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Monday, November 29, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude Part 3


Out of the Mouth of Prophets - Part 5

Dear Readers,

I am still here.  I haven't had anything positive to say recently.  As whatever I type will be "published" forever, I have elected to wait to post anything.  Yes, I enjoyed my Thanksgiving.  No, I didn't go somewhere exotic with no internet access.  I have been here, at my house, not exemplifying the very topic that I will talk about today.

This is the last in my "Attitude of Gratitude" posts that have covered President Monson's conference talk, "The Divine Gift of Gratitude".  See here and here for parts 1 and 2.

"We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude."

Where have I been?  In the realm of negative thought.  It is a real place.  I also like how President Monson uses the word "realm".  That sounds big to me.  I have discovered over the years that the "realm of negative thought" is as large as we want to make it.  It can be so large that it swallows our very soul and the accompanying hope, leaving behind only emptiness and despair.  When I also hear the word "realm", it makes me think of something other-worldly, and not in reality.  When we are stuck in negative thinking, we are not in the present.  We are not enjoying all that we could be.  We also can choose to make it as small as we want or non-existent as President Monson uses the word "refuse".  Take that Satan.

This is why it is so important to be grateful, to have an "attitude of gratitude".

"How can we cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude? President Joseph F. Smith, sixth President of the Church, provided an answer. Said he: “The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life.” He continued: “Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!” (see article for reference #9)
President Smith is telling us that a prayerful life is the key to possessing gratitude."

Hmm.  Any guesses to how my praying was this past week?  Long and fervent or short and mumbled?  How can I so willingly hold myself back?  It is no secret.  Prayer is the key to have gratitude.  Like, I said rough week, but I have the power to change, so I will.

"In the book of Matthew in the Bible, we have another account of gratitude...His disciples, however, questioned, “Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?” Like many of us, the disciples saw only what was lacking.

“And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And [the disciples] said, Seven, and a few little fishes.

“And [Jesus] commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.

“And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.”

Notice that the Savior gave thanks for what they had—and a miracle followed."
What was lacking.  I debated over making this part 4, because there is so much that could be said here.  Is that not the coolest thing ever, that when thanks was given, a miracle followed?  They didn't have much, but the Savior was grateful that they had something instead of nothing.  He recognized that Heavenly Father gives us all.  I know that I am guilty of looking at what is lacking in my life sometimes.  I think everyone is to some degree.  The fact that we have anything is a sign that Heavenly Father loves us.

I know He loves me.  God works in mysterious ways.  He does listen to prayers and when we think we cannot do anymore he bolsters us up and prepares the way for us.

"When we encounter challenges and problems in our lives, it is often difficult for us to focus on our blessings. However, if we reach deep enough and look hard enough, we will be able to feel and recognize just how much we have been given."
Amazing, how these conference talks have blessed my life.  I love how I have been able to recall things that were said, or at least topics talked about, so that I could look up a certain talk.  Many times I have been impressed while I have been pondering about something or asking a question to Heavenly Father.  These are words of scripture for us.  They are here to guide us.

The Lord has let our family struggle in a situation for months.  We learned a lot, and have grown.  When we finally reached a breaking point after we had done everything we possibly could, an amazing string events took place that will resolve the situation.  I am so grateful for a merciful Heavenly Father.  He knows what we need.  He hears our prayers.  He loves all of us.  He loves me.

Lastly, I am also grateful for personal progress that I have made.  Since conference I have been working on something specific in my life.  Little by little, the Lord has been revealing things to me to help me understand.  I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have about the Plan of Salvation.

If you wish to watch this conference address by President Monson, click here.  Just find this talk (Sunday Morning Session), and watch, download, whatever you want.
"This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways."
We truly have been blessed.

How have you been blessed?  Would you like to share something else from President Monson's words?  My email is lettersfromlindsay at gmail dot com.

Sincerely,
Lindsay

2 comments:

Ashley said...

I don't know if I've ever heard anyone say, "Take that Satan." I liked it : )

My husband and I were just discussing last night the concept of being happy with what you have and not worrying about what other people have. I agree that it is difficult to not worry about it sometimes.

Tonight as part of Family Home Evening we discussed (a little bit) the relationship between service and gratitude (also part of yesterday's Relief Society and Elders' Quorum lessons). One "remedy" I have learned for myself, especially recently is the idea of losing yourself in service. I find that when I am at school every day worrying about others and their needs, my issues either fade from my mind or I realize many other blessings I've been given.

I hope as the Thanksgiving holiday season passes I'll be able to hold on to the spirit of thanksgiving. I remember when I heard Pres. Monson's talk I thought it was timely as Thanksgiving approached. I realize now that it really is timely because of how much I need to feel and express my gratitude.

I know you understand these things - it's nice to be able to talk it out with someone. : )

Anonymous said...

What a great point that we tend to only look for what is lacking. That is human nature and I think it is part of the "natural man" that each of us needs to overcome in order to be more Christ-like. The natural man isn't grateful. Thank you for highlighting that point from the talk so I can work on it.