May 022014 6 Responses

A Simple Way to Better Your Day

If I were headed into life-threatening surgery, my one prayer would be, “Lord, let me live.”

If I were being held captive in a foreign country, my one prayer would be, “Lord, let me be free.”

If I were hungry with no food to be found, my one prayer would be, “Lord, let me eat.”

If I were homeless with no place to lay my head, my one prayer would be, “Lord, give me a home.”

If I were lonely with not a friend in the world, my one prayer would be, “Lord, give me a family.”

If I were without work and had no ability to pay my bills, my one prayer would be, “Lord, give me a job.”

If I were overwhelmed by my sin with no ability to make it right, my one prayer would be, “Lord, forgive me.”

As I look at this day, I realize that God has given me life, freedom, food, a home, a family, a job, and forgiveness.

This doesn’t mean I’m without need. It doesn’t mean there aren’t things I wouldn’t change. It doesn’t mean everything is perfect.

Yet it does mean I have been given far more than I often realize. I have been blessed beyond anything I deserve. And no matter what needs might be in my life, there are more things I can thank God for than I can ask Him for.

If I were to narrow down the role of humanity to one thing it would be to live a life of gratitude in response to what God has done for us.

Gratitude is not a denial of the hardships of life, it is a recognition of the good even in the midst of the bad. (See: A Map for Navigating Life’s Disappointments)

Last year when my father-in-law died after a short bout with cancer, the phrase which we repeated a hundred times was that our gratitude outweighed our grief. Seven months later that phrase is still true. While the grief was deep, the goodness of God was deeper.

As it was then, so it is today. (See: It’s Okay to Laugh and Cry)

One of my favorite things about the Psalms is the presence of Psalms of lament. Many of the psalms are of God’s children crying out to him in the midst of their pain. Yet nearly every Psalm of lament ends with a verse or two of thanksgiving to God. While communicating their sorrow, the writers of the Psalms always conclude by remembering that which is good within their lives. (See: How to Pray When Life’s Not Okay)

This is the attitude of someone who has truly been touched by God. We are not saved from sorrow. We experience the same suffering as every other person. Yet we have the ability to experience the pain while also still being fully aware of that which is good in our lives.

Such is the mindset of gratitude. (See: The Day I Stole an Airline Ticket to See Jenny)

I don’t have everything I want. Life is not exactly as I would have it. Yet what I have been given outweighs anything I would want to change.

When I focus on my wants, discouragement is easy to come.

When I focus on what I have received, gratitude freely flows.

And life is better lived in gratitude. (See: Stop Trying to Live a Great Life and Live a Grateful One)

grateful

 

6 Responses to A Simple Way to Better Your Day
  1. […] But when I remember the privilege, my whole approach is different. Each element of the process is a... kevinathompson.com/find-the-privilege
  2. […] Entitlement is deadly. The moment we think we deserve our partner, we are on a slippery slope toward... kevinathompson.com/five-ways-to-ruin-a-good-relationship
  3. […] What if we became the bloodhounds for good? What if we spent a considerable amount of time training ... kevinathompson.com/thanksliving
  4. […] 7. Seek the good and express gratitude. Most of the time, you will find what you look for. Seek the ... kevinathompson.com/pastoral-advice-todays-graduates
  5. […] In many situations, prayer does not lessen our anxiety because we refuse to pray. We worry, fret, re... kevinathompson.com/does-praying-add-to-our-anxiety
  6. […] at what you have in life and thank God for the good even while trusting him with the bad. (Consider ... kevinathompson.com/dont-overlook-what-youve-got

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