Thankful Hearts

Remember the last time you opened that milk in the fridge, took a sniff, and realized with a gag that it was immensely sour?

With the memory of that sour stench lingering, try to remember the last time you had an attitude with a similar odor… Today was one of those days. I woke very early (like still night) and couldn’t go back to sleep. I prayed for everyone I thought of, but stayed put, right there under the covers. Of course I wasn’t up doing anything productive! After some encounters throughout the morning with a person I love but who has a very different personality type than I, I started to wear down. My sleep deprivation began to catch up to me and my attitude hit a wall, so to speak. I’m pretty sure it could be smelled a mile away, like the sour milk found in the fridge. By the time my kids returned from school, I was in a full blown stench!

This friend was using her “gifts” to help me in my home. Instead of my being thankful for the opportunities with her brilliance, all I could do is steady myself from crying! I was not thankful for her experience or her opinion. I just wanted to run to my room and hide under those covers again. Why couldn’t I just embrace the situation? Why did I keep focusing on the reasons for her being here (she wouldn’t have come if I hadn’t been a widow and needing to sell my home) or focusing on how I was so finished with this over-rated thing called CLEANING? My focus could have been completely different if I had stopped to thank God for sending her my way and being grateful I have friends who want to love me by filling gaps in my personality!

This week is Thanksgiving. But sometimes I just do not want to be thankful. I want to wallow in memories of all that was “perfect” and “wonderful”. It actually wasn’t, but I can fantasize!

When I focus on the things I am missing now, it turns my attitude sour in a hurry. Just like that sour milk, I have to toss it out. Get rid of it. Flush it away. Pour it down the drain. My feelings just cannot be trusted because they always lead me down the wrong path. Remembering is one thing–wallowing in self-pity is quite another.

This week with Thanksgiving I am writing out verses to keep my attitude from going sour.

Colossians 3:15 ESV  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Psalm 138:1 ESV I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;

Psalm 69:30 ESV  I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Psalm 100:4 ESV  Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

One thing I learned many many years ago from a Bible study leader is a way to focus on thankfulness. She had us take the year it was and use the numbers to help remind of us of things.

For this year, 2015, it could be remembered in this way:

20 people who have helped you this year in any way (yes, even THOSE people!)

1 answered prayer

5 prayer requests or goals for the coming year

Today, take out your journal (or a back blank page of your Bible) and write this year’s reminder down. Give it some thought and prayer–see where God leads you in your thoughts. Choose also one of the “thankful” verses to write out below it too. Will you comment about a prayer that has been answered this year? We would love to rejoice with you.

If you have trouble remembering if a prayer was answered, please consider starting a prayer journal. It is so encouraging to write down requests and see how God answers them. It may be so beyond what you even prayed! And what a blessing you might miss if you forget to be thankful when God answers your prayers.

Join me in keeping our attitudes from turning sour this week during Thanksgiving and every week as we focus our thoughts on gratefulness.

 

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Elizabeth Dyer is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries Inc.  She resides in Oklahoma, amid earthquakes and tornadoes, giving her ample opportunities to trust God! Her six children, large dog, noisy cat, guinea pigs, and most recently, hermit crab keep her busy enough, but she still finds time to have coffee now and then with a friend. Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and she loves to share how God is leading her on this new journey.

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Looking for more to read on Thankfulness? Thankful by Teri or The Yet-Praise by Liz Anne