Grace and Gratitude
Lately, I have been a bit overwhelmed by a few things that I worry about. Then tonight I had a call from a very close friend. It's amazing how God sends His reminders across. Just because He knows me so well so He sent me an angel to calm my heart down through His words of affirmation.
The 2 things that got highlighted to me were God's Abounding Providence and Gratitude. Indeed, I can never recall a time when He has led me to a place or situation where His Grace did not cover for all my needs. It's always been sufficient for me. ("My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:0)
I can still remember that night before I left for Manila to meet an interviewer for a potential job in Afghanistan. That's what I was told. I turned to my mom with teary eyes, "I will get us out of this predicament, Ma. This will come to pass." After spending what little I got from my meager salary to buy the plane ticket, all my efforts just went to nothing. It turned out that the whole "job offer" pitch was a sham. It broke my heart. I felt like my dreams got shattered. A few months later, I got the real job offer in Singapore. And now on my 7th year in the same company, I am grateful for what I thought was a rejection then. Unbeknown to me then, God had a grander plan for me. He led to a more beautiful and promising job.
Whenever I recall those times when I only used to fervently pray for the things that I now enjoy, I cannot help but be filled with so much gratitude. I say this because I too had my share of hardships in life. And I still face difficulties every now and then. They're still of the same weight. Maybe they just don't feel that heavy to me anymore. And maybe because through the years, I have come to witness how God worked through every trial and turned each one of them into wonderful blessings. I then developed a habit of Gratitude.
A chaplain once shared with us his 2 Important Secrets to unlocking Gratitude:
The easiest way to become miserable in life is to COMPARE YOURSELF WITH OTHERS.
Sometimes we tend to get envious with people who may have what we do not have. That's because we can only see one side of the story. We do not grasp the whole picture at once. Not yet. And it is so easy to drown oneself in jealousy or misery. So as for me, I tried to shift my disposition, that is, to remind myself that there could be a lot of people out there who may be in a much worse situation that I am. Then I would realize how insignificant my problems are compared to the issues confronting the world today. (So for the singles out there, we DO NOT have the right to complain about waiting! Think about a couple who just got married and had to be separated by distance for an indefinite time or those families who are painfully waiting each time for their loved ones to return from war.)
The best way to pursue a life of Happiness is to COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS.
Whenever things get me down, I get myself back up by counting each and every little blessing that comes my way. This then fills my heart with Gratitude. And Gratitude generates Happiness. It may be easier said than done and may entail some conscious efforts to get oneself into this habit. Everything begins with the acknowledgment of one's need for God's Grace. Then as you embrace everything as tied to Grace, Gratitude opens your heart to start to recognize every small blessing as something to be THANKFUL and HAPPY about.
And tonight, I would like to thank You Lord for EVERYTHING that You have done for me and my loved ones and for ALL the Amazing things that You have yet to do in my life!
Friends, I shall leave you with my favorite bible verse again:
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Now, tell me what are you most grateful for?