Jonah 2:8-10

Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, “Salvation comes from the Lord.”

Jonah 2:8-10

The recurring theme of the day yesterday seemed to always come back to gratitude. Early in the day, I was asked, “How do you create and maintain optimism?” This led me to reflect on my own practices that give me encouragement and hope, all of which stem from seeking God’s leading for my life and this day.

Later in the day, I was again, “What’s one piece of spiritual wisdom you’ve learned from times of difficulty?” It’s to be aware of all of the blessings He’s given to me. Sometimes they seem small and inconsequential, and yet they can still be deeply touching once you stop and actually see them.

I had a friend who died years ago. Some of you will remember him from this church. His name was Rudy Gerger. Rudy always had a song in his heart and a smile on his face, and almost every conversation with him ended with “Have a grateful day.” His words still echo regularly through my ears. I even sometimes take a chance and use his signature parting words.

They set a tone and serve as a reminder.

There will be challenges in this world. It’s easy to ask “Why me?” and that’s an important question, but it needs to be balanced with “Why not me?” “Why me” is important because it grants us the opportunity to figure out why God chose us for that particular experience. Are we supposed to learn something from it? Are we to serve as an instrument for Him, showing someone else how to handle the situation? Why is it that God choose me, of all people, to have this particular experience, and how does it fit in to his plan for me.

When my fiance died 2.5 years ago, I was crushed. I felt betrayed by God, as if He owed me something for all of my years of faithful service. It took a long time for me to see that the experience was part of God’s plan for me. It was necessary to help me grow in the ways that would make me most useful in service with Him.

As writers, we should be reflecting on our lives and the lives of others all of the time, trying to see how God has been at work, bringing light to the many blessings, both large and small, that he fills our lives with. In our writing, we can shine a spotlight on this way of thinking and help change a thought in our readers’ minds.

Is your protagonist in a hurry and stuck trying to enter rush-hour traffic? Perhaps some kind person takes a moment to stop and let them into the flow. Have them respond with a heart of gratitude.

Let someone who is feeling lost and alone be touched by the kindness of a small child or a stranger.

Through our writing, we can help others hone and refine their vision so that they too can begin to see more clearly the many blessings God has given them. But it begins with learning that skill today.

Zig Ziglar once said that when he awoke each morning, he got up and stretched, and enthusiastically stated “It’s going to be a great day!” He had no idea what would be in it, but he knew that in following God’s leading and being on the look-out for blessings, there was going to be a lot to be thankful for.

About Tara

Tara R. Alemany is a best-selling author and speaker. Her books include "The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books," "The Character-Based Leader," "My Love to You Always," "Celebrating 365 Days of Gratitude," and her latest title "The Best is Yet to Come."

In her spare time, Tara is a recognized thought leader who runs Aleweb Social Marketing, does her best to raise her two teenagers, and serves on two Boards of Directors. She is also Chaplain of her local Word Weavers chapter, and is a black belt in Tang Soo Do.

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