An Attitude of Gratitude
The thought occurred to me the other day that some of you may think that my life is just a bowl of cherries. I mean, each Monday I try to give you something inspirational, something from which you may draw hope for tomorrow. Awesome catches up with me every day (see About being Awesome 12/01/08). I have an amazing wife, great family, and a successful business. I’m healthy. I’m building an incredible network of friends with whom I share the same spirit. I’m walking with God each day, with “an attitude of gratitude”, as my friend Brent Hardgrave, likes to say. I’ve got it made, right?
Well, yes….sort of….
My Monday offerings to you come by the grace of God. He gives me the words, and I do the typing. Most of the topics on these pages are born of mistakes I’ve made along the way, of shortcomings in my life that I’ve settled for, and of baggage that I’ve carried from childhood into adulthood. The remainders are insights that I’ve received from God, friends, books, mentors, and constant inner-reflection. I’m awesome every day because I refuse to be anything else. I have an amazing wife, a great family, and a successful business because God was gracious enough to bless me with all of this (I’ve been blessed a hundred times over what I probably deserve). And I walk with that attitude of gratitude because I know that there are many, many people less fortunate than myself.
I want to reflect on that “attitude of gratitude” that I walk with every day, and in doing so I guess that I should begin with the first moment I come to consciousness after a night’s sleep.
The very first thing I do when I awaken is thank God for giving me another day. My Dad always used to tell me that “we’re never promised tomorrow”, but I never gave his statement a lot of thought, until…..
Dad died unexpectedly on April 14, 2002. At the time he was a very young 74. I hit the BIG 5-0 five months later, and it was around that time I realized that my generation was next in line to be the “oldest”, that I was old enough to be a grandfather (that would happen to years later), and that Dad was right; every day is a gift and a privilege, not an entitlement.
Sorry….back to the topic at hand…..
Like I said, the first thing I do is offer gratitude for being given another day. Then I place my hand on my wife Jackie to make sure that she too has received another day (some chuckle when I tell them that, but I’m grateful for Jackie’s presence in my life….I’m grateful for her life).
Next I will go down a mental checklist of things that I’m grateful for. I say that it’s a checklist, but in reality it’s the first eight or ten things that pop into my mind, in no particular order of importance.
Among this morning’s “gratitude list” was our family, our salon, our car, our health, the opportunities I had on Saturday to speak to some of our guests in the salon about my Faith (yes, I talk about God in our business), and the big pillow that I was scrunching and burying my head in when I woke up! Obviously, I don’t think that there is anything that’s too trivial to be grateful for.
You may be wondering why I do this every morning, but then again, you may not be curious about it at all. Well, since this is my site, and I choose what to write about, I’m gonna give you an explanation. If you’re not interested, well, I guess I’ll see you next week!
Glad you decided to stick around.
For years, the only time that I offered prayers to God, or even thought about Him, was on Sundays or when I was in need of Him. In last week’s post I mentioned that I often took my faith for granted; it was just something that was there. But it was more than that…..
I took God for granted.
I assumed that God would be there for me whenever I needed Him. He has always been there for me, just as He has been there for you, just as He has been for all of us who choose to have Him in our lives. I don’t know about you, but the times I looked for Him and to Him the most was in my time of need. And of course, He was always there to give me comfort and strength.
But I took His presence in my life for granted. Well, it was more than that….I didn’t know how much better, how utterly complete my life would be with His presence in it until I asked Him to walk with me every day. Those of you who walk with Christ know what I’m trying to say.
For those of you who have never truly experienced that walk…..you know, God gives me so many words to convey my feelings to you on these pages, but there are no words to describe feeling God’s presence in and around you when you welcome Him into your life. Think about the pleasure you get from doing whatever it is that you like to do best; I don’t care what it is….locked in on it yet? Remembering how good it feels? Now multiply that feeling by one hundred. That’s having God with you every day.
In thanking God for another day I am establishing His presence in my life before I do anything else! He occupies my first thought of the day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Why should this be so important to me?
I don’t ever want to take God’s presence for granted again.
All things considered, my life is really, really good right now. That’s not to say that I have no crosses to bear, but that the ones I am carrying don’t seem to be too heavy. What I am giving in life pales in comparison to what I am receiving.
This is exactly when the “old” Sam would have totally forgotten that Christ wants to be with us every day and not just on Sundays. He wants a relationship with us, and wants us to have conversations with Him, even if those conversations consist of nothing more than “Thank you Lord for the gift of another day.” And He wants that relationship when times are good, so that like any other Father, He may enjoy those good times with us.
I love my relationship with Christ, love having Him with me every day, and love feeling His presence in me. Perhaps that is why my crosses seem few and my burdens seem light. Hmmm….
In offering gratitude each morning,
I’m focusing on all the good that is in my life, being mindful of what I do have, instead of worrying about what I don’t. I’m thanking God for all of my blessings (even the fluffy pillow), because He didn’t have to give any of them to me. And I’m offering gratitude for what I have because in the blink of an eye, I could have so much less; I could have nothing.
Thank you God, for me.
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