Friday, August 3, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude

Chris and I have been in Denver the past two days to watch the Colorado Rockies play the St. Louis Cardinals.  Chris and I attended two of the three games decked out in Cardinal gear and we had a blast.

Yesterday, as we were playing with Lloyd in a park, awesome storm clouds started rolling in and I started to ponder an attitude of gratitude.  Please consider yourselves warned, this post, which relays my pondering an attitude of gratitude became a little more rambling than I anticipated.

I have often heard that an attitude of gratitude can really change your perspective in things, and I have tried to focus on being grateful when I'm annoyed with things in the past (mostly when I'm annoyed with my job).

Today, as I watched the storm clouds roll in, I was genuinely grateful for the rain and not at all annoyed that we were planning to see an outdoor baseball game that evening.

The truth is, Chris and I saw quite a bit of rain this summer.  It rained quite a bit while we were traveling on the east coast -- usually when we were driving, it rained when we were at the Nationals Baseball game, it rained the one day we were headed to a Tigers baseball game in Michigan with my parents, it rained the day we needed to load the car when we were in St. Louis, and it rained during the first Rockies v. Cardinals game we saw on Wednesday night.  I should be really annoyed by rain at this point... but I am NOT!

The truth is, WE NEED RAIN!  The entire nation needs rain!  Until we started traveling, Chris and I hadn't seen rain in months... I can't even remember the last rain we had in Rifle before we left for the summer.  We had had snow (a little last winter), but no rain.  Chris and I were SO out of the habit and mindset of rain when we left on our summer travels that we didn't even pack an umbrella for the trip.  :-D

Going without rain for so long and KNOWING how much the nation needs rain, umbrella or not, baseball games or not, getting wet or not, Chris and I are SO grateful for rain every time it arrives.

Yesterday afternoon, watching the clouds roll in, I began to ponder why it was so easy to have an attitude of gratitude for rain, when, occasionally, I really have to work to create in myself an attitude of gratitude for my job.

Then I realized that by the Grace of God, I have never been without a job.  I have been without rain.  When I try to tell myself to be grateful for my job, I'm not able to draw on life experiences when I didn't have one.  I know what this horrible dry summer is doing to our nation and so I welcome the rain.  My gratitude is from a genuine place in my heart that appreciates the rain based on experiences without rain.

I do really love my job... but my heart's desire is to stay home as a homemaker to serve my husband and my animals.  I want to be a full-time homemaker and I hope and pray that the Lord opens that door for me eventually.  I do enjoy my job and I am very grateful to have a job I love... but I've never been without a job.  I've never been living off of my savings and praying for the Lord to miraculously pay my bills each month.  When I'm having a hard day at work, I try to create gratitude, but I'm not drawing on real experience, so the gratitude is more hypothetical and less genuine.  Wow, that last sentence sounds really bad -- what I mean is that I imagine how stressful and horrible it would be to be without a job or to have a job I hate, but I do not have first hand experience of such (knock-on-wood, Praise The Lord).

For me, at least, it just is much easier to manifest genuine gratitude when I've experienced life without that for which I'm grateful.  Is anyone really ever grateful for their good health until they get sick or break a bone?  Maybe hypothetically, but so many people say that they never fully appreciated their healthy, working body until they weren't able to do that which they were always able.

I am genuinely grateful for my husband because I've experienced life without him.
I am genuinely grateful for my animals because I've experienced life without them.
I am genuinely grateful for our little home because I've lived with roommates in many different kinds (and different quality) of apartments.
I am genuinely grateful for the rain because I've experienced life without it.
I am genuinely grateful for a relationship with Jesus Christ because I've spent seasons walking away from Him.

I want to learn how to expand my attitude of gratitude so I'm not "hypothetically" grateful for my job, but things really do mean so much more when I've had seasons in life without them.  Joy became more beautiful once I experienced heartache.

How do you create in yourself an attitude of gratitude?

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