More than finding the “right” weight-loss program, more than exercising more, or doing everything in “just the right balance,” practicing gratitude does amazing things from the inside out. I know I have proclaimed this here at the blog a lot, but today, Thanksgiving Day 2009, it bears repeating!
Let me share a story to illustrate this. Mary’s daughter just moved her mom out of an independent living situation in an apartment into an assisted living facility. Mary has Alzheimers. Before she moved, she was miserable and angry all the time. Now that she has moved, rather than following the pattern of most people when their “independence” seems taken from them, Mary is much happier.
The ironic thing is, the primary reason for Mary’s change in perspective is that when Mary lived on her own in her apartment, she plastered Post-It notes up all over the walls and cabinets with reminders of what she was angry about. Without these notes, she would forget she was angry.
In a new environment, Mary no longer has these reminders to help her focus on her anger (justified or otherwise). Having forgotten all, she is now much more light-hearted! Everyone notices the difference.
I got to thinking about this. In a very real way, Mary wall-papered not just her walls and cabinents with reminders of wrongs done to her, but she wall-papered her mind. I have to wonder if doing the same thing with all the blessings God has bestowed on us might not have the same effect. I don’t know about you, but I often forget the reasons I have to be thankful. What if I were to stick Post-It notes up all over the house with reminders of blessings–reasons I have for being thankful? Might this not affect how I live just as Mary’s Post-It notes affected her attitude and how she lived?
I know that when I focus on God’s amazing character and the wonderful way that he interacts with me, I have so much praise that wells up in my heart. It is hard to complain and gripe about food and my body when I allow HIS greatness to eclipse all my petty complaints!
As I practice this, it transforms me from the inside out. From someone who grabs for more, to someone who releases excess. From someone who finds something to criticize (about myself or others), to someone who delights in things formerly taken for granted. From someone who insists “I can TOO have that!” to someone who lovingly delights in offering to the Lord whatever he requires of me.
In this journey I have been on, I know for a fact that gratitude has been foundational in “flipping the switch” for me. It is time for me to return to a commitment to practicing gratitude.
Thank you, Lord, for the reminders you provide of how much I have to be thankful for.