I’ve heard it said that it is difficult to be completely focused on your problems if you keep a heart of gratitude. The Bible has a lot to say about being grateful. Gratitude is good for the soul. One thing is for sure: it’s hard to be selfish and grateful at the same time.
Every day that I receive a single ounce of God’s grace is a day for me to be grateful. Whether or not I feel like it, it’s good practice to give God thanks. It doesn’t mean that everything is perfect in my world. Surely not. Giving God thanks is more about directing my heart, my soul, and my mind toward God for who God is and for what He has done in my life than it is about my current situation or present circumstance.
Apart from God, I wouldn’t be here today.
On a Saturday morning, twenty-five years ago, coming off a thirty-three day binge and desperately trying to satisfy the hair of the dog, I fell to my knees in desperation, facing two choices: live or die. That morning God made it clear something had to change if I expected to be around much longer. It was my first lesson in understanding that until the pain of remaining the same outweighs the pain of change, we will remain the same. Laying on the floor of my house, I realized my life had become unmaneagable and I had grown sick and tired of being sick and tired. For a moment, death seemed like a viable and welcome option.
I couldn’t go on living like I had been living.
Thankfully, God did not give up on me, even though I certainly seemed ready to give up on myself. The pain of that moment still hits a somber chord in my soul. My eyes still swell up with sorrow at the memory of who I was then. Twenty-five years later, the memory of that man still tastes real. I was a hurricane looking to land ashore.
Perhaps my favorite Scripture, that speaks to who I was then and who I am now, is found in 2 Corinthians.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
I couldn’t tell you what was going on in the world back then. My life was littered with the pain of those I hurt. In my journey, I’d left a wake of destruction. I’d like to think that God salvaged some of the good qualities I had left and wove them into who I am today. I’m not perfect, by any measure you want to define it. But, I like who I am today much better than that guy I had become. It took God and a whole lot of people to mold and shape the man I am today.
Prayer of Gratitude:
Heavenly Father, hallowed be Your name. All praise and glory be to You, my God. Thank You for saving me when I couldn’t save myself. Thank You, God, for washing me clean, healing my wounds, and for shaping and molding me into the man I have become today. Not because of any doing on my own, but because of the work You did in my life and the work that the people you brought into my life poured into me. I am grateful for their love and Your love as I sit here contemplating how far You have brought me. May I continue to serve You with honor and may I be the salt and light that draws others to You. Thank You, God, for all You have done for me. I am grateful. My heart is full. May I love You with all my heart, soul, and mind. May I love others as You have loved me. In Jesus’ name.
Today, thanks be to God, because I am celebrating 25 years of sobriety. How cool is that?
As a friend of mine likes to say: Thanks for listening.
May the God above all gods shower you with favor and bless you with goodness and kindness. May He help you cultivate a grateful heart.
One day at a time…
More of Him, Less of me