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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Have a Grateful Day

Not long ago, I ran into a young man who’s troubled, but yet has a hunger for the Lord. He’s a writer and has insights that shine through his battle in trying to succeed in life.

I overheard him talking on the telephone one day, and before he hung up, instead of saying, “Have a great day,” he said something that’s been going through my mind over and over since then.

“Have a grateful day.”

How I needed that instruction for my own heart.

I tend to focus on the negatives even though I have a life that’s richly blessed by the Lord. When difficult circumstances arise, I focus on what’s bad in my life. Instead of gratitude, griping words come out of my mouth fueled by a heart gripped by self-pity.

After hearing what this young man said, I prayed, “Lord, help me to have grateful days.”

And God has been showing me how.

He has opened my eyes anew to all that’s good around me and to the good that’s coming from difficult situations.

When I’m outside I can see the beauty of nature and thank God instead of being internally focused and fretting over the latest crises in relationships.

Not long after hearing that young man say, “Have a grateful day,” I went to the emergency room with scary symptoms and had to stay overnight for observation.

Even then God helped me have a grateful day. Instead of spending my time worrying about what was wrong with my body, I thanked Him for the kind and caring nurses, doctors, patient care techs, and other hospital workers. I thanked Him for how healthy my body has been over the years. I thanked Him for the opportunity to let His light shine through me while I was in the hospital. I thanked Him that He was going to bring good out of the situation—even if I couldn’t see what it was at the moment.

I thanked God for my daughters and husband who kept me company and encouraged me throughout my ordeal of “losing control” of what my body was doing.

Not only did I thank God, but I thanked all the people I mentioned above.

And when the verdict came concerning my symptoms, I thanked God that it wasn’t a more serious issue and that I could go home.

What I discovered as I’ve determined to make every day—not just Thanksgiving Day—a grateful day, is that my gratitude in the past has often come after a difficult time is over. God has shown me that being grateful in the midst helps me to have peace and to maintain confidence in Him.

When I think of a grateful heart, I remember what God instructs us all to do:

"... in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)

"Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting." Psalm 107:1 (NASB)

Even when things go from bad to worse, there is always so much to thank the Lord for—things that never change, like His love for me, my salvation, and His promise to be with me always. And the list goes on.

When I’m grateful, hard times can be when I sense God’s closeness and His care for me. Forsaking gratitude brings misery.

Today and in the days ahead, I’m going to take the advice of the precious one God brought across my path to remind me to “Have a grateful day.”

Gratitude can turn a grueling day into a great day. 

Copyright © 2016 Elaine Creasman. Used by permission.

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