Cultivate Gratitude

Always keep on praying.  No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

It was early in the morning when I walked out to get my morning coffee. Sitting on the counter was a delicious cinnamon roll. My sweet husband had gotten up early and traveled out in the wintry weather to get me a treat for the morning. My mouth was watering as I heated the roll and fixed my coffee. He knew I loved sweet gooey breakfast treats. I sat down in a comfy seat in front of the fireplace and took my first bite with great expectation. It was dry, bready, and not as sweet as I had anticipated. The first words out of my mouth were, “what’s wrong with this?” Not a single word of gratitude to my husband for his unexpected efforts but a critical comment with disdain instead.

“Well, good morning to you too, and thank you dear for the unexpected surprise!” He playfully replied.

I immediately backtracked and became defensive as I made excuses for why I responded the way I did. When I finally expressed my appreciation, it was a futile attempt. 

To make matters worse, I have been trying to focus on cultivating a thankful heart and practicing an attitude of gratitude. Instead, I fail to demonstrate appreciation for those whom I love most dearly. It happens when I least expect it and instead of apologizing, I become defensive and try to make excuses.

Oh, it’s easy to express gratitude when everything is going well, and I am well-rested. However, the challenge occurs when I am tired, distracted, or my expectations of others have not been met. Some examples that I know I am guilty of are when the trash was taken out, but one room was missed, or the car was cleaned, but the windows were still dirty, or even the kitchen has been cleaned and the counters have crumbs on them. Instead of responding to my husband or children with gratitude for the effort made, I start complaining and pointing out what they left undone.

Throughout his letters, Paul reminds early believers to not complain and grumble, to be content in all circumstances, and even be thankful in all things. These are reminders to me that responding with criticism or defensiveness is not enhancing my interactions with others. Relationships are built on love, appreciation, and sometimes, biting my tongue. Thus, as I learn to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, I want to plant the seeds of thankfulness in all I say and do. At the same time, learn to recognize and pull the weeds of discontent, criticism, and defensiveness.

Dear Lord, I come to you with a contrite heart. I know I have been selfish in my attitudes and expectations around those I love most. Help me to recognize when I become defensive and critical and cultivate the attitudes of love, appreciation, humility, and kindness. Thank you for your patience with me as I falter. May I demonstrate that same patience to others. Amen.

FREE Resources for you!

First, Lisa Granger has an inspiring show called a Woman’s Heart, I recently had the opportunity to sit with her and share my heart on praying amid busyness and distractions. 

A Woman’s Heart, available for streaming, join Lisa Granger as she sits down with Peg Arnold to enjoy the encouragement through scripture, music, and stories provided through personal insights! Check it out here at A Woman’s Heart

Second- It’s that time again to prepare our hearts for the Holidays. Check out these free devotions. Holiday Devotions

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