Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 130 - Practicing Gratitude While Life Happens
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #130 – Practicing Gratitude While Life Happens
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to seek, find, and follow Jesus together as we live with purposed eternal perspective.
Have you ever wondered what God thinks when He hears your inner thoughts? What about your spoken words? Are you ever embarrassed by or ashamed of what resides in your mind or comes out of your mouth? Our Heavenly Father surely evaluates the intentions of what we say or think with a different perspective than we do. In fact, we know He views what we think and say, (especially the grumbles and attitudes we carelessly let slip out) with a much higher standard and purpose than we can imagine.
Think about times you verbalize or imagine complaints or dissatisfaction each day. I bet each of us have much more than we realize. To our Holy and Perfect God, those thoughts and words sound far worse than the scratch of fingernails on a chalkboard.
Here ae some examples from my own life:
When I think: “Every time I sit in my desk chair while wearing my warm blanket, the arm hole cut-outs grab the back of the arm rests on the chair and I become trapped until I stand to remove the blanket.” God probably says: “I blessed Terri with a sturdy, ergonomic chair for her workspace and a warm blanket to wear on cold days since I know she does not appreciate cold weather.”
When I think: “Most of the time when I throw something away, I miss the trashcan and I have to get up to throw the trash away before my dog eats it.” God probably says: “I blessed Terri and her family with a new puppy when they lost their beloved dogs last year. What a joy it must be to have a new puppy to train.”
When I think: “As I lay in bed and try to sleep at night, I always feel the tiniest wrinkle in the sheet and I can’t fall asleep until it is smooth.” God probably says: “I blessed Terri with a special level of sensitivity.”
When I think:” Sometimes I leave my mug in the microwave too long and my cup of tea is too hot to carry.” God probably says: “Terri is blessed to have that mug that is so special to her and I’m sure she appreciates the ease of quickly and easily heating tea to enjoy.”
When I say: “Every time I clean, the house is already dusty again the next day.” God probably says: “What a blessing I gave my children. The house they are in is everything they prayed for at one time and although the forest around them makes the house get dusty quickly, I’m sure they appreciate the joy of living in the midst of my beautiful creation.”
When I say: “When we had trees removed from our yard, the tree service workers accidentally shattered my front storm door.” God probably says, “If the workers hadn’t shattered the door, Terri’s family would have had to purchase a brand new door when they had their house resided. Instead, they are having it replaced by Me.”
When I say, “The workers putting on our new siding this summer have taken a lot longer to complete the job than we thought it would take.” God probably says: “I have enjoyed the process of watching the siding job I provided take longer than expected. I ordained the meeting of the workers with the Hitt’s. Many blessings have come from knowing the workers and sharing the stories of My love and provision and the experience has grown Terri’s awareness of me in even smaller details.”
Like me, what are the things you can choose to grumble about or show gratitude for? How can you change the way you do it?
I wonder whether God will have a list for us to view when we meet Him in heaven. Can’t you imagine documents that reflect an attitude or gratitude? Delays, disappointments, and demands that we complained about or grew bitter about may be what saved a life, brought an unexpected blessing down the road, or caused another to come to or fall away from Jesus by the way we reacted.
Do you practice gratitude during the events of each day? Do you live life with an expectation that what happens is for your good and the betterment of His kingdom? It takes humble, intentional actions and true thankfulness to adjust our mindset to live with the high level of gratitude God desires.
Have you noticed that when you tend to pout or complain about something, it’s much harder to feel grateful? Instead, when you immediately look to the Lord in all circumstances and give praise, whether situations are good or bad, exciting or disappointing, thankfulness causes an uplift to your spirit and joy is sustained or grown.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says,” Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. “
The joy in our life should not be dictated by circumstance. It’s challenging not to let what happens around us, or sometimes what doesn’t happen, affect our mental or emotional state, but prayers and thankfulness don’t have to be tied to feelings. If we look at the verse I just read from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 with a heart to seek what God desires, we notice that we are given three commands.
1. Be joyful
2. Pray continually
3. Give thanks
Every time we make the decision to follow what pleases God, we begin to view life with His perspective – an eternal perspective. Each time we follow His commands, especially with gratitude, we find it becomes easier to live with true joy and thankfulness.
The truth is that when we complain, whether it be in thought, word, action, or reaction, we are choosing to place self over situation. We are silently voicing the fact that we what we want is more important than what is happening around us, or what God has allowed in our life.
Each time we criticize, we place our idea of what should occur or what we should receive over the process of perfection.
When we trust God to provide, we understand and appreciate that He is in control. Knowing that His perfect timing, guidance, provisions, and protection are far better than what we can envision allows joy to replace the bitterness, disappointment, and anger that threaten deeper relationship with Him.
2 Corinthians 4:15-18 says, “For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Trials and disappointments help to work all things for God as promised in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Even small inconveniences may be used to strengthen our faith and trust. Without hardship could we really understand true joy and gratitude for the protection and provisions of God?
Conforming to the image of Christ comes with cost.
Our human flesh will always find cause to complain. In contrast, the Holy Spirit living within believers recognizes and appreciates the redeeming, unselfish cost of grace and the joy of living within the protection of abundant gratitude.
Colossians 2:6-7 says, “Therefore, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him, established in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Because of the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit residing within, believers have the ability to see their inner self changed. Our moral and ethical behavior, as well as the way we view the inconvenient challenges in life can be shaped into the image of the mind of Christ. As we set our mind and heart on things above, we shift the way we view daily occurrences and begin to see them with eternal eyes instead of through selfish or temporal viewpoints.
This different and eternal perspective allows room for gratitude to grow and be expressed far more readily than dissatisfaction or disappointment as we look at events through the eyes of Jesus and the heart of God.
Colossians 3:1-2 says, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
Dear Heavenly Father, You alone are good. You alone are Holy. You alone can lift us from the depths of selfish sin and desires and hold us close to the desires of Your heart. Lord, as we grow closer to You and allow You to shine more brightly through us, help us to change, help our gratitude to expand, overtake our selfish hearts, and craft the beauty of thankfulness within us. May the mystery of the resurrection sweep over us and change our fleshly hearts into the beauty of Christ’s. May we please and honor You with our appreciation for the good, the easy, the tears, and the joys of living the life You gave to us. May Your peace, which surpasses all understanding abide within us and guard our hearts, and multiply our appreciation. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
1 Chronicles 16:34 says, “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever.”
Lord, may our gratitude fill You with thanksgiving and praise!
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I pray that what you hear on this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.