Companion Blog Post For
“January: A Month of Gratitude”
Weeks 1-4 in the Journal:
Write Your Life With Grace, Fruit of the Spirit Guided Journal (October, 2016)
Concept: Gratitude is a Choice That Changes the Focus and Direction of Any Situation
The common thread among all human beings is the need for validation and acceptance. We want someone to understand our pain, lend a hand, hold our grief, or agree with our decisions. When a friend shares our burdens by saying, I get it, or, Me, too, or acknowledges us with a look of, I see you, you are not alone in this, we feel comforted. But if someone disagrees or doesn’t acknowledge us, fear sets in. We immediately question our words, behavior, wardrobe, self-worth, beliefs, or the picture just posted. Maybe we didn’t use the right filter?
What we do not wish to acknowledge is that all human beings are equal. Look to your right and left. The guy on the street corner begging for money, the woman in the sequined dress accepting an award, the single parent, the pastor, the stripper, the CEO, the coach, the family, the tiny girl or boy growing inside the womb… We are all equally equal. Every ethnicity, every race, every gender, is uniquely different but exactly equal in our humanness.
We might say we agree with this but the minute someone with a different belief system or political affiliation or occupation confronts us, we no longer see them as equals but as less than. We resort to name calling and shaming. We only help those we deem worthy. We post negative comment after negative comment on our social media, bashing this person or that, pointing out the flaws in people, and at the same time liking the quotes about kindness and wishing there was more of it.
Gratitude changes the focus and direction of any situation.
Gratitude replaces fear and condemnation with peace and appreciation.
The dictionary definition: “Gratitude is a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation.”
A better definition: Gratitude is the choice to acknowledge the bigger life story in any situation regardless of how I might feel. Choosing gratitude pivots my heart towards feelings of peace, thankfulness and appreciation.
Therefore, gratitude is a character trait instead of a feeling. If we wait to be thankful until we feel it, not only do we miss the benefits of wisdom and maturity but we miss the opportunity to flip the situation from negative to positive. We stay stuck in fear, frustration, and resentment.
Gratitude is not a feeling reserved for the good times; gratitude is a change agent that brings warm feelings to the painful times.
So, if the common thread among all human beings is the need for love (acceptance and validation), and yet the current season of hate is full of shame and judgement, how does choosing to acknowledge the bigger life story flip this around?
I’m grateful the lie was discovered. Now we have a chance to heal.
I’m grateful I heard that snide remark. It gives me a chance to give grace.
I’m grateful the current pain can be used and not wasted; lessons learned help me mature.
I’m grateful I have a voice and can say No.
I’m grateful I get to set and maintain personal boundaries, which brings freedom and safety.
I’m grateful that every person or situation can be redeemed.
I’m grateful for failure, because it brings me one step closer to success.
I’m grateful for this difficult person; he is exposing my insecurities which helps me grow.
I’m grateful for the daily reminders to release fear, shame, control, and perfectionism.
I’m grateful for the opportunities to serve, love, volunteer, and make a difference.
I’m grateful I was born; I get the chance to be who God created me to be.
I’m grateful for God’s saving grace, regardless of my past.
I can choose to be grateful in a situation I am not thankful for “…knowing that tribulation produces perseverance which produces character which produces hope.” –Romans 5:3-4 (NKJV)
***To apply the twelve character traits to your personal situation, order the journal and follow the weekly concepts and daily applications. Order a signed copy of “Write Your Life With Grace, Fruit of the Spirit Guided Journal” HERE
–Tara Schiro is the author of the newly released, Write Your Life With Grace, Fruit of the Spirit Guided Journal , and No Arms, No Legs, No Problem, the memoir of bronze-medal Paralympian (Quad Rugby), Bob Lujano. Both books are available on Amazon.com, Ingram, and Barnes & Noble. TaraSchiro.com