Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Grateful Heart

Much is being said these days about "thankfulness" and being grateful.  The times we are living in are a struggle for so many, that remembering to be thankful is probably the last thing on people's minds.  I've actually had folks say to me that they don't have one thing in their life to be thankful for.  While life may be hard and circumstances may be far from perfect, I just can't imagine not having one thing in my life for which I'm grateful.

My Gripes Be Gone Bracelet
I'm reading Linda Dillow's book "What's it Like to be Married to Me".  She has a bracelet that comes in conjunction with the book that she call's the "Gripes Be Gone bracelet".  Every time you gripe or complain, you have to switch the bracelet to the other wrist.  The theory is to wear the bracelet for 21 days in a row without griping.  Here is the astonishing part; it takes the average person 4 to 8 months to go 21 days in a row without griping!  Isn't that just crazy?!  I have had the bracelet for a week now and have not managed to go one whole day yet without a gripe.  I'm getting so much better, but I still have a way to go.  My biggest gripe is traffic, but that's another story.


When we get in the habit of speaking out the frustrating things, the "yuck" in our lives, it begins to take hold of us on the inside and then "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh" Luke 6:45.  I think that's why Scripture admonishes us; "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things." Phil 4:8 (NIV)


Were you ever in a play that you had to memorize lines for?  You had to rehearse and rehearse and rehearse your part until it became second nature to you.  You could eventually say the lines without even thinking about them.  I think that's how thankfulness works.  We find the good things in our lives and then rehearse and rehearse and rehearse them.  Soon, our hearts are full of gratefulness to God for the small things, the big things and for things that we never even thought about before.


Sweet Basil
I'll give you an example of something I've turned from griping into thankfulness.  Our city has had an unbearably hot summer this year with temperatures over 105° many days in a row.  I love to garden and if you have read my earlier post The Master Gardener then you know that I have been very frustrated that none of my vegetables have been able to survive the summer heat.  I have been upset that so much time, effort and money has been spent to make my little garden grow and it seemed all for nothing.  I must confess that I have griped long and hard about it.  Until, the day that I realized that my herbs have flourished and I have been able to cook with fresh herbs all summer long.  I know that may seem like a small thing to be grateful for, but I LOVE being able to cook with fresh herbs right out of the garden!  Once I started rehearsing how grateful I was that I have fresh herbs to cook with, I soon forgot about the rest of my parched, cracked garden.  I could truly feel a shift in my heart.


You see, friends, God is able to work with a heart that is overflowing in an abundance of gratitude.  A heart that has been rehearsing ungratefulness and complaints has become closed off to the things of God.  God's nature and blessings won't flow naturally like a well rehearsed script if you've hardened your heart.  If you can sit down in a quiet place with a pen and paper and ask God to show you the blessings that He's given you, you might be surprised at how many things you are able to write down!


What things can you think of that God has done for you?  What blessings are you rehearsing today?  They can be small, like herbs in a garden or they can be huge blessings, like a child recovering from an illness.  Whatever they are, rehearse them, open your heart and let God pour Himself into you in the midst of any circumstance!  If you have something that you're thankful for that you'd like to share, leave a comment and share it with us.  You can also visit a wonderful blog "I Live in an Antbed" and share a post there!  I look forward to hearing from you!  I pray you discover a multitude of blessings from God to be grateful for!


From His Lap,

28 comments:

  1. So true, Erin; thank you for these words! And thanks for telling others about Anne's link up. I think it's such an important thing to record how God shows up in our famililes!

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  2. Brandee,
    Thank you so much for stopping by and your kind words.
    I tried to add Anne's button to my post, but it wouldn't work. I have it in the sidebar though. I hope with the link I put in there, readers will visit her page and share!
    Blessings
    Erin

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  3. Hi Erin - I also believe one has to train oneself to be thankful. It seems to come naturally to gripe and we have to retrain our brains. It is amazing to me how, when we do get this right how different our circumstances appear. Its to get into the habit of being grateful at all times. Excellent post.
    God bless
    Tracy

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  4. Thanks, Tracy! I've been rehearsing!!! And you're right, circumstances seem different!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  5. My family, health, freedom, & good friends!
    Nancy

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  6. Great things to be grateful for, Nancy!!! Me too!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  7. Erin, It is good to be thankful! My entire world changes when I look for the blessings flowing from Heavenly Father. Even the air we breathe is a blessing! Thanks for your goodness and for sharing your testimony with us!

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  8. You are so right, Becky Jane, so right! He is so good and faithful to us!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  9. Erin, this is a beautiful post. I have a multitude of things to be thankful for each and every day and moment of my life. Thank you for such an inspiring post! !Hugs, Mitzi

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  10. Erin, I love the idea of the bracelet.....I wonder how long I would go...probably not very long...hahahah

    You are so right on about gratitude....I heard someone say when we practice thankfulness it takes us right into the presence of God...What better reason could we possibly have then to spend time with Him.....

    I love this post; I needed to hear it today....

    Hugs and blessings,
    Nancy

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  11. LOVE Linda Dillow, and I haven't read this one yet. Will Add to my list!
    And today, I am thankful for lazy summer days with my kids and nieces in the backyard running through the sprinkler while I get to sit and chat and catch up with my sis.

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  12. Hi Erin,
    I have so much to be grateful for...
    BUT...
    the bracelet thing cracks me up! Do they have heehee replacement, back-ups and spares on the bracelet... cause some of us might need to order by the dozen... the traffic gets me too!
    Love ya,
    Lisa

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  13. Stacie, I love Linda Dillow too! Lazy summer days with kids and sisters are heaven!! Have fun catching up with your sis!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  14. Lisa,
    I think those bracelets could get pretty thin, being moved back and forth so much! :0)
    Love you!
    Erin

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  15. Mitzi,
    Isn't God good??? Everyday, if we look for Him, we will find Him all around us!
    xo,
    ~Erin

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  16. Aw, Nancy, I'm so glad you stopped by. Being in His presence is pure joy and something to be thankful for, every minute of our lives!
    You are a blessing to me!
    ~Erin

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  17. Erin,
    This is so precious! And you are right! We choose our perspective. If we decide we are going to be grateful, He allows us to see so many blessings. If I decide I'm angry, I can find all kinds of things to be angry about. It comes back to my choice. That bracelet is a great idea--a visible reminder of a spiritual discipline. My mind is running through the list of all the ways I could us the same idea for myself and for the kids. Thank you!!!! And thank you for linking-up today!!!! I really appreciate it, dear. :)

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  18. Anne,
    I am inspired by every post on your blog and so honored that you visit here! I'm thankful for you! See...I have a grateful heart!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  19. Erin, thank you so much for visiting my blog and your kind comment. So happy to have found your blog. This post rings so true to me. That "grip" bracelet is such an awesome idea!
    There are times I whine, I cry, I feel sorry for myself but as myy mom always told me, "when things are trying, count your blessings" and there are so many blessings in all of our lives. You are a wonderful and blessed woman! Looking forward to following! Xoxo
    Maria :)

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  20. Hi Erin,
    I enjoyed this blog and will try to imagine having a bracelet. If it doesn't work, I might have to buy one. I think I'm a pretty positive and thankful person, but I'm sure I'd be surprised at how many times I gripe, too.
    I love Philippians 4:8. I try to live by it, but know I can do better. Thanks for the reminder.
    Love,
    Susan

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  21. Maria,
    Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I'm so happy to have found you on voiceBoks! I can't wait to get to know you better. I love your blog!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  22. Susan,
    I was so surprised, because I didn't consider myself a "griper", but I found out differently!
    Love you!
    Erin

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  23. I have so many things to be grateful for and I appreciate your post. It's been a hard few weeks but I wake up everyday grateful to just be....I always say I am still on the right side of the dirt (just a little.joke) ....happy days and love to you

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  24. Karen,
    You know I always love to hear from you. Been wondering what you've been up to!!!
    Love you!
    Erin

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  25. I need to do this! I have a bracelet I could turn into a gripes begone bracelet. :) We've been on vacation this past week, and God showed me several things I had not noticed about myself, including the gripes. I also have traffic issues :). Can we work on all the gripes except traffic ones first, lol? Seriously, I had tried for several weeks to be a part of Ann Voskamps Grateful Mondays, but have let it slip the last few weeks.I definitely need to get back to it. I appreciate what you have written too. Very encouraging and great reminders. Thanks! Angela Fitch

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  26. Angela,
    Thanks so much for stopping by! The traffic issue is definitely the hardest for me too! Don't you just love Ann Voskamp! Keep up the good work. God sees your heart and He knows you are willing and want to do better!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  27. Thank you for sharing such a timely and important message. I am thankful for these words today, especially.

    With gratitude,
    Melissa

    (visiting from VB)

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  28. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit here, Championm2000! I'm so happy that you enjoyed the post!
    ~Blessings,
    ~Erin

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Thank you for giving us a little nugget of truth from your heart!

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