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I would like to welcome you to another post in our series, The Power of Gratitude. Shauna Parker from Confessions of a Baptist is our guest writer today, and she will share her experiences of having an attitude of gratitude. So please, let’s share her lots of love. You’ll catch her bio and website info at the end of the post, as well as links to the other posts in this series. Without further ado, I present…
I am a very grateful person. However, it wasn’t always like that. You see I used to be a very negative person. So negative, Negative Nancy wanted nothing to do with me. But then one day I stumbled onto something that forever changed my life, an attitude of gratitude.
Now I would be lying if I said this change took place over night. I wish could say that. But the truth is it took months and is still something I have to practice on purpose daily. Having an attitude of gratitude means you find the good in people, things, and situations.
It is how you look at the world and respond. An attitude of gratitude takes work and constant practice until it becomes a habit. Even then you have to take a deep breath and make the choice to find the good. But the benefits of practicing gratitude are enormous.
An Attitude of Gratitude Is A Choice
Gratitude is a choice that we make. A few years back I was sitting in my living room with my front door open. It was a nice day and even though it was a rough time in my life I remember wanting to enjoy the sunshine on that particular day.
As I sat there reading and enjoying my coffee, I happened to look up from the sentences on the page that had me captivated with suspense. What I saw was what appeared to be broken glass.
Shocked, I jumped up from my couch and ran outside to find that the back window of my car was indeed shattered. It looked like a rock hit it. A police officer later determined that a BB was responsible for the damage.
Of course I was angry! Who wouldn’t be? It is only human to react in such a way, right? I stood there for a few minutes staring at my window not knowing what to do.
This was a time in my life when I was struggling. I couldn’t find a steady job. I was a single mom and I was on the very verge of losing literally everything. Which I later did.
Finally, I took a deep breath and I asked the Lord to help me see the good in the situation. About an hour later my neighbor walked by and offered to help remove the shattered glass so that I could actually drive my car safely. That was only one of the benefits of practicing gratitude.
As we were removing the last bit of glass it hit me “At least it wasn’t my windshield!” I said cheerfully. My neighbor just looked at me and replied that he couldn’t believe I was handling the situation so well.
A few days later a gentleman from my church, who owns a body shop, replaced my window free of charge. Talk about a blessing!
The Power Of Gratitude
The power of gratitude is something that will forever change your life. Around six months after the window incident I lost everything. I lost the house I was renting, my car that just had the back window replaced, even our cell phones were shut off. From there, I had to sell all of our belongings and was only able to keep our personal items and clothes.
My two children and I had to move back home to my parents house. I felt like an absolute failure and I felt worthless. It had seemed that no matter what I did, nothing would go my way.
Then one Sunday morning my Pastor said something that stuck with me. He said “Have you ever noticed that you get what you focus on, good or bad?” I thought about that long and hard. It finally made sense.
All those years of so called “Bad Luck” wasn’t really bad luck at all. It was negativity that I was focusing on. Instead of being grateful for things, I would always focus on the negative. Nothing could ever please me. It was my way or the highway. I focused on the bad, so I got more of the bad.
After I lost everything I stayed in a “self-pity” phase. Feeling sorry for myself wasn’t enough. I needed others to feel sorry for me too.
How could I make a change?
I wanted change I just didn’t know how to go about it. Then one day I came across Jack Canfield’s 10 Day Transformation. I followed every step and did exactly what the homework said to do:
Taking 100% responsibility for my life and my actions
Stop playing the Blame Game
Retrained my Brain for success with the Power of Gratitude
Things didn’t change overnight. But simply taking responsibility for my life and where I was, allowed me to be grateful for the things I had.
I found a job and saved my first couple of paychecks that allowed me to buy a car for $700. That ugly little car ended up being a blessing that I drove for the next two years and my daughter for a year after that.
Everyday I would get into the driver’s seat and show gratitude. I was so thankful I had a car to drive because for five months I had no transportation at all.
My job wasn’t the best, but I did like it. Although I have a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration: Management, I had to take a job that paid just a dollar over minimum wage. In fact I worked two jobs that year with a third job at Christmas time.
I was so worn out at times but I did it and I stayed grateful the entire time. Everyday I thanked God for my income, my jobs, and my ugly little car.
Benefits Of Practicing Gratitude
About a year later I landed a better job with benefits! Unfortunately, that job took a toll on my body when I got promoted and had to work midnights. Even though I was sick most of the time I still stayed grateful.
Two months later I was blessed with an amazing opportunity that I would have never thought would be possible. I landed a job that not only had good benefits but paid very well. I have now been at that job for two and a half years.
In May we found out that we are all getting laid off because the company is doing some changes that will better suit our customers. Now I know this may sound absolutely absurd but I was super grateful!
You see, this job allowed me to purchase a course back in March that was rather pricey. It was a blogging course that I have been looking at for a couple of years, but could never afford. Yet this year I was able to purchase it in full. Because of the opportunity I was given to work for such a great company.
I have always loved to write and encourage others. Being a full time blogger has always been a dream of mine. Just a dream. But now it is about to be my reality! As you can see, there are so many benefits of practicing gratitude.
Two months after we found out we were being laid off we received a package that included a retention bonus and a severance package that we will receive once lay-off is final.
Would you believe me if I told you I had co-workers that were ungrateful? Sadly, this is true. We even had a couple of people quit, which means they won’t receive their severance package. But that is what happens with a lack of gratitude.
Having an attitude of gratitude has literally changed my life. And it can change yours too! Gratitude takes practice. An attitude of gratitude is a choice. And it can change the way you see the world!
Shauna is an Introvert, Christian, Wife, Mom, and Blogger. She loves to help others get over their insecurities and past sins that are holding them back in life. She currently lives in Edwardsville, Illinois with her husband, three kids who are 21, 13 and 10, and their three puppydogs. Get Encouraged and work on your Self – Improvement by visiting Confessions of a Baptist.
I hope you enjoyed Shauna’s post about the attitude of gratitude. You can find the rest of the series in this compilation post called 6 Great Stories of the Power of Gratitude. Be sure to check them out! Just remember, the Power of Gratitude is an everyday thing, not just at Thanksgiving.
How has an attitude of gratitude changed your life? Please leave your answers in the comments below.