Whatever you’re feeling right now, you have chosen to feel it. That’s right. Once an emotion delivers its message, you are free to send it on its way and instead choose to feel grateful.
Like most things, it looks easy when you see it on the screen. But real life isn’t quite so simple.
The trend for 2020 and even 2021 has been disillusionment and overwhelm. You don’t have to look far to see it in the faces of strangers and friends.
We can’t control circumstances. Nor can we change a pandemic or its affects. But what we can change is our attitude about those things.
When hard things hit us, we think, “I’m a victim.”
We didn’t choose what happened to us. Not the pink slip from our employer. The harsh medical diagnosis at what we thought was a routine exam isn’t what we expected, either.
What do you feel when you get that news? Sadness. Self-pity.
I’ll admit that sometimes I geta bit irritated. Hello? Haven’t I been serving the Lord and now this hard thing happens? That seems mighty unfair.
Time for a reality check. A look at the life of Apostle Paul brings perspective.
“…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” Philippians 4:11b KJV
You know what the difference in the poor me and contentment mindset? A single choice.
Rather than seeing circumstances as something that controlled his life, Paul saw them as an opportunity to experience God in a deeper way.
When you catch yourself spiraling into self-pity or indignation, stop. Take a deep breath.
Say: “I choose to be grateful.”
Oh, not for the circumstances. Eventually, maybe we’ll get to the level of spiritual maturity that we can be grateful for the ugly diagnosis or sudden loss.
Corrie ten Boom thought her sister was crazy when she said they should be grateful for the fleas in their beds and clothes in the concentration camp.
Corrie couldn’t see a single reason to be thankful for the tiny biting pests. They made everything more uncomfortable. And the camp had made them derelict enough. Couldn’t God keep those bugs from biting?
If you’ve read The Hiding Place, you know that eventually Corrie and her sister discovered why they should remain grateful for fleas in their clothes and living quarters. Those little pests kept the guards out, and that meant the prisoners were free to talk about scripture, sing, and pray without interference.
Suffering is never fun. But some of the most grateful people I know have suffered the most in life. Instead of focusing on the pain and loss, they shifted their perspective toward Heaven.
No, we may never like those painful circumstances, but when we search for the unexpected gifts they bring to our life, it keeps us from a victim mentality.
Maybe I haven’t learned to be content among the fleas, but I’m learning to stop looking at those things and start seeking out the goodness of God instead. It’s always there: the sun behind the clouds or the rainbow overlaying the gray clouds.
How can you choose gratitude today?