Thursday, September 29, 2011

Optimist Challenge Day 7

Develop an attitude of gratitude.

Two and a half  weeks ago, at 4:00am, my fifteen year old daughter woke up in excruciating pain. We found ourselves in the Emergency Room one  hour later, and ended up staying for nearly eight hours, due to what turned out to be an extremely large ovarian cyst. Then last week, I found myself at the ER again - but this time, with my seventeen year old daughter, who had seriously injured her back in a tennis match. 

I was not a happy camper. Not only was I now worried about both of my daughters, but the ER is the last place in the world I want to spend my time, especially twice in one month.

After several hours of waiting, again, my patience had worn thin, to say the least. The very least.

I began to wonder why it was called the "emergency room", when the staff did not seem to view any situation as an actual emergency. I will spare you the rest of the thoughts that were racing through my mind, so as not to incriminate myself.

But the bottom line is, I was NOT feeling like a positive person AT ALL. In fact, I had decided that I would wait about five more minutes before I said some less-than-positive words to the nurse at the registration desk.

Just before I was about to get up and probably say something I would regret,  a young man walked in, and stood patiently at the desk behind a few other people.  This young man stood out from the crowd, mainly because his neat-as-a-pin-black-suit was a far cry than the pajamas and sweat pants that most patients were adorning.

As he stood there in his elegant suit, with perfect posture, hands cupped neatly behind his back, he looked as if he were standing at attention at a military ceremony.

After a short while, he sat down in a chair in between me and an older gentleman who had been there as long as we had.

The older gentleman's curiosity was apparently peaked as well, and he asked the young man why he was wearing a black suit, of which he responded that he was a security guard. Then he asked him if he  had had a good day, and the young man responded, "Yes. Yes I did. Every day is a blessed day, you know."

His statement struck me. My daughter turned to me and asked if I had heard his reply, because it had struck her too. This man was in the ER, just like we were. Yet... he felt.... blessed.

Both my daughter and I felt our spirits lighten, and we both smiled, simply because of his comment about being blessed. His optimism and attitude of gratitude was contagious. And we caught it.

I immediately became acutely aware of the fact that I had not viewed this day as a blessing. I was tired, frustrated, worried about the well being of my daughters and fretting over the many hospital bills that would soon be arriving in my mailbox. I had been focusing on everything negative that had happened on this day and those thoughts led to more and more negativity in my mind, and my heart.

So when I heard a total stranger say that "every day is a blessed day", it was a little reminder from God that even in the midst of a negative situation, I can make the choice to be positive.  I can determine what kind of attitude I will have. My attitude can be contagious too - and I certainly want it to be something worth catching.

Life may not always be a full bowl of cherries, but there are always lots of sweet cherries in the bowl.

So today - choose to be thankful. Choose an attitude of gratitude - 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

Day Seven Challenge Activity:  Develop an attitude of gratitude.

Spend the rest of the day thanking God for your blessings. Focus on the positives, instead of the negatives. And spend some time looking......

1) Looking 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..........

Looking 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) Looking 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 infinite.

Consider compiling a "blessings list" and a "hardships list". You might be surprised to see that the blessings far outweigh the hardships, but until doing this excercise, it didn't feel that way at all.

Pray without ceasing, and refrain from saying Amen, until you cannot think of one single other thing to be thankful for!

Optimist Challenge Day 7SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Anonymous said...

What an awesome God we serve. Last night was a bit hard on me emotionally and mentally, so I spent most of my quiet time this morning thanking God for everything and anything I could think of.....And you've just given more things to think about and be thankful for. =)

Raspberrymama said...

I am going to write 1 Thessalonians 5:18 on 3x5 cards and place them all around my house today! Thank you for the reminder to consciously develop an attitude of gratitude!

Laura said...

I really needed this reminder today. As I read it, I tried to think of the positives in my life instead of the negatives, and felt myself begin to relax. Thank you Tracie for doing this challenge.

In Christ,

Lynn Bowman said...

Thank you, Tracie! Let's all remember to cultivate a heart of thankfulness. God blesses us so much each and every day! We just have to keep our eyes and hearts open. So thankful for you!!

cupcake said...

What a great reminder!

LaTara said...

WOW! What an amazing reminder for all of us. 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" This verse is a great one to memorize (Smiles). Thank you so much.

Joanna said...

Finding the blessings in every situation... just what I have been trying to do! My FB post Wednesday - "Home with a sick two-year old... BUT I am thankful for extra cuddle time; a four-year old who is always looking for ways to help; a newborn who takes a four-hour afternoon nap; a thoughtful husband who rearranged his schedule to run errands, pick up Zach, and bring me a frappuccino; and a washing machine that works really well!" Yes, there are challenges in life, but there is so much more to be thankful for.

Janine said...

I accept the challenge for the day - - Look up, look in, look around! All these little tips are really helping me. I look forward to reading your challenge each morning. My awareness of the negativity as it creeps into my day has really heightened. And as I develop this awareness, I am better able to fight it and turn my thoughts to positiveness. Thank you for this great challenge! Blessings.

Anonymous said...

We should all remember to be thankful even for the smallest of things because there is no coincedence. All good things come from God. Thank you for this reminder Tracie.


Jewels said...

Thank you Lord. I have everything to be thankful for.
Thank you Tracie for this reminder.

Debbie C said...

Thanks for the post! We spoke in our mission group about coming against the "negative Nellies" in our lives. I appreciate such a positive word on gratitude.

Nancy said...

I too have been the ER twice this month with my mother who is slowly slipping away. However on the second occasion we were painfully aware of how blessed she was that she was not near death like the gentleman across the aisle who was getting all of the immediate attention because he was truly fighting for his life. Even in her fragile state my mom was able to see the blessing of the appearance that we were being ignored at that time. So yes we can always find our blessings when we take the time to look for them and be thankful. By the way the gentleman did pull through with the diliegence of the ER room staff aiding him.

one-step-at-a-time said...

what an amazing impact one persons comment can have on you. I want to be someone that inspires a positive attitude, not bring negativity to others.

Mary S. said...

THANK YOU!!! What a blessing.

apple said...

Yes, everyday is bless day. indeed!
God has been bless us.
I'm from non- christian nation
Japan. my life was just fine
but...something was missing and
I had big problem(guilt/condimnation) from my past.
but God saved my soul. I am not perfect just forgiven. so grateful
and thankful for God loves us who we are. Thank you for your post!
God bless.