Uh um…Do you enjoy your life? Would you like to enjoy it more? Is there something you can do that will actually help you enjoy your life more? If the answer to that question is “yes” would you do what needs to be done?
Would you prefer to listen to this teaching?
Do you ever think about that?
I know…I get it…we’re so busy…so…
- So many voices clamoring for our attention.
We simply don’t take the time to notice or think about the wonderful things that enrich our lives. Thoughts that reflect on the precious things in life that we’ve been given will fill our hearts. That’s full thinking.
But what about you…
Do you think full or empty?
It is very easy to fill our thoughts with lack and need instead of thinking about the things that make our lives full, the blessings, the happy things and people that encourage us. Why is it we have the tendency to think about things that drain us emotionally, but fail to think about things that enrich and encourage us? And, why do we allow our thoughtlessness to make us miss sunsets and licking the last drop of syrup off our fork after pancakes?
Why do we think about the person that ignored us and not the radiant smile of the person that was genuinely glad to see us?
Thinking full refocuses our thoughts to whisper a prayer for the distracted or disgruntled friend and enjoying…yes, actually enjoying the friend that was so glad to see us. Think about that relationship, that person’s warmth. As you take the time to reflect, to enjoy it instead of minimizing it…it will bring joy to your heart.
Why do we think about the grumpy sales clerk instead of the warm friendly one?
Thinking full refocuses your attention from the grumpy sales clerk to how much God loves that person. Instead of joining them in having a bad day, pray for them. Refocus your thoughts on the enjoyable part of your shopping trip. The bargain you found, the look on your child’s face as he/she buried their face into the center of the hamburger.
Or, why do we fail to deliberately and strategically think about our blessings? Reflecting on your blessings is full thinking, because those thoughts will fill your mind and heart with joy.
When we fail to think about our blessings, we miss the joy, the fullness that comes from savoring them.
Ever felt unappreciated?
Maybe you’ve complained, “they don’t even realize all that I do for them!
They don’t realize how hard I work…give…sacrifice…etc”.
We all have!
As a parent, one of our goals is to teach our children to appreciate the sacrifice and services of others, but when it comes to other people there will be times when people totally overlook your sacrifice and hard work.
But, you don’t have to allow their lack of understanding or appreciation to rob your joy of serving. Think full. Enjoy the privilege of using your talents to serve Jesus.
It’s your mind. It’s your choice.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have joy instead of frustration…and these days I’m choosing joy!
Have you ever…
Complained that you didn’t have anything to wear, as you looked through your closet full of clothes?
Or, stared into a pantry of food choices and complained that you didn’t have anything to eat?
Or, have you compared your family or friends, house, income with someone else’s and realized their’s was much bigger and grander and better than yours?
I’ve done it, and it’s draining.
But, we don’t have to think that way!
What is really going on that makes us feel that way?
When we have so much, why don’t we enjoy it more?
I know for the most part we aren’t thinking about our blessings enough. The lies we hear from so many arenas of our culture have produced faulty patterns of thought. I want to challenge you to look honestly at your heart, “Why don’t you really enjoy the blessings that God has given you?
If we can recognize it for what it is, then we can deal with it.
What is it? Is it:
- Busy lifestyles? (Not thinking about the good stuff enough.)
- We simply don’t value what we’ve been given, so we take it for granted?
You can choose your thoughts, so change them. Begin right now. Stop comparing what you have with someone else. That includes your…
Think about the wonderful things that enrich your life. Really think about them.
But thinking full is just the first step.
And this next step is the game changer!!!
Thank God for it!
When we open our heart to express our gratitude, it enriches our lives beyond words. Let me explain with a story from Jesus’ life.
In the past two devotions I’ve encouraged you to allow your problem (or need) to be a trigger that causes you to look to God. There were so many people in the Bible that saw Jesus, but didn’t recognize who He was. Oh, they might have known that His name was Jesus…but they didn’t recognize His power and authority.
tells us the intriguing story of ten men ostracized by an extremely contagious disease that recognized Jesus and acknowledged Him as Master. Luke uses a word here that denotes they recognized his authority. They kept their distance as the law demanded, but instead of crying out, “Unclean. Unclean;” they cried out “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
Jesus instructed them to “go show yourself to the priest.” As they went, not before, but as they went they realized they were healed. I can’t imagine what that must have meant to them to actually be healed of such a dreaded disease. Healing would change everything. They could go home to their families, communities and their livelihood. They were no longer outcasts—rejects–lepers.
I’m sure they must have been incredibly anxious to get to the priest…to show him that they were well. He was the only person that could release them to go back to their homes and families. Do you think they ran? I wouldn’t want to waste another minute.
However, one man didn’t seem to think turning around and running back to Jesus was a waste of time. I personally think he sorta celebrated and danced and hopped and skipped back, but the Bible simply states a single leper came back with loud shouts of “Praise God!” When he got to Jesus he fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what He had done. This wasn’t just a polite thank you. This man celebrated with shouts and then deep gratitude at Jesus’ feet.
Talking about something to celebrate, this man had something to celebrate. But how did he celebrate…with thanksgiving!
You know the story (Luke 17:11-17), so let’s keep focused on this solitary man at the feet of Jesus. Your faith has healed you, Jesus told him.
Jesus said “Were not all ten cleansed.” They saw healing because all they could see was their physical body. When Jesus spoke to this man at his feet, He uses an entirely different word. It is from the root word sozo which means wholeness…nothing missing, nothing broken…spirit, soul and body.
I understand the other nine wanted to hurry…they wanted to get back to life…but in their hurry they missed wholeness. What a terrible choice!
Gratitude makes us whole…
Gratitude fills our heart…while a gift can only fill our hands or a space in our home.
And, what about us…since I can only answer for myself and you can only answer for yourself, let me talk to you. I talked to myself when I was writing this, so don’t think I’m asking you to do something that I didn’t do.
Do you love the gift so much that you miss the Giver?
If you miss the Giver, you miss the best part of the gift– His love.
Do you love what is in His hand more than you do Jesus?
When you reach beyond the gift with your thanksgiving and praise, you reach all the way to the heart of the Giver. Then, you see that His gift reflects His nature.
Do you want to be whole?
Do you want your life to be better? Think Full then express it by being thankful.
One Step Farther
Isaiah 61:10 KJV
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
Rejoicing is more than rote “thank you.” It is:
- deliberate. (More than a feeling.)
- strategic. (I will.)
- purposeful. (Give God Glory)
- an act of faith.
It is a heartfelt celebration!
There’s no party like a “Thank you Jesus party”! You can have it anytime and anyplace! So the next time you want to grumble and gripe, have yourself a party!!!
Big Take Away– Becoming more think full and thankful is more powerful than you realize. Begin today to practice thinking about your blessings; then give thanks for them.