Last night, I was listening to a preaching about gratitude. It spoke to me so much, I had to blog about it. I want to share the short talk I heard and add up some of my personal realizations.
It may be hard to feel thankful right now with everything that’s happening around us, but what I learned is that it doesn’t take much to feel truly grateful within. The genuine attitude of gratitude can be practiced by everyone on a daily basis if only we have the right mindset.
The talk was inspired by the letter of Paul to the Philippians (Philippians 4:10-19).
Just a background info (for those who are not familiar), Paul was once anti-Christ. He loathed Jesus. He persecuted Christians. He was an enemy of the church. One day, he got struck by an immensely bright light from heaven that it literally blinded him for three days. In that event, God revealed Himself to him, asking, “Saul (his former name), why do you persecute me?” That was Paul’s turning point. After that event, he completely transformed and decided to dedicate his life to preach the Gospel. For me, Paul’s story is one of the most, if not the most, inspiring transformation stories I have ever known.
Based on the preaching that I was talking about in the beginning, there are four main reasons why Paul seemed so blessed. I believe that if we are able to practice these things, we will be able to master the attitude of gratitude.
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.”(Philippians 4:11).
Noticed how he used the phrase “I have learned”. Contentment is learned. It is not natural for humans to feel completely satisfied. We crave for things that we do not have. It takes time and experience, and of course, prayer and petition to learn how to be content.
For a great start, learn to stop comparing yourself to others. Comparison kills contentment. Focus on yourself and your own growth. At the end of the day, only you and God can evaluate your work. As long as you did your best, you’re good. Things might not go exactly as you planned it, but sometimes, it is what it is.
Last Friday, I felt God really spoke to me through one of my co-workers. Being the workaholic that I am, I was anxious about something, and I asked him for some input. We reviewed what we have done so far and we both agreed that we have done everything we could and more. Still, the outcome was not perfect. Then, he said, “You know what, Rina, all I can say is, have a good rest this long weekend and happy thanksgiving. You deserve it. You did your best, but there are people and circumstances that we cannot control. It is just how things are.”
“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” (Galatians 6:4-5).
Being content, however, does not mean being complacent. Set a goal. Once reached, celebrate, then keep moving forward and go where your talents can be of good use.
“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” (Philippians 4:12).
You will only know the meaning of plenty if you know what it is to have scarcity.
Paul was once rich, but he turned his back from that and instead chose the hard life. He even went to prison on his journey to spread the Good news.
Detach. Simplify. Focus on the essentials. We are already blessed. Happiness is already within us, we just have to remove the non-essentials.
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
The biggest secret of all: when you have Jesus in your life, you will be content, and this mindset can do EVERYTHING.
This verse is not about self-belief, it is about trusting wholeheartedly that Jesus will fight the battles, run the race, and do the work you cannot do.
In the process, don’t fear being vulnerable. Vulnerability is actually a show of strength – not only of you for admitting your weaknesses, but of God working in your life. You just have to trust.
Relationships require commitment, right? The same idea applies. When you give God your commitment, God will give you His.
“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
The promise: God will supply all your NEEDS (not wants). God will give according to His riches and generosity (not according to your works).
God does not only promise strength. He also promises to give you all that you will ever need. So, give your first fruits to God – time, money, service. Give freely. Remember, you can never outgive God. You can never give too much because He is the source of everything. His blessings are limitless.
“At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God.” (Philippians 4:19).
When Paul wrote this letter, he was in prison. Can you imagine a prisoner being this excited and happy despite his situation?
Happiness is not being in the right place/position, but with having the right perspective and state of mind.
Be grateful. Speak it. Shout it. Declare it!
I may have countless needs but I am blessed.
I may be tired but I am blessed.
I may be alone but I am blessed.
I may have gone through troubled waters but I am blessed.
Now, it’s your turn. Complete the sentence:
I MAY BE _____ BUT I AM BLESSED!
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. It is actually a statutory holiday. I love how a day in a year is dedicated to celebrate all the things that people are grateful for. Friends and family gather over turkey and treats to remember their blessings.
Let us try to make every day a day of gratefulness and thanksgiving. I believe that when we practice this attitude of gratitude on a daily basis, life will be sweeter, more fruitful and generally more satisfying despite the lacks and losses.
Happy thanksgiving and see you in the next one!