Recently, I pulled in from work a bit tired and stressed. As I was pulling into my garage, I felt my frustration rise to a new level as once again my kids had left their bicycles right in the middle of my garage where I couldn’t pull in. I got out of my truck and slammed the door mumbling under my breath, “How many times do I have to tell those boys to pick up their stuff? Will they ever learn?” As I was walking back to the truck to pull it into the garage, I remember thinking, Doesn’t anyone in this family appreciate how hard I work? Don’t they realize that the last thing I want to do after working all day is “work” some more?
After pulling into the garage, I decided to sit there for a moment and collect my emotions before barging inside. My intentions were to craft a compelling, guilt-drenched speech that would make my family feel sorry for me and hopefully inspire them to seek ways to make my life easier.
But God had a different plan that evening. Sometimes I absolutely hate it when God interrupts my little self-pity parties with his truth and conviction. As I sat there in my truck, I sensed God saying, Pete, you’re missing the whole point here. You’re choosing once again to view your life through this selfish lens that robs you of the very blessing of this moment.
My mind started to go down a completely different track. I thought about the thousands and thousands of couples right now who desperately want to have a child but for some reason can’t. I thought about how they would do anything to have to stop and pick up their kids’ bikes before they pull into their garage.
God brought to my mind the 3.5 million people in the United States who are homeless. They have no idea where they will lay their head tonight. I, on the other hand, was sitting in a truck that was sitting in my garage. My garage! Not only do I have a home, but I have a home for my car. How crazy blessed am I? All of the sudden, what had been a self-pity rage of sorts was being transformed into a moment of gratitude.
I’m discovering a lot about the importance of gratitude these days. It’s one of those choices that changes everything. It’s been a journey—a journey I’m still very much on. I’m slowly learning how important it is to have gratitude, even in situations and seasons that are challenging and difficult.
Gratitude is a choice.
But that choice doesn’t come without effort, intentionality, and repetition. Gratitude is also one of the most important and most underrated aspects of our walk with God. It’s an important discipline that helps bring healing to our past and hope for our future.
This is an excerpt from my latest book, Let Hope In. Need help extending forgiveness? Want to develop a heart of gratitude? Do you have past pain or shame that needs to be healed? This book is all about how to live with daily hope regardless of the past or current circumstances in your life. Hope you’ll consider getting a copy for yourself or a friend who may desperately need some hope right now. Hope changes everything!!