Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gratitude Attitude

~~ Long, but worth the read!

For gratitude to be real requires connection to experience. Gratitude is not some abstract impression of things that a person might be thankful for but gratitude is an experience of those things and those persons who provide us with the concrete images of why we are thankful.  For the Apostle Paul, the core of gratitude is Christ’s gift of mercy.

Surely we know that for gratitude to be gratitude, one cannot remove self from the equation. Gratitude centers on what we have experienced and who we have experienced to be sources of goodness and grace and love in our own lives.  Without gratitude the self loses all sense of perspective – whether through inflated pride or the equally misleading hatred of self. Gratitude provides the balance. Gratitude reminds us that we are not entirely self-made creatures. We are not entirely self-enclosed and self-sufficient. We have others to thank for who we are and may yet become. Gratitude reminds us that we are persons of worth – because others see good in us, and have sought out good with words and actions for which we are grateful. Paul’s gratitude recognizes that Christ’s favor goes beyond Paul’s own ability to control or merit. Paul was grateful because he recognized Christ valued him and bestowed mercy and commissioned him to service. His gratitude, even while writing from prison captivity awaiting execution, led him to say “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” Rejoicing and gratitude weave together the attitude of joyful thanksgiving.

Do we have this kind of gratitude? Paul doesn’t list reasons for gratitude in this passage. There is no mention of gratitude for wealth and material success. There is no mention of having more food than he knows what to do with.

Blessings and gratitude do go hand in hand. Our materialistic culture tries to convince us from every angle that what we WANT is what we need. And what Jesus deems as blessed is named for us in the beatitudes.

Gratitude for the blessings of God draws individuals and communities toward the needs and conditions of others. Paul’s gratitude in this passage is entwined in Paul’s service to Christ. Our gratitude toward God intends to draw us in the same direction.  As those who have been blessed by God in Christ, we find cause and example to be a blessing to others as servants to Christ.

I AM GRATEFUL TO CHRIST JESUS. Those simple words direct our gratitude toward Christ, but they also direct our lives toward others, toward being a source of Christ’s love and grace so that others might find cause and reason to be grateful. Gratitude is not our way of earning God’s love. Gratitude is our way of responding to and reflecting God’s love in the world around us. And once such gratitude is set into motion, the difference between being on the receiving end and the giving end tends to blur. We see ourselves graced by God, and graced to be able to serve. We see ourselves loved by God, and thankful for opportunities to show such love.

Consider beginning and ending each day with the prayer, “I am grateful to Christ Jesus!” Make it your confession; let it be the words of your commission and see where a gratitude attitude will take you.  Ref:  I Timothy 1: 12-17

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As we Journey

I always wanted to be an “Artist”; however, painting just was not my talent. In spite of this, photography has always been a passion of mine.
Once I discovered that you can imprint part of yourself into the photo with the technology of the computer, I realized that I CAN be an artist, just in a different way. Therefore, the process of creating art with my photos is immeasurably exciting for me!!
What you are seeing today, with the exception of a couple of photos, is where my journey has taken me. I am now in the process of stepping back into my life “before” and have new “old” photos that are treasures waiting to be unearthed. So, keep posted, because I will be taking a trip back to the beginning of my journey and you just never know what is waiting behind the curtain!
I hope you enjoy each piece of art for what it offers ~~ as this presents endless roads of personal travel that differs for each of us. As each print is a part of my personal journey, please travel with me!!