a GRATEFUL heart

images-3She’s standing on stage, beautiful and strong, it’s her name in the envelope. Silence surrounds her as the name is announced, slowly the cheers fill the room, everyone overwhelmed with excitement. But amid all the JOY there is another girl standing on stage, tears in her eyes, disappointment in her heart. HEARTBROKEN, but not defeated because as she stands there she is GRATEFUL.

Grateful because of ALL that she accomplished; grateful because tomorrow she would take what she has learned and try again. She will BE better; she will BE stronger and next year it will be HER name.

Thanksgiving is defined as the “fourth Thursday in November … celebrated as a legal holiday for people to be thankful for what they have.” It is alternately defined as “a prayer that expresses thanks to GOD.” As I sat listening to my pastor this past Sunday, the Sunday just before Thanksgiving, I was reminded that it’s not just on this ONE day that we should be with thanksgiving, but every day.

36854661687dc6490fda8d48a38468d5I was challenged that morning with HOW?! How during my darkest day can I be thankful, while all around me it’s as though everything is falling apart?

“Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

In ALL circumstances, not just the days when it feels as though the world is crumbling around you, but EVERY day. It’s the morning that you wake up on the “wrong side of the bed” and everything just doesn’t go as planned. These are the days we express thanksgiving, because these are the days we learn HOW. These are the days that prepare us for our darkest days.

Being thankful is not something that is inherited, it doesn’t come naturally, it’s a learned behavior. It is one that is taught to us by others and through their actions. As a child on my birthday, my mom would say to me “now what do you say” after every gift, today I still hear her voice as I open a gift. She taught me to be thankful and to appreciate those around me. She gave me my very first HOW, she taught me to SAY “Thank You” with words. She taught me that even if the gift wasn’t one I truly loved or wanted, I still needed to be grateful.birdthankyou

If a thankful heart leads to JOY what would the opposite do? What would it mean to have discontentment, jealousy or even ENVY in your heart?

“It’s hard to ENVY when you are grateful for others”, words that pierced my heart that Sunday morning. A hard lesson that’s an even harder reality. We’ve all been there, I’ve been there. Wanting what I couldn’t have, envious of those around me, because WHY not me? I am a good person and I DESERVE it, right?!

71% experience being envious of others ~ SurveyPro.com

In pageants, it’s easy to become envious, it’s easy to want what others have, because ultimately there is only ONE crown. There is only one name in that envelope.  BUT those who are thankful, those who have JOY in their heart have already won.

“Peace of mind makes the body healthy, but jealousy is like a cancer.” Proverbs 14:30

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