Is Gratitude a Give-In?

“O Lord, listen to my cry; give me the discerning mind you promised.”-Psalm 119:169

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be. I love that we get a day off work to reflect on the gratitudes in life. To be with family, sharing good food by a warm fire, enjoying the company of the out-of-towners arguing good-naturedly over football teams. Well-behaved but active children playing tag in the back yard. Ahh, a picture perfect holiday. Too bad we can’t leave well enough alone.

For the unfortunate majority, this holiday is spent gorging ourselves on grandma’s pie, slipping into the turkey-induced coma, only to get a power nap in before the stores open nowadays as early as 10pm the night of to buy the cuisinart 5 in one griddle and other useless items just for the last minute revenue reports for the already tanked economy. Sorry. Just had to get that off the chest.

Honestly though, our ability to be happy, to be content and recognize the blessings and feel gratitude is up to us. I used to be so negative I had no real good reason to even get up in the mornings. Thanksgiving wasn’t about the people in my life and my thankfulness for them, it was about the food and the shopping. This was all due to my frame of mind. When life didn’t go my way, when people didn’t respond or act how I wanted them to, I harbored resentment and self-pity. I thought it was my job to control everything, and since I didn’t have a relationship with God, I thought I was God. Admitting I have compulsive behaviors that have caused character defects was the first step to changing my thinking and thus changing my life. The surrender of my thoughts came next. Where the mind goes, the man follows.

By spending a few moments listing out gratitudes, I am conditioning my thoughts. Our part, our responsiblity, is to practice controlling our thoughts, our emotions. We can train our brain to think positively. This isn’t just rhetoric, daytime talk show dribble-drabble. It can be our reality.

“So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. but letting the spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”-Romans 8:6

I am grateful for a forgiving and gracious God who gave me a loving husband, a family that cares for me, friends to walk with and a lake to play on. What are yours?


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