There it was, right under my plate, hidden out of sight! But how did it get there?  I was perplexed…I’d wiped the counter well and I knew it wasn’t there before. I thought,“Well God works in mysterious ways”. But that concept didn’t resolve how it got there. And did I really believe God would come Himself and physically place it there? No! In my confusion I turned to my husband standing behind me listening to me mumble those mixed words I thought. He had a silly smirk on his face. Chuckling, firmly with my hand on my hip, I said,“Okay buddy! Where did you find it?” He replied, “Oh, it was on the side of the refrigerator, hidden under a plant leaf.  One place I didn’t look! Well, the next day I called my friends back and told them,“I finally found my gratitude”. I was indicating the value of gratitude. Gratitude does count! God gave me a great object lesson on a precious thankful heart in which I joyfully, shared with others.

Gratitude speaks loud and leaves a sweet fragrance with it!

The sweet fragrance of gratitude is seen in God’s love. It makes my heart swell so big! God’s love extends kindness to everyone. Like for instance, every breath we take is a gift of life. Every moment of existence is a blessing from above. They are sent from a compassionate Father. God gives abundantly life and breath, but also salvation, grace, goodness, kindness, forgiveness, and mercy…the lists goes on and on…too numerous to count. We have so many things to embrace and appreciate! My personal trial became a search to seek, understand, and accept, the richness of the many gifts God gives.

God lavishes us with good things for our enjoyment, so He can be glorified.

Footnotes:

1. http://www.thequotefactory.com/quote-by/zig-ziglar/among-the-things-you-can-give/55385

2.  http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/5139.Charles_R_Swindoll

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