We were tromping through a dump in Manila when I first understood how much abundance I possess.
I was on my first far-away missions trip, and that day was eye-opening. In groups of two-three, we visited with the residents who lived there.
Yes, people lived in the dump. Where rancid water puddled on the unpaved roads. Where young children dug in the high mounds of trash, searching for copper to sell. Where the danger of the methane gas and the instability of those mounds could lead to death with one misstep.
The government had built apartment buildings for some of those who lived in this place. As we stopped at apartments and visited with the people, some invited us in. One thing that stood out to me was how clean these women kept their spaces. They didn’t have much room, very little furniture. But what they had, they took care of.
Even in a dump.
I realized, possibly for the first time, how much I have been given. My home has not only one main floor but also an upstairs and a basement.
I have a closet full of clothing, enough to have choices every day of the week. Our family has two cars, that both work. Our children attend great schools. They have opportunities to be involved in sports and Boy Scouts.
We live a stable, insulated lifestyle.
Most of us do.
And yet, it’s so easy to focus on what we lack, rather than what we have.
My time in the Philippines changed me. I understand how little most people in our world live with. Though I saw this first hand, I still have battles with discontentment.
I love today’s quote. It’s a beautiful reminder of the power of gratitude. When we are thankful for what we have? That’s when we live with contentment.
Gratitude transforms how we view our circumstances, our possessions, and those who people our lives.
When we choose gratitude, it reforms our perspective, the way we look at our lives.
Gratitude adjusts our focus so we see our lives clearly. Perhaps it’s true that when we choose gratitude for the hard situations—when we look for things we can thank God for in the midst of heartbreak—we can find a heart refreshed by acceptance.
When we look at the chaos in our lives through the filter of gratitude, our hearts can be set back in order. Settled, and maybe (maybe) even peaceful.
When we can look at the hurts in our past and view them through the lens of how God has grown us as a result? We find peace because we see His hand in it.
God never promises an easy life. We’re practically guaranteed we’ll face painful events and circumstances. When we choose to view them (perhaps after the fact) through glasses of gratitude, God gives us eyes to see ways He worked in those hard seasons.
I think Melody Beattie may be right. When we reframe our past with the help of gratitude, it offers us peace in today and presents us with a vision of how we can live differently, choose differently, in our future.
What about you? How have you seen gratitude reframe your perspective? What event in your life brought gratitude to life for you?