Have you ever said something and regretted it the moment the words left your mouth?
Last Friday – in the midst of a triple-digit heat wave – my husband awoke in the middle of the night and discovered that we did not have a single drop of running water in our house!
Although we paid our water bill:
We couldn’t get hot or cold water from our sink.
We couldn’t get filtered ice or water from our refrigerator.
We couldn’t run our dishwasher.
We couldn’t take a shower or brush our teeth.
We couldn’t flush the commode.
Since the water company couldn’t provide a reason for the shut-off, we got dressed and walked around the neighborhood at three in the morning to determine what was going on!
As it turned out, a water main had burst and the HOA had shut off the water in our development until repairs could be completed. Of course, no one was available to provide us with a time estimate on when repairs would be completed or water would be restored.
It was the weekend.
Keep Your Focus On God
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
For the past several years, I’ve been working on cultivating an attitude of gratitude in my life. This means that:
I try to keep my eyes on God and focus on what He is doing in my life.
I try to focus on the things that I have and not the things that I lack.
I try to be content in whatever circumstances God has placed me in.
In moments like these, however, I discover that I’m still a work in progress (Philippians 1:6).
On good days – on days when life runs smoothly – I find it easy to praise God for all of the glorious things that He does.
On stressful days – on days when things don’t go according to plan – I’m learning how far I still have to go.
Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
The next morning as I awoke, I had the opportunity to start my day with a prayer of thanks.
My first thought as I crawled out of my cozy bed should have been to thank God for providing me with a roof over my head and a safe place to sleep…
But it wasn’t.
I should have thanked God for protecting my family and providing us with salvation and so many unmerited gifts…
But I didn’t.
Instead, with laser-like precision, my mind immediately focused on the one thing that was temporarily missing from my life – the lack of running water – and my first words of the day were these:
Let me see if the water is back on or if we’ll be living in third-world conditions this weekend!
Now, the moment I heard those words flow from my lips I was mortified! I have traveled to places where third-world conditions exist and I was shocked at how easily I could grumble about my loss or compare my inconvenience to those who are truly suffering the moment a modern inconvenience temporarily disappeared from my life.
As I asked myself when was the last time I had actually thanked God for the gift of clean, running water in my home, I realized how easy it is to magnify our problems when we focus on them instead of keeping our eyes on Him.
With deep remorse, the second words out of my mouth that morning were prayers of repentance.
Guard Your Heart
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23
Before we can teach our children who God is and all that He does for us, we need to recognize and praise God for the daily miracles He is doing in our own lives.
Before we can teach our children how to guard against the things that will take their focus off of God, we need to know how to recognize and guard our own hearts.
Our children learn far more from the examples that we set than by the words that we say.
It’s up to us to teach them how to be thankful in all circumstances – to find a way to praise God for His goodness, even when we don’t see it at first glance.
Only when we focus on the overflowing abundance of God and the good gifts that He provides, without taking our eyes off of Him and focusing the things we think we lack, can we truly begin to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness in our hearts and begin to give thanks in all circumstances.
Thank you, God, for stores that carry ice and water.
Thank you, God, for refrigerators and electricity to keep our groceries cold.
Thank you, God, for paper plates to eat off of.
Thank you, God, for public facilities where we can freshen up!
Thank you, God, for emergency crews who worked diligently to restore our water.
Thank you, God, for every good and perfect gift from above. – James 1:17
A wonderful way to reinforce this lesson is by sharing Thankful – a delightful book for children of all ages! Written by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Archie Preston, Thankful celebrates the everyday blessings we find in our lives!
The following video provides you with a preview of what the book is about. I love the beautiful watercolor illustrations and the charming rhyme and I’m sure that you will too!
Watch the Video for Thankful by Eileen Spinelli
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Under what circumstances do you find it hard to be thankful? What has God revealed to you during these times? Share your thoughts on our blog. We’d love to hear from you!