A month of gratitude! Let’s focus on gratitude throughout the month of November. I challenge you to look around and be more aware of the blessings in your life. And each day write down at least five things you are thankful for.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
Most of us have dreams, goals, desires, and wishes. It could be something significant, such wanting to get married. Or it could be something smaller, like the desire for extra sleep. These things could be long-term, such as the goal of achieving a master’s degree. Or they could be more immediate, like wanting a steak for dinner. All of these things are something we want. Whether we want it now or later, we still want them.
It is good to have goals for the future and it is good to know what you want in this moment – if those things align with God’s will. We get ourselves into trouble when we can’t have what we want or when things don’t go as desired, and then we allow this to bring us down or to alter our perspective.
A while back I applied for a job that I really wanted. According to the job description, I knew the work well and wouldn’t need much training to get up to speed. And I knew some of the team members already from prior work experience. But the main thing that I loved about this job was that I would be able to work from home. Once this opening became available, a friend of mine on the team put in a good word for me. I just knew this job was mine. I had no doubts.
When I went into the interview, things changed. I was asked about a couple of different software programs which I never heard of before. And these tasks that I was asked about did not align with the job description. I was honest and I told the manager interviewing me that I was not familiar with the software, but I was sure I could learn whatever was needed. In the end, another candidate got the job. I was devastated because of my initial confidence that this job was mine. (Perhaps pride was an issue here?)
Later on I learned some things about the job that made me realize this job was not in my best interest. God closed this door for a reason. But one important thing that came out of this was a stronger sense of gratitude. I was grateful that God did not give me what I wanted, because it was not the best path. But, ultimately, this also taught me to be grateful for today and grateful for what I have now.
The picture below was shared on Facebook recently by Maria Haxton Ministries International. https://www.facebook.com/326496561475589/photos/a.345248092933769/531526474305929/?type=3&theater)
Too often, we take the things we have for granted. And as the picture above illustrates, someone out there might be wishing for the very thing that we overlook each day. When we walk in gratitude, we embrace the here and now. We embrace the day-to-day. We embrace the small stuff. Because the majority of life is in the small stuff. If we don’t take time to look around and enjoy where we are today and what we have today, we will miss out on a multitude of blessings. If you don’t appreciate what you have now, then chances are you won’t appreciate the things you are hoping for, once you get them. If you don’t appreciate today, then chances are you won’t appreciate tomorrow, once it arrives.
I was texting my friend Lorraine the other day, and she put it this way, “I am working on my patience and enjoying the moment. Yesterday is dead. Tomorrow is yet to be born. But right now is mine and yours.” Such wise words! If only we could keep this perspective all the time. When we are waiting to be seen at a doctor’s office, when we are stuck in traffic, when our homes aren’t as clean as we would like, when we have too many tasks in front of us, or when we don’t get what we want, I pray we can remember to still find contentment in this moment.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Scripture says to give thanks in ALL circumstances. The word “all” is key in this verse. Whether we get what we want or not. Whether things are going as planned or not. The Bible still instructs us to be thankful.
God showers us with so many blessings, each and every day. We just have to take the time to look around and notice them. As you go about your day today, I hope you can keep this in mind, and be grateful for today. Remember that every day is a gift from God!
(I will be sharing similar gratitude related posts here each Thursday of this month. So be sure to visit again. And on the first four Saturdays of this month, I will be sharing similar gratitude related posts on my author website. If you want to read last Saturday’s post, click here.)