"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." - 1 Thessalonians 5:18b (NIV)
There's a book out by M. J. Ryan called Attitudes of Gratitude. I haven't read it yet but it's on my list of "to be read". The title says it all, though, and goes right along with this verse.
I'm to have an attitude of gratitude in ALL circumstances in my life. Yes, ALL!! Not just when things are going smoothly and life is grand. I'm also to have that kind of attitude when everything in my life is in turmoil and heading straight down the toilet. There are several verses in the Bible to back this up.
Hebrews 12:28 (NIV): "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe."
Psalm 100:4 (NIV): "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name."
1 Timothy 2:1 (NIV): "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone."
Psalm 107:1 (NIV): "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever."
I'm sure you're thinking to yourself, "God doesn't really mean that I'm supposed to be thankful no matter what, does He?" My answer to you (and to myself) is, "Yes He does". It's His will for us, just as this verse says. "My husband lost his job, our house is in foreclosure, we have bills we can't pay and I'm supposed to be thankful!?" Yes! "My kids won't listen, my boss is a jerk, my husband ignores me and I'm supposed to be thankful!?" Yes! "My health is terrible, I don't have good insurance, I can't pay my deductible and I'm supposed to be thankful!?" Yes! Whatever scenario is playing out in our lives, we make the decision to have an attitude of gratitude....or not.
If you can't find anything to be thankful for in your life, then you've chosen not to have an attitude of gratitude. You've closed yourself off to the miracles God performs each and every day. There's always, ALWAYS something in your life to thank God for, if you choose to open your eyes and mind to the blessings He has bestowed upon you.
Just like you, I have a choice of two different attitudes. Choice #1: moan, whine and complain. Choice #2: pray, laugh and praise. I don't know about you, but I know which choice makes me feel better and I also know I'd rather be around someone who chooses to be thankful. There is nothing worse than being around someone, who, no matter how good they have it, thinks they have the worst life ever. They never have enough of anything good in their life. And they sure don't want to hear about your problems, do they?
I want to be a woman with an attitude of gratitude to my Lord. No matter what circumstances I find myself in, I want to be able to find the blessings. Right now, as all 5 grandkids are here, fighting and arguing loudly with each other, I am thankful that they are all here and healthy. I am thankful that they keep me on my toes. I am thankful that they keep me young. I am thankful that, even as they frustrate me sometimes, they make me laugh even more often. An attitude of gratitude makes all the difference!!
"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances." - Martha Washington
Dear Lord, let me be a woman of gratitude. I have been so blessed by You in my life. Let me be humble and thankful in all circumstances. Let me praise You in word and deed today and every day. May my attitude bring You all the glory. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.