Cultivating a Thankful Heart

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Do you every get caught up in negative thinking?  Like, before you know it, everything that comes out of your mouth is negative, everyone seems against you, every little thing goes wrong, and your attitude just stinks?  Funny how it all snowballs, right?  Well, actually, it really isn’t.  And it’s not a coincidence either.  I can speak from personal experience, because I am definitely guilty of letting the negativity germ infect me.  But, did you notice the key word in the previous sentence?  Letting.  Yep, letting.  So often we don’t think we have a choice.  We think of ourselves as victims of circumstance.  It’s not our fault that we are in a foul mood.

That’s the scary part…it happens so fast, and before you know it, we are victims.  Victims at home, at work, on the road, in our minds.  We don’t realize that so much of our attitude depends on what we choose to focus on, what we choose to listen to, and who we choose to surround ourselves with.  I know this, but I so often lose sight of it and end up getting infected by that negative germ again.  It’s just so much easier for some reason.  And misery loves company, doesn’t it?  So we sow our seeds of discontent and we complain and commiserate and we infect others as well.  It’s just a vicious cycle, and one that I’m pretty sure satan loves to use against us.

Mardi and I were cleaning stalls the other day and talking about this very thing.  (You’d be amazed how many of the world’s problems we’ve solved while picking up horse poop.)  How easy it is to focus on the negative and to think we are victims.  How so much of what we let in to our minds affects how we think and what we project outward to others.  And to be honest, it is pretty easy these days.  Just turn on the TV, and you will hear about one tragedy after another.  So how can we not feel depressed or sorry for ourselves?  After all, we can’t control everything that happens to us.  However, here are six things we can control that can help us have a more thankful heart and positive attitude.

**We pray… we pray that God will grant us wisdom and discernment.  That God would convict our hearts where needed, and that he would forgive us for our self-pity.

James 3:17

**We are realistic…we remember that we live in a fallen world.  Things will never be perfect here on earth.  People will hurt us and disappoint us, jobs will not always live up to our expectations, our health will deteriorate, and so on.  This is how it is.  We cannot expect Heaven in a sin-filled world.  

**We listen to good counsel…sometimes we need to hear someone else’s perspective on things.

**We worship…we remember all that God is.  We focus on how big He is compared to all of our problems, and we just honor Him for loving us and for being in control.

**We count our blessings…especially the greatest blessing of all, Jesus.  If nothing ever goes our way here on Earth, we still know that we have the promise of Eternity with our Savior. Soooo much easier said than done, but so very true nonetheless.  

**We do what we can to be a light in the darkness…we try to sow seeds of joy and infect others with love.  It’s pretty hard to feel down and out when you surround yourselves with grateful, humble, positive people filled with God’s love.  Now, I know that isn’t always easy, but we can walk away from gossip or negativity or whatever is contributing to a negative way of thinking.  And the more that we do that, the more joy we have to share with others.

 

Now for the disclaimer…do I always do these things?  No.  Do I still feel sorry for myself sometimes?  Yes.  Am I guilty of infecting others with negativity or contributing to their negative way of thinking?  Yes, unfortunately.  But, thanks be to God, each day is a new day.  His mercies are new every morning.  And in this season of Thanksgiving, I just want to give thanks to our Father for being in control, for forgiving me when I fail, and for helping me to spread a little love.  Because I know my sinful self is not capable of it without His divine intervention in my life.

Wishing you all a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

Megan