Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 7: Optimist Challenge

7. Focus on gratitude.

It is simply a fact of life that most of us spend most of our time focusing on our everyday worries, concerns, problems, plans, etc., as opposed to being thankful for what we have. In fact, we may not even remember to be truly thankful, except at Thanksgiving!

Yet, no matter how difficult things seem to be, we can turn our attitude around all year long if we learn to focus on the good, instead of the bad. Odds are that if you starting compiling a "blessings list" versus a "hardships list", the good would far outweight the bad. You may even realize that you really do have a lot to be thankful for!

When we live in a habitual state of sorrow, anger, regret, jealousy or resentment, the bad things seem to be enormous, overshadowing all the good things in our lives and eventually causing us to lose sight of all the good.

On the other hand, when we focus on our blessings, our spirits are automatically enlightened, and our focus shifts from our problems to God's graciousness.

So in two words - be thankful! For everything. For the big things. For the little things. For the hard things. For the easy things. For the pain. For the blessings. For grace. For mercy. For Him.

Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live

Challenge: Spend the rest of the day thanking God for your blessings. Pray without ceasing, and dont say Amen, until you cannot think of another tiny thing to be thankful for!

But not sure where to start, or how to begin nourishing a real attitude of gratitude?

Here are a few strategies to help you get started.

1) Look up: thank God for who He is............. thank Him for who He is to you. For nature and all of His creations that we benefit from, for guidance, love, direction, grace..........

Look in: thank God for who you are........all the things that make you, you. For what He has done for you and your life. For what He has done in you, through you. For all the things you have accomplished, achieved, overcome.

3) Look around: thank God for all He has given you - food, clothes to wear, a roof over your head, family, friends, pets, jobs, community, country, service opportunities, shoes, breath, health, good medical care, insurance - the list is endless.

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Brandi said...

God is Grattitude. This challenge has helped me so much. I have really started to come around to thinking more positively instead of joining in with the rest of the world and being negative. I am so thankful for being able to worship my God openly. Thank you Tracy for bringing us this challenge. It has truly blessed me! I am thankful for that. And the list goes on...

Lori said...

Right now I'm particularly happy for raindrops coming down!

I have so much to be thankful for. Today, I am going to concentrate on my GOD and how good He is to me...for starters...My God...He's my God of wonder...
and infinite mystery...
He's my leader...
He's my healer...
He renews me...
He directs me...
He discloses things to me...
He enlightens me...
He teaches me...
He's always with me!
My precious God!

Thank you, Tracie, for encouraging us to be positive! I love starting my day, reading your post!

Love all of you sisters!
Lori - Mesa, AZ

Kimby said...

Hi, Tracie!
I'm jumping in on Day 7 to comment, but was blessed to read your previous posts! 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says to "edify one another" and your Optimist Challenge does exactly that. I'm grateful for your excellent inspirational writing and for the "reminder" to examine my attitude(s) -- thanks for breaking it down into manageable bits, too!
Love, your friend,

Anonymous said...

They say thankful people are healthier people....so I'm thankful that I stumbled across your blog in the beginning of this, it has truly opened my eyes to the attitude that I've developed of negativity, I didn't realize how bad it was. I'm thankful that I can acknowledge it, and give it to God, and through these posts I'm thankful that my eyes have been opened and thankful that God is softening my heart by the day. I'm thankful for a redeeming Father.

Sheena said...

Hi tracie... I missed yesterday but am backed today.I had a whole deal coming my way even as I took up this ten day challenge.The more i wanted to be positive, the more negative things happened.I reckon Satan wants me defeated but I am a Victor in Christ.Honestly I struggle.I never had to struggle being positive, trusting God or even having faith in Him prior to this but this year... its been tough.I was just reading a book and it was the answer that i was asking God re a question you asked during one of the challenge.What in your heart that is causing you to be negative...or the root to negativism in you and i found my answer in that book..thank God for that.Its SHATTERED DREAMS.That was really so enlightening
I wanna thank you for this challenges.If you had not done it and and I did not stumbled on it,I would never have found out whats causing me to be honestly pessimistic at times.I found my root and am gonna try to surrender them to God and trust Hin that He has a beter plan for me in His time
Keep me in Prayer

Sweet Blessings
Sheena Jeremiah

Tracey said...

I used to look at the negative things in my life a lot. I just recently (within the last year or so) started looking at situations differently. Now I try to thank God for the trials and disappointments in my life because I know through those, He changes me to be who He wants me to be. Thank you God!

Joyful said...

God began to cultivate an attitude of gratitude in me at a young age. After viewing the movie, "Pollyanna" I determined to choose to see the good.

Is it always easy? No! I go through times (just like she did in the movie) where good is hard to find, yet my reaction can still be one of thankfulness in my God.

In the movie, "White Christmas" they sing a song that says, "When I'm tired and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep, and I fall asleep counting my blessings".

Praying that when my head hits the pillow tonight I will rest in the many blessings I have received.

Thanking God for you today Tracie,

B His Girl said...

This morning I prayed with my prayer group. God overwhelmed me with His goodness in my life. I just cried proclaiming His great mercy over my life. Praise Him. Love Him. Worship Him. He is worthy of it ALL. Thank you Jesus!
Sunday at the close of the sermon, the pastor said 'if anyone wants to come the altar and thank God for their salvation to do so.' Would you believe out of hundreds of people maybe 5 people did that? I almost ran over my husband getting out of the pew.lol I felt like running down there. My church would not know how to handle that kind of response, but in my heart I was running. Into His arms held open for me. I am eternally grateful. Can you tell? :) Thanks for bringing it up again Tracie. Blessing to you!!!B

Carmen. said...

Be thankful is the secret for a victorious life.
Father God thanks for all the changes in my life in the last years,
thanks for my husband and his family,
thanks to move me from my own country and my own family and friends to a different country, family and friends.
thanks to finish my ministry in my mother church and move me from my comfort zone.
thanks to work in my character,
thanks to bring to my life the challenge to becoming an optimist,
thanks for my new ministry; be a godly wife,
thanks to use me to bring your salvation to my new family,
thanks to be with me, THANK YOU FATHER GOD!
Thank you Tracie.