Choose gratitude.

The miracle of being thankful.

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I remember taking my usual walk through the neighborhood back home years ago, enjoying the beauty of nature and talking to God. It was at dusk and I can still see that lamp through the window of one of the homes because its light made my heart ache. I was dreaming of having my own house one day and a husband to come home to. Along that same route that I loved taking daily, there was another house and I always loved to look through the windows because the curtains were always open and you could see the beautiful dining table with the vase of flowers and the warmth only a family can bring. I loved looking as I passed by and hoping that I will one day have my own table to set. During that dry season of my life, God was teaching me to seek Him above all else and He was shaping me into the woman I needed to be for my future husband, even though he seemed a million years away. Today, I am happily married, God has blessed me with my own home, together with the lamp and the dining table. Yet, I treasure that season of barrenness because it has humbled me and has made me acknowledge God as the source of everything. I thought however, that having a husband and a home will cause me to be forever grateful but I had soon realized that thankfulness can actually be lost if not cultivated. Even though we might be thankful right when God blesses us in a certain way, the soil of our hearts can become overtaken by seeds of ungratefulness just like weeds intrude in even the most looked after garden. This often happens when we start comparing ourselves with others or when we focus on the things that we still consider to be lacking. When we live with an ungrateful heart we are actually choosing to be self-centered instead of humble but when we are thankful for what God has given us and see everything as an undeserved gift from above, we truly experience joy. Lately, I was wondering why I wasn’t experiencing the same fulfillment I used to when joy was not just a rare experience but the essence of my existence. It took me a long time to actually figure out the answer but one day I knew it was because I have stopped being thankful. I have forgotten to humble myself before God. We are not entitled to our health, our jobs, or anything good in our lives. We could have easily been left without them. We could be destitute, alone, hopeless. A great test of our gratefulness is choosing to thank God in the middle of uncertainty and pain. Being thankful in those circumstances is a way of honoring God’s sovereignty no matter how much it hurts because we trust that He is good and He wants what’s best for us. I have found that to be so true as I look back on my life and trace the hand of God during the past ten years since He changed my life completely. I really don’t know where I would be today without God, who so carefully aligned my life according to His plan. Being thankful doesn’t come naturally, it actually requires a focused effort to turn our hearts to God in gratitude and to look away from the things that cause us to complain even though we might not do it verbally. It’s a fight because satan wants us to fall into the trap of never being content by lying to us constantly. Thanking God is the only way of escaping the misery of pride and discontentment. It’s hard pulling out weeds from their roots and so is learning to be thankful but it’s the only way of experiencing true fulfillment. When we thank God miracles take place. We are changed from being self-centered to being God-centered. Our perspective changes and we begin to see. Will you choose gratitude?

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