Over time, (God) has taught me the difference between gratitude and adoration – lifting me from the prayer that say, “Thank you for all that Thou has give me,” to the prayer that says, “That you for all that Thou art.” And I have changed my focus from the gifts to the Giver of those gifts…

We face a certain paradox with Jesus’s ten-leper question. Most of us dwelling in the western world have a fairly high standard of living in comparison to many other areas of the globe. This raises our expectation of what is normal in the way of comforts and lifestyle. Though this should make us even more willing to turn back and give thanks, the very expectation itself can numb us. When we expect a lot and don’t get it, we can become bitter or despairing. When we do receive, it can create a sense of pride or entitlement. Full gratitude is most deeply felt when we don’t expect blessings and they come notwithstanding.

Ironically, while we may have the most, we also may be the least likely to turn back. It all seems so ordinary and natural… Most of us have never known a day of hunger or even a day without dessert. The only real pain I have ever felt in my stomach is that of eating too much, not having too little. I have wondered if the reason the leper turned back was that he was a Samaritan. Perhaps he thought that, of all the ten, he was least likely to get the desired blessing from the Jewish Jesus. WHAT SEEK YE: HOW THE QUESTIONS OF JESUS LEAD US TO HIM, Michael Wilcox

My friend sent those thoughts to me this morning. And I really appreciated it. I am guilty of ingratitude, without even knowing it at times. I expect certain things to be a certain way. I expect Bryant to speak kindly to me, for example. And I don’t say to him, “Oh, Bry! Thank you so much for speaking kindly to me!” Rather I just expect it – that is what a good husband does. With more gratitude, my thoughts might be, I am so grateful for a husband who speaks so kindly to me. And, even if I didn’t say it out loud to him every time he spoke kindly to me – that might get a little ridiculous, right? – my thoughts centered on gratitude would lead me to feelings of love and gratitude. Let’s run a quick model to illustrate this nuance:

  • Circumstance – Bryant spoke kindly to me.
  • Thought – He is supposed to always speak kindly to me. If he didn’t, he would be a bad husband.
  • Feeling – Entitlement
  • Action – When I feel entitled, I am more demanding and less content.
  • Result – I just wouldn’t feel as happy in our marriage, and I would likely be judgmental of Bry as a husband.

Let’s look at a second model. Let’s change my thought to a thought of gratitude.

  • Circumstance – Bryant spoke kindly to me.
  • Thought – Bryant is a kind man. Not everyone speaks as kindly to me as Bryant. And I am so grateful that he chooses to be a kind of husband, every day. I am the luckiest girl alive to have him in my life.
  • Feeling – Love
  • Action – I would treat Bryant as a blessing to me, rather than a circumstance in my life.
  • Result – It’s easy to see how this would affect our marriage as a whole, but also me as a person and Bryant as a person.

Our thoughts about our circumstance create our feelings. The leper’s thoughts about the healing, ie He didn’t have to do that, I am a “stranger” yet He healed me, created his feeling of gratitude and love.

It serves us well to manage our thoughts, and to change our thoughts, or change our brains, at times.

And it happens all the time naturally. Jody gave the example of going through a breakup in High School and thinking you will never love again. And, now that you are happily married, you don’t even think about that old boyfriend. Your brain changed.

Can we go through that process more intentionally, though, to serve us better – to move us to the desire change?

There are three “stages” of change that Jody introduces today.

  • STAGE ONE: Looking back on what happened, after the fact
  • STAGE TWO: Looking at what is happening, as it’s happening
  • STAGE THREE: Looking at what may happen in the future

I want to spend tomorrow really looking at the details of these different stages. And moving through these stages, without resistance, to create the life that we want. See you tomorrow.

Previous DAY #339 RESISTANCE

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