Welcome to another Faith in my Friday!
If you missed the first edition, get caught up on what this series is over here.
I’m overjoyed to see that this series has, so far, been warmly accepted by you all. It definitely takes bravery, as some of you pointed out, to dive deep into my faith in the blog world for everyone to see. I appreciate all the enthusiasm and excitement already.
But I want you to honestly know that I felt the tug and the pull of writing this series on my heart for quite a while. Saying yes to writing this is me saying yes to God and His plans for my writing. This isn’t just some “oh I need a new topic to write about” kind of blog thing. This is a God thing.
Recently, I realized that my blog and what to write about was becoming a source of anxiety for me. I was clearly not letting the Lord have this part of my life. As I’ve surrendered this anxiety in prayer, He clearly revealed to me what it is He wanted me to write about. Him!
Where to Begin?
With that said, when I was brainstorming for this weeks’ and future topics for the series – I became dumbfounded. WHAT do I write about?! WHERE do I start? So many questions went through my mind. How will I say what I mean? Will people understand this? I want to write so much, so what do I start with?
One answer has helped me focus in on what I should write about.
The answer is coming to Him.
I, as a lowly sinner and human, do not have the answers. He does.
And so, with each week that I write this and each new topic that diverges, I want you to know that I will have prayed over what to write, and how to say it. I will have scoured my favorite verses and new ones alike to hopefully offer you something coherent – something from Him, not from me.
probably not going to be perfect. I can only hope that I am the best vessel I can be for His words to reach you.
The Ungrateful Attitude
I know that was kind of long and serious, but I said all of that to say that I’ve been mulling over the topic of having a grateful attitude this week.
Lately, I’ve felt bugged or annoyed at life – that my schedule hasn’t been consistent, which makes all my plans fall to the wind, which makes me get anxious about those plans, which draws me farther away from Him, which makes me feel guilty, and then that draws me even farther away. And then I just feel terrible and lost.
What does this have to do with a grateful heart?
Well, everything, really.
Yes, it’s really easy to say “you should be grateful for everything” or “appreciate what you do have.” But we don’t really take those messages to heart. We hear that all the time from everybody.
What gets me so riled up, though, is how ungrateful I am all the time.
This isn’t enough. I’m not happy. I wish things were this way. Let me just point out everything in my life that ever wasn’t the way I wanted, and see if someone listens, and hope that that finally changes something.
This kind of attitude…
- keeps me in perpetual sin, believing the lie that what I have is never enough
- doesn’t allow me to see the gifts that God has bestowed upon me
- creates negativity and anxiety
- usually keeps me praying “away” all the bad, only fueling my anxiety
- is toxic, prideful, arrogant, and self-seeking
Clearly, I don’t need to go on about why this attitude is bad. Everyone has this attitude at times, even if they don’t realize it. Often times, I have this very mindset, and it drives me farther from where I want to be, and it stomps out so much of the good in my relationship with God.
The Grateful Heart
Once I realize just how ungrateful I can be, it’s easy for me to see what I do have. All the sudden – the light goes off, and I just see it all – all He has provided.
In abundant grace, He has given me enough. More than enough, in fact. He has saved me, after all.
But I know having a grateful heart isn’t easy. At times, I feel our culture is so anti-grateful, pitching to us that we always need more & better things, that we are not good enough the way we are, and that there is always something better to be had, and we don’t have it.
A grateful heart doesn’t come overnight or instantly. And even when it does come, sometimes it doesn’t stay. It’s so easy to get sucked back into the ungrateful vortex of the fallen world.
The key to a grateful attitude is remaining prayerful and reading scripture. When those two elements are lacking, my heart is typically very ungrateful in general and I feel overall “unhappy.”
But when my life is rich in thankful prayer and I am pointed to scripture that shows me the truth about this life – that what I have is enough in Christ – I am more grateful than I could ever explain to you.
A verse I’ve been reflecting on recently that has helped me see the importance of focusing on the positive is Philippians 4:8. It says:
This verse has helped me realize that reflecting on the good in life – the good in this world – is so important. What I fill my mind with (and what I let my mind be full of) is directly related to how grateful and thankful I tend to be. When I focus on what is pure, right, noble, lovely, and good – I see the positive side of things, I am joyful, and I feel God’s love. By focusing on such things, I open the door for God in my life.
This scripture helps me see the positive, helps me focus less on my worries, and ultimately points me to a holy God who is all these perfect things.
Praise in Prayer
Along with scripture, prayer is another key way to cultivate a grateful heart. One of the best pieces of advice anyone ever gave me about prayer is to start prayer with thanksgiving. This advice changed my early prayer life from worrisome and confused to solid and peaceful.
For a while, I tried to start all my prayers thanking God for things in my life. Eventually, this became habit. Often, my prayers naturally start with praising God – thanking Him and reflecting on what He has done for me. This is just one way to focus on what is good, to keep the positive in perspective, to focus on the hope He provides.
But – I am not grateful all the time, which is exactly why this topic was burning inside me all week. I truly desire to be more grateful for what I have. It’s so prideful to me to sit around and look at my life in disgust instead of with thanksgiving.
Today, I am grateful for…
The way God made me. I am His creation and He made me exactly the way He intended. I am not a mistake.
My husband. God has blessed me with a man far better than I ever could have imagined or dreamed up myself. I get to wake up with him every day, and share life with him 🙂
My job. Some days, I groan about my job because it is not what I imagined I would be doing in life right now. But I am thankful anyway. I’m thankful that God has provided work for me and many new friends and opportunities through my job.
Questions for you:
- Is thankful praise lacking in your life? How often do you count your blessings?
- What are you thankful for?