Gratitude Shifts Attitude So God Can Adjust Your Altitude

By Marnie Pehrson | Date Submitted: 08/23/04

Category: Abundance: Gratitude
Keywords: gratitude, faith, doubt, blessings, discouragement
Summary: As we cultivate a continual spirit of gratitude, we draw nearer to God from whom all blessings flow. Gratitude gives you the faith you need for your miracles.

Jesus taught, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek,and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?" (Matthew 7:7-10)

God wants to give good things to his children, but nowhere does He say, "gripe and ye shall receive" or "whine and it shall be opened unto you." Nor did he say "pester me and you’ll get what you want." He simply said to ask. Once we’ve asked and we’ve received an answer or a feeling of peace, we should expect that what we’ve asked for will arrive in God’s good time. James 1:5-6 tells to "ask in faith, nothing wavering."

But sometimes we become discouraged, and we fall back into griping or doubting. It can be difficult to hold the right attitude – an attitude of faith and expectant hope - when circumstances appear as if you’re standing still or moving in reverse.

Over the last several months, I have been performing a series of "experiments" (for lack of a better word) on the principle of gratitude. These "tests" have been very enlightening and quite effective in not only shifting my attitude from doubt to faith but also in unlocking the blessings that God has in store for me.

Whenever I hit a problem or challenge, my initial human reaction is one of the following:

None of these are productive or healthy. Each of these reactions slackens my hope, weakens my faith, and distances me from God and my worthwhile goals. For you see, all the promises are unto them that believe. None of these human reactions foster faith – none of them persuades one to believe. Without faith, nothing happens.

STEP 1: Decide "what" you want and "when" you want it.

So, in the last few months, I’ve been trying a little experiment to turn myself around when I catch myself reacting to a disappointment in a negative way. Instead of entertaining myself with a pity party, I force myself to examine the situation and ask: what would have to happen in this situation to make me feel better about it? What do I want?

For example, when my refrigerator and car broke down in the same week, I asked myself what would resolve the situation to my satisfaction. I wanted them both fixed and I wanted it done in a specific time and within a certain budget.

When the car I’d purchased with my savings only 3 months before blew a gasket, I asked myself what solution would satisfy me. What I really wanted was to stop driving 10-year-old vehicles. I was spending more on repairs and replacing them than I would with a car payment on a newer vehicle. I wanted a van that was still under warranty that ran well and that I could rely on to take our six children where they needed to go. Instead of settling for what I could "get by on," I decided what would make me feel satisfied and secure in our mode of transportation.

STEP 2: Pray and get a confirmation that your desires are in harmony with God’s will for you.

The next step is to pray about your desires and ask for a confirmation that what you want is what God wants for you. For example, in the case of the desire for a new van, I prayed for a couple weeks about whether it was what God wanted for our family before the answer finally came – literally within a few hours before the decision had to be made.

STEP 3: Write a gratitude statement and repeat it.

I am about to explain how I use a gratitude statement to shift my thinking. Please note that there is nothing magical or mystical about a gratitude statement other than that it shifts your own mind from fear to faith and from doubt to belief. Remember that faith is the “substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).Your ability to muster faith is critical in your ability to take possession of blessings. Thus, a gratitude statement is simply a tool to help you achieve a level of faith that God can use to bring about your “miracle.”

A gratitude statement should be written in the present tense and start with something like, "I am so happy and grateful now that…" It should end with a statement that ensures that everything happens in the best way. For example, I use, "I am so excited, thrilled and amazed to see these things happening in ways that are for the highest good for us and all concerned. Thank you!"

Here’s an example of a gratitude statement at work. One time, because of some unexpected expenditures, I didn’t have the money to meet some important obligations. My initial reaction was to get upset and begin to doubt. But then I remembered that on so many occasions the Lord has pulled us through in a pinch. He has confirmed to me time and again that He will care for us if we will put our trust in Him. So, pulling myself up by my bootstraps, I took a break from my pity party and decided to use gratitude to change my attitude.

Instead of giving up hope and assuming the worst, I forced myself to take a hard look at my finances and make a list of what was due by a specific date. I totaled it up and decided on the dollar value that would satisfy my obligations and would meet our family’s needs for a given period of time. In this case it was a 3-day period. I decided on the dollar amount needed within a 3 day period to meet our obligations.

It was a rather large amount and while my husband and I each had paychecks coming in over the next 3 days, they would only cover two-thirds of the amount needed. The rest would have to come from somewhere else. Instead of worrying about "how" this would happen, I crafted a gratitude statement which I began to repeat to myself. It went something like this:

"I am so happy and grateful that at least $X in funds are flowing into my bank accounts by [Specific Date] enabling us to meet all our needs and obligations for this period of time. I am excited, thrilled and amazed to see this happening in ways that are for the highest good for us and all concerned. Thank you!"

After offering a prayer of thanks that what I needed was on its way, I began repeating the statement in my mind and aloud. Remember it’s not God I was trying to convince – it was myself! The first day – when I was most discouraged – I repeated it nearly a hundred times. I’d say it out loud as I was driving down the road or in my mind as I was cleaning my house. It was amazing how quickly my negative attitude shifted to one of hope and positive expectation. I began to get excited to see how the Lord would make that money flow into my bank accounts. The following days I started my day by repeating the gratitude statement several times or whenever a discouraging doubt crept into my mind.

At the end of the "deadline" I was still about 10% short of the amount specified, but things had happened over those days to allow me more time to meet certain obligations. In the end, I had what we needed when we needed it. The Lord provided.

I have used gratitude to activate blessings time and again and while my deadlines are not always met, my needs are. In the activation of blessings, you specify the "what" and let God take care of the "when" and "how." It’s an exercise in faith and patience, but it is amazing how gratitude can turn around your attitude and give you faith when you don’t think you can muster another ounce of it.

So to recap, here are the steps for using gratitude to shift your attitude so God can adjust your altitude:

  1. Decide "what" you want and "when" you want it.
  2. Pray and get a confirmation that your desires are in harmony with God’s will for you.
  3. Write a gratitude statement and repeat it as much as you can. The objective here is to bolster your faith and your belief.
  4. Continue to express gratitude to God even if things do not develop exactly when or how you specified.
As we cultivate a continual spirit of gratitude, we draw nearer to God from whom all blessings flow. Try the power of gratitude the next time life throws you a lemon and see if God won’t help you turn it into some sweet lemonade.

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