1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. - Psalm 107:1-3
I think an attitude of gratitude finds its root in contentment. You need to be content with where you are in life in order to be truly thankful. If you are not content, if you are not at peace with where God’s got you, it’s going to be challenging to continue to find things to be thankful for.
It’s been a rough couple of days in my family. Yesterday, my husband was laid off in a downsizing effort by his employer; and today, I have to say goodbye to my students. But we remain thankful through it all because we're content. I am so blessed to be married to a man who knows where to go when the trouble comes. Without hesitation, he reminded me God has a plan in all of this, and he shifted my focus to all that we have to be thankful for. God is good. Clearly, He wants my husband by my side as I walk through this, and for that I am so grateful. Our children were quick with the encouraging words and reminders of their love and support for us - I am beyond thankful for my children.
More than anything, though, I remain thankful for the fact that God has us walking through this trial together as a family, shifting our focus from all the little things that tend to capture our energy and our attention on a daily basis, and helping us to see life from a broader perspective. Life is so much more than the daily little things that can cause us stress. Life is precious gift and meant to be treasured. Far too often, we can get wrapped up in all the things that are wrong with our lives, and long for things to be different. If only this ____would happen, I would be happy or my life would feel complete. How would you fill in the blank? If only I didn't have cancer, if only my husband had a job, if only I didn't have to say goodbye today.... We spend so much energy wishing away our current circumstances, looking forward to what we want to change in our lives, that we forget to be present exactly where we are. I don’t want to miss these moments. I want to find joy in every moment in my present circumstances, not in some future circumstances, I don’t want to wish away where He has me because it’s difficult or uncomfortable. I am here because He wants me here, so I am trying to be content.
Contentment. When we are content, we are trusting that God’s plan is best and what we have or where we are is enough. Being content isn’t something that just happens to us, it’s something we have to pursue. We have to work at it. We live in a culture that promotes competition and greed, and pushes us to always strive for more. Turn on the tv, and it won’t take long before you’re desiring a remodeled kitchen or a new car. Scroll through Facebook, and you’ll find yourself longing for the family or friends that you see in pictures, or the adventures your friends seem to be enjoying. This world can leave you so dissatisfied with your life as it is. Discontentment takes no effort at all, but can quickly lead you down a dark path of bitterness or resentment, of jealousy or coveteousness, of sadness and despair. Contentment takes work. “I have enough.” I say it all the time to remind myself that what God has given me and where He has placed me is enough. Who am I to question the God who made the stars and the oceans? This is exactly where He wants me, and that is enough for me. Find joy in the moments you have - right here and right now. This is a gift. Don't wish it away. A heart of gratitude for all that He has done for me begins from a place of contentment for where He has me.
Press on ~ you are loved
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