My New Year’s resolution is to have a more grateful heart in 2011. When I am tempted to despair and fear, I am determined to quickly change those negative thoughts to ones of gratitude. Life is full of disappointments and failures, but we can take those hurtful things and look for how we can grow and become stronger through them, instead of wallowing in self-pity and asking the “Why” questions. Life is too short to spend any time at all in such negative, time-robbing thinking. I want to turn from thinking about what I have to battle to enjoying the process of figuring out how to face my battles with praise.

Jan and EarlIt is said that without pain there is no gain. Certainly, it is true that if our lives are full of everything being perfect and comfortable, we would not become strong emotionally, physically, or spiritually. Today, I am grateful for each good thing that comes into my life. The “good thing” might just be an hour playing with one of our grandchildren, a walk with Earl or meeting a friend or family member for coffee.

Gratitude needs to become an “attitude”. This means that we place a new value on the things that are truly important in my life. Gratitude often requires an adjustment in priorities. I must decide to ask myself, “What am I most grateful for today?”

As we shift our focus from what we don’t have to what we do have and we focus on the things and people for which we are deeply grateful the more we will experience a positive and uplifting cycle of thinking. Gratitude thinking creates an increased level of alertness for what might be. People that are appreciative enjoy a greater enthusiasm for life. That enthusiasm generates an abundance of determination and helps us have more energy. I believe that grateful people have a deep abiding feeling of joy. As we remember that the Bible says that the joy of the Lord gives us strength, let us be a joyful people. It also says in Romans chapter 12 and verse 12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.” So no matter what battles we face in this life, I know that we can experience a sense of abiding purpose and fulfillment if we truly learn the art of living a life of gratitude.

I’m willing to try. Won’t you consider joining me? Remember… "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." (Psalm 28:7)  With an attitude of gratitude we will make a difference in 2011 in our families, our work, our play, and our world.  We give thanks to the Lord for He is good… all the time.