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Chap Chats: Attitude of Gratitude


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Every January, I have a ritual of sitting down and reflecting on how my life went the previous year. Then, I choose one area in which I can improve in the new year.

As soon as I determine what that area is, I create a short tagline that summarizes and expresses my intent for the new year. This little exercise helps challenge me to continually improve myself and adopt a growth mindset. Snow_Shovel.png

As I was contemplating what to work on in 2020, I heard a story that resonated with me because it personifies my growth area for this year:

“One morning, a man, who had grown tired of all the snow, bundled up and tromped out into the cold to shovel his driveway. The more he shoveled, the more he grumbled, "What a lousy winter this has been!"

When the man got to the end of his driveway, the postal carrier showed up with his delivery. Again the man grumbled, "I bet you're sick of being out in this miserable weather every day."

The postal carrier cheerfully responded, "Yeah, but at least I have a job. Many people are unable to make ends meet because they can’t find jobs. I'm just blessed to be working."

This postal carrier represents what it means to have an "attitude of gratitude." All too often, we find ourselves falling into the habit of focusing on all the negatives in our lives, instead of focusing on and being thankful for the positives. I know this is a problem in my life because I often find myself grumbling about everything. And who wants to surround himself or herself with a chronic grumbler?

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, the Apostle Paul provides great wisdom on how to transform from being a grumbler to possessing an attitude of gratitude, "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." In other words, choose to be grateful for every circumstance you are going through, whether good or bad.

Understandably, being grateful is not always easy. At times, you will likely have to dig deep to find the positive amidst the negative. Yet, I assure you, if you dig deep enough — regardless of the situation — you can find something to be grateful for. And when you find it, be sure to express it to everyone around you, taking notice of how gratitude rubs off on others.

This year is when I finally resolve to live with an attitude of gratitude. It might not be easy, but I am determined. But what about you? What kind of year is 2020 going to be?

About the Author
As our Corporate Chaplain, Sheldon Miles serves as, what he calls, “an emotional and spiritual first responder.” His primary responsibilities include encouraging the weary, providing care sessions for the discouraged, and reinforcing Love (v) with our CAREGivers and support staff. 

When asked what Love (v) means to him, Sheldon said, “Love (v) is not about what you get to receive but about what you get to give. It’s about living your life and following the model given to us by the greatest Love (v) teacher who ever lived …” To that point, Sheldon cited John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down his life for his friends.”

In addition to advocating Love (v) to others, Sheldon walks the walk. He outwardly displays our eight Attributes of Love (v) in his daily interactions with our CAREGivers and support staff, who are invited and encouraged to reach out to him to discuss personal and professional matters that may be weighing on their hearts and minds, from marital issues and financial matters to workplace conflicts and even the loss of a client.

Sheldon comes to Home Instead with 25+ years of experience in the pastoral ministry, most recently serving at a local church in De Pere, Wis. He and his wife have two grown children, both of whom live out of state pursuing burgeoning careers. In their free time, Sheldon and his wife enjoy spending time together outdoors and staying active; in fact, Sheldon has competed in 12 marathons … and counting!

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