How’s your attitude been lately? With a crazy election just barely under our belt it’s hard to reel in all the emotions. To quit the nail biting habit we’ve picked up over the last few months, not to mention the bickering over the “if onlys” and the pointing fingers. Because really, does it make a difference? This got me thinking about what does make a difference: GRATITUDE. Gratitude is a key to freedom that unleashes the fragrant joy that is ours in Christ Jesus. I believe it’s the only way we can get off this overwhelming rollercoaster ride of emotions and negative thought patterns that have become prevalent this year.
But the thing about gratitude is that most often it does not come naturally to us and, in fact, stems from our attitude.The definition for the word “attitude” is quite simple. Dictionary.com says: attitude is the way a person views something, thinks of or tends to behave towards it, often expressing in action or word. And from my experience, either one (emotions or thoughts) could be the driver of my crummy attitude at times… In fact, it makes me cranky just thinking about it! 😉
“Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16
I’m so glad l have the mind of Christ, and I can take every thought captive in obedience to him (2 Corinthians 10:5). Therefore, I am not a victim of my thoughts, or emotions. Instead, I need only to flex my gratitude muscle and pray in the Spirit with all kinds of prayers, supplications (Ephesians 6:18) and petitions, while giving thanks in all circumstances. For that is God’s will for me and you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
In March of 2000, I arrived on American soil with nothing more than a small English conversational booklet and $100 in my pocket. Before that moment, I had only heard about this land of freedom, where the possibilities were endless and dreams came true. Some had even said dollar bills grew on trees as it rained gold dust. At least, that was the reputation of the United States as I was growing up in Poland. So when God made a way through the impossible for me and I won the “golden ticket” here, you bet I was grateful!
In fact, one of the most poignant blessings I received by coming to this country was hearing the gospel, and deciding to follow Jesus. My arrival here was against all odds and nothing short of supernatural. This, combined with countless other events and opportunities on my life’s journey, led me to cultivate a grateful attitude over the years.
How, you might be wondering? By deliberately re-centering my attitude towards gratitude as I retell my miracle stories. My kids especially love hearing them as it fuels their faith as they’ve learned to truly believe that God can and will do it for them too. The telling of my stories has been essential for me to step off the cultural rat race for happiness and to experience the true joy that comes with gratitude. And I believe the same can be true for you too!
I am proud to be an American. I became one 17 years ago. And in the process of becoming one, I had to take a crash course of American History to learn the stories of my adopted homeland. Through that experience I learned to appreciate the freedoms we still have in America today. Even though we’re treading some muddy waters lately, let’s not forget that God and that it is by his grace we have been saved (Ephesians 2:1-5).
So as we enter the holiday season this year – with Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year fast upon us! – with our not-so-perfect-families, let’s remember to embrace the attitude of gratitude. You too were far from God, until you were brought close through Christ Jesus. I encourage you, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent and praiseworthy – think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). So in the inevitable hard moments of life, “set your eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12: 2). I know that if you and I put these words into practice, our world will be a better place, and we will have peace that surpasses all understanding as we’ll be acknowledging him in all our ways (Proverbs 3:5).
If we do these things, gratitude will become the attitude of our hearts.
REFLECTION & JOURNAL ACTIVITY:
- Which of the scriptures referenced tugged on your heart the most? Go to the Lord with it. Explore and ask why. He knows your heart.
- Start a Blessing Log where you keep a record of God’s blessings, provisions and miracles in your life.
- After you’ve jotted down a few of the amazing things God has done in your life, put it into action and bless someone else!
- Lastly, over the holiday season, try an activity encouraging the attitude of gratitude around the dinner table with your family – yes, even the little ones! Encourage them to write down something they are thankful for this year. It might just change the attitude around the table.
Kasha is a mom to two bigs and two littles and is originally from Poland and speaks 3 languages! She enjoys cultural diversity, food and music, and is even more passionate about loving God and loving people.