Virtues ~n~ Vices :: GRATITUDE

Virtue: a valued principle of good moral behavior; a holy habit.


Vice: a practice of wrongdoing, corruption of virtue; an unholy habit.

GRATITUDE: the gracious response to a kindness performed or gift given. 


ENTITLEMENT: the state of being entitled; believing one deserves certain privileges.


We don’t hear much talk about gratitude unless it’s near Thanksgiving, then it’s an expected topic. What does it say about our culture, when gratitude is only discussed once a year?

On the other hand, entitlement is rampant, in conversation or not, it’s everywhere… big corporations expecting the government to save them from consequences of poor management, individuals filing for bankruptcy to avoid paying off debt, single mom’s having multiple babies to get more government subsidies, students expecting new cars at 16 and full college tuition from their in debt and over-worked parents.

This may be a soapbox topic, but it’s no laughing matter, it’s a serious problem in our culture, government, businesses, schools, and families. Most importantly, what is it teaching our children?

Addicts are some of the worst with a sense of entitlement and a lack of gratitude. Many addicts are dependent on others, rarely does an addict supply their own drug of choice. The worst thing is taking life for granted, escaping from reality by slow suicide in some form.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity… it turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~ Melodie Beattie

When we are grateful we take nothing for granted, we are constantly awakened to God’s goodness around us. Gratitude cannot be feigned or faked, it in itself makes us sincere. It comes only by personally experiencing the hand of God’s love and mercy working in our life.

Our knowledge of God is perfected by gratitude: we are thankful and rejoice in the experience of the truth that He is love. ~ Thomas Merton

Many traits and emotions are important to our well being, but gratitude is unique. In studies it’s been found that people who are more grateful are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and relationships. Grateful people are less likely to avoid problems, blame themselves or cope through substance use. They sleep better because they focus on positive thoughts before going to sleep.

Amazing that such a simple thing, an attitude of gratitude, can effect so many areas of our life!


How can we live with Gratitude?

  • Thank God every morning for the new day, commit to live it well.
  • Focus on the good in our lives and on the good in others.
  • Recognize all the good we have in ourselves and while trying to improve daily.
  • Don’t complain about what we don’t have or what we’re not.
  • Think of others and use the gifts we have to help them.
  • Thank others for the work they do.

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~ 1 Thess 5:18

What can you do today to improve your Gratitude quotient?


Enjoy this video as you Give Thanks with a grateful heart! http://youtu.be/IBpv-ZzcQD8

Healing Hurts :: 5 Steps to Overcome an Identity Crisis



Life today is lived at a break-neck speed. We’re sophisticated, educated, wealthy; going, doing, acquiring. Our cluttered minds are numbed with the social, news and entertainment media available at our fingertips every waking moment.


The world is off Center and dragging us with it. With lives so focused on caring and living for others, no wonder women wake up one day and suddenly find themselves dizzy with doubt about who they are.

Who’s got time to stop and think? 
To ponder self and life’s meaning? 

Identity Crisis shows up in all seasons of life, often brought on by sudden life changes and displays various external behaviors depending on the person.

Adolescence, midlife, empty nest, divorce, death of a spouse, career change, Perimenopause, sexual or gender confusion, etc… Let’s look at these tough times of life and find answers that bring relief and peace.


What is an Identity Crisis?

  • Conflict when the visible you doesn’t match the “real” you. 
  • Disillusionment when roles or relationships are removed or changed.
  • Confusion possibly brought on by childhood trauma or abuse. 

What Are The Emotional Symptoms?
Anxiety –– Who am I?
Depression –– My life is hopeless.
Self-doubt — I can’t do anything right.
Low self-worth — I’m no good.
Self-conscious — My body is unacceptable.

What Are Some Outward Symptoms?
Attitudes and behaviors turn negative 
Unhealthy friendships are prominent 
Sexual immorality / Substance abuse 
Poor choices and impulsive decisions 
Can’t set long-term goals for future

Women are always putting themselves at the bottom of the list. We’re so concerned with taking care of everyone else that when we finally do have time for ourselves we’re too exhausted to care anymore! Without realizing it, we find our identity in doing rather than being; life is about others vs. life with God. If continued long term these unhealthy habits may set us up for a hard fall.

Often people in the church give the pat answer, “If our identity is in Christ, we should be fine.” Well, that is true and sounds good, but even a believer can find herself suddenly drowning in life changes that bring about an emotional upheaval. 

How can a Follower of Christ stay strong during these troubling times? 

1. Examine Your Center
How do you start your day? Checking email on your phone before you drag out of bed? Try going to bed and getting up earlier so you can spend time with God in prayer and meditation first thing! I suggest at least 15-30 minutes of silence with the Lord before reading the Bible or a devotional. If we don’t fuel our spirit in silence and solitude, we’ll have no strength available when turmoil comes. 
2. Examine Your Health
Often our emotions get the best of us in times of stress because we are nutritionally and physically deficient. Too much sugar, caffeine and fast-food, combined with not enough sleep and no exercise can leave us vulnerable.
3. Examine Your Dreams
What about life brings you joy… bird watching, gardening, reading? Do you have old interests left unexplored? New ones unchallenged? Have you always wanted to paint, sky dive, go to college? What are you waiting for? “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than your think!” 
4. Examine Your Relationships
It’s possible that not all your relationships are healthy. Do you have co-workers or family members who are so negative that it drains you to be around them? Take a step back. Find people who make you smile or laugh. Spend more time with them.
5. Examine Your Self
If reading this you find yourself in a state of despair over your life situation, past mistakes or what appears to be a hopeless future, please find a counselor, trusted friend or family member to whom you can share your pain. Often just talking it out resets our mind, energies and path. As always, feel free to email me if you need a friend!

Your real life is hidden with Christ in God. ~ Colossians 3:3


Find strength for the journey with the @Newsboys   http://youtu.be/z8j-YLb37Yk




Resources:
Biblical Counseling Keys: Identity: Who Are You? by @JuneHunt www.hopefortheheart.org
Embracing Your Second Calling by @DaleHansonBourke 
Twelve Steps to Inner Freedom by Joan Chittister www.joanchittister.org