Gratitude changes attitude

I love Thanksgiving, the day off from work, family get together, and best of all, a specific day dedicated to giving thanks !  It encourages all of us to take out time to count our blessings.

I have heard of intentional thanksgiving countless time and took it to heart how important it is to be thankful.  I have always been thankful to the Lord for the family I have, our health, our friendships, and the job I love.  It's something I carry in my heart.  However, saying "thank you for..." and really giving yourself the time and space to think, realize, and fully absorb why you are thankful is quite different, for me at least.  I only been making time for intentional thanks giving in recent years and it's quite mind changing.

I don't go to bed feeling all content and blessed every night !  Who does ?  Some night I lay in bed feeling upset or frustrated or tired or worried.  When I pray it's quite easy to start pouring out on all that's unfair, that's wrong to the Lord; but since making a habit of giving thanks first (I actually learnt about this when I was a tween but I never understood the whys), lingering on at this phrase, giving it more time, (before moving on with prayer requests) I noticed it changes my perceptions of things.  

At the start of prayer, I would list out what I am thankful for.  It start with one thing, then usually that one thing linked to another and then another, and somewhere during this time, the attitude of my heart change.  I don't know how to explain it, it's the mystery when conversing with the Almighty !  I just know it to be true.  I can feel the Lord telling me to be at peace and cast all my cares on him.  If I was upset or frustrated, I am now more calm and collected and gained new insight of the situation.  If I was tired, well I am still tired :) but I see purpose to my tiredness (I am growing a family after all and that takes efforts and plenty of sweats) and understand that it will go away with a good night rest.  If I was worried, I am reminded of all the times Jesus provided, how faithful He is.  I might feel I am at a dead end but He's got a way out.  HE ALWAYS have an awesome plan for me.

I understood now why we give thanks first !  because it takes us out of the little black hole we are currently in and shows us a bigger picture.  Remembering how the Lord took care of me in past circumstances gives me hope for whatever trials I am facing.  This changes my perceptions of the situation I am in, changes my attitude, changes my approach, and changes the course of my prayer.

While I don't always go to bed with a smile on my face, I always always wake up feeling grateful and peaceful.  It's a habit I do so often that it's slowly becoming a part of me !  I give thanks through out the day,  thankful for the break in the rain when I walk home with Bee from school, thankful for long nap Peanut took so I can write this post, etc etc !  This is probably one of my favourite habit and one that I want to keep.