Cultivate gratitude

With all that’s happening in the world today, we need to be counting our blessings more and more. We tend to hide our heads in the sand when it comes to recognizing the suffering around us or those who don’t even have a roof over their head or the bare necessities.
If we really knew those numbers, we would hopefully, hang our heads in shame. We can try and dismiss it by saying they brought their situation on themselves because of bad choices. That is not always the case. We shouldn’t make those assumptions because unless you have walked in someone’s shoes, there is no way you could really know.
If we knew some of the stories of their lives, perhaps we wouldn’t be so quick to judge. It may be true that some homeless people did make bad choices which brought on their dire circumstances, but that’s not really for us to decide. That doesn’t change the fact that they need help or that they are human beings who deserve to eat or a coat to keep warm in the cold.
If only we would take our eyes off ourselves and really see the people around us. Many are hurting or going through things, which we will never know about. They need an encouraging word and a hug. Sometimes they just need a listening ear. Even those people you assume are doing just fine, may not be doing as good as you think.
We’ve gotten to the point that all many want to do is complain when things are going their way. Instead of complaining, they need to be thankful for what they do have and that they are breathing.
We’ve lost our sense of gratitude in the search of wanting more and more. This has spilled over into our children which is evident by those who no longer say thank you or appreciate gifts as they should. Thankfulness is an attitude, one which is contagious. Being thankful aligns our hearts with what our Creator wants. Praise should always be on our lips as long as we are living.
We should be thankful not only for the good things like our health or a happy marriage or the obvious things but for the small things which can seem insignificant to us. Things like the smell of a flower, the earth after a rain, blue skies, a child’s smile, a friend’s love and prayers that we don’t even know are are being prayed for us. Thankfulness:
• allows us to be content in our situations. It frees us from unrealistic expectations.
• brings us joy when we express that gratitude to our Creator who provides everything we need.
• reminds us that God is at work in our lives.
• spreads over to others.
• overcomes a complaining heart.
• reminds us of how much we really do have in our lives.
• changes our attitude.
• opens our hearts to the needs of others.
• as an attitude has been shown to help people live longer, sleep better and be more productive.
• attracts others to you.
• improves your mood and makes you feel better.
We should all practice focusing on what is right in our lives instead of what is wrong. This year, my youngest daughter posted something she was thankful for every day of the year, not just during the month of November. It’s something we should try ourselves. She took me saying we should be thankful every day, not just on Thanksgiving to heart. Posting something you are thankful for 365 days makes you really think about your life.
If you ever get into the complaint mode, it’s hard to get out of it, but practicing thankfulness consciously, helps you overcome that mode. Try it for at least 21 days and you’ll see a difference. They say it takes 21 days for something to become a habit so we should strive to make thankfulness a habit.
Even in the middle of a storm, find something for which you can be thankful. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude frees us from bitterness envy and jealously. Thankfulness is always in season.
If it is hard for you at first, sit down and make a list. Post that list where you can see it every day. Add to it from time to time.
Always, always be thankful. Be thankful for your home, hot water, air conditioning and heat, for our country, those who choose to serve. Be thankful you have a job, food on the table or that you can walk. Be thankful you can hear birds singing. Even be thankful for those hard lessons you learn in life. Be thankful to the local businesses and those in the community who work tirelessly and unselfishly for the betterment of the whole.
Be thankful we live in a free country and that we can still worship freely. Be thankful people step up to the plate when needed for the benefit of others. Be thankful that you can be thankful. Cultivate the attitude, that no matter what you will give thanks. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
Hope you and yours had a very blessed Thanksgiving.

VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron

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About vsimmons54

Veteran journalist of 40 years. Editor, Motivational Speaker, Ordained Minister, CEO of A Light in the Darkness Ministries, Copy Editor, Copywriting, Event Planner, Lensclusive Photography, Babbling Brook Consulting and Design, event planner and author. I love to write and speak and I love Jesus. I also do copy writing and editing. Recently co-authored Vanished Towns Revisited.
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