I am about to turn 42 and would like to take some time to reflect on my life. Especially, how much I have to be grateful for.
It is so easy to see the things we consider bad in our lives, the things we don’t like, the situations we want to end. It could be a physical problem in the form of an illness or disability. It could be the mental anguish of depression. It could be the loss of a family member due to them walking away or dieng.
No matter the situation, we all have been there. All we can see is the problems around us. We get so focused on what’s wrong that we can’t see the good in anything.
That used to be me. Don’t get me wrong, like anyone else, I still have my moments of an extremely negative outlook on life. As I get closer to God those days are fewer and further between. It’s when I start to drift away from God and put my primary focus on me and my problems that I start to get into a negative mindset.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. – Matthew 6:33 NLT
So the most important thing I am grateful for is my relationship with God. It is only through a relationship with Him that I can truly find satisfaction, joy, and fulfillment. I never truly felt free and like I could just be me until I had a relationship with God.
This was by no means an overnight transformation. I have seen some people who were lucky enough to have an immediate transformation but that wasn’t my experience. It isn’t typical. Like any relationship, it takes effort and spending time with the other person. Our relationship with God isn’t much different in this regard. The best way to get to know God is through prayer and Bible reading. If I don’t do this I slowly start to see a negative change in my attitude.
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
Whatever they do prospers. – Psalm 1:2-3
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2
I am also grateful for my family. Too many families have a tendency to raise disabled children differently because of the disability. I saw many children who’s parents could care less. I also saw those who were spoiled rotten because their parents let them get away with murder.
My parents never fell into the trap of either extreme. When it came to my behavior, they had the same expectations they would have for any other child. People at our church and our extended family would tell them that they were being too hard on me. I am grateful that they didn’t listen to them. If they would have I would probably be a pretty miserable person.
They always encouraged me not to focus on what I couldn’t do but what I could do. I truly believe that is a huge contributor to my long life. Doctors said I would be lucky to live until I was 16. There was a time in my teenage years when this thought got to me but thankfully I snapped out of it. If I didn’t have a positive attitude I may have given up on life.
Of course, scientific advances in my lifetime were a big help too. There are medications I take that weren’t available in the previous generation, and not to mention portable ventilators. Before these people with breathing issues had to rely on machines called iron lungs which took up the whole room. Two more things to be grateful for.
Finally, I am grateful for my church family. I have found great encouragement from so many people who have come into my life. Some of them were only in my life for a season but were there at the right time. Other friendships have lasted ever since I became a Christian and continue to breathe life into me. I hope I have touched some just as much as they have touched me. That’s the whole idea. Isn’t it?
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25