A Thankful Heart and A Good Attitude


Tonight I asked my roommate, Hunter Taylor, to shave the back of my neck under my hairline because it has been a while since I have gotten a haircut and it was getting kind of ratty. I then proceeded to walk out of the room without thanking him for this kind deed he graciously did for me. It hit me. There was something weird about not thanking him for doing something for me. Then I remembered reading “Jesus Calling” a couple days ago about being thankful. “Thankfulness, also, is a royal road to Me. A thankful heart has plenty of room for Me.” I went throughout that day trying to remember this simple step in a healthy lifestyle and it was unexpectedly tough to do that. It was not a conscious thing for me to be truly and sincerely thankful for these little things that were happening all around me. We go throughout our daily lives saying phrases such as “thanks” or “much appreciated”, but these just don’t work for me. I want to affirm that I am grateful for their act towards me by saying “thank you”. And that you is so very important, but has done dormant in much of our daily interactions. It is awkward sometimes saying these words to people. It just doesn’t feel right. That is because we have come accustomed to feeling entitled to everything. I am definitely a victim of this horrible feeling. It is a saddening thing to see people feel entitled to whatever they wish they want. There becomes a dullness of receiving things when we are not appreciative of them. As said in almost every “inspirational” or “religious” work which is there is a hole that is left unfillable when we are not gracious or thankful for the items or deeds that we receive. We go throughout life wanting more and more of useless items that we will grow tired of in a short, relative time period. I have seen this in people who have more money than they know what to do with. Life, for them, becomes more of a material life than a meaningful life. “These things will turn to dust just as we do.” I heard the speaker say today in chapel that “we do not appreciate our parents until it is late. That they do so much for us throughout our lives that we let go by as something that they should do for us.” I thought that this was beautiful and profound because it has so much truth in it and the backdrop of this meaning. Think about it. Truly stop and think about something your parent/s have done for you just in the past day or week. Something that they did not have to do for you. Now, try to remember if you said thank you. I know I am guilty of this. Throughout life we go through stages such as a college student, an independent young adult, a parent, to a grandparent. It is the same with our spiritual relationship. We go through stages where we think this one act is better for us rather than another act. My most recent stage of my spiritual journey has led me to trying to be more thankful for everything. My mom bought me a car a couple years ago and obviously I said thank you to her when she handed me the keys to drive it off the lot. A couple months ago I realized that she was going through a rough time financially. I couldn’t help her with any of her money problems because I have my own obligations to pay for in college and just enough money to get by with some leftover to put in savings. To conclude all of that, I told her thank you, almost 2 years after she had bought me a car. This didn’t help her out of her problems, but this hopefully gave her some reassurance or peace of mind that what she was doing for me was all going to work out some day. This gave me a sense of happiness to thank her for a car that I did not deserve, but she graciously bought for me. To see her happy from this brought happiness to me. How dreadful of a feeling is that. I know parents want to give the world to us kids, but we honestly do not deserve it. I know I do not deserve anything. I have done some bad in my life. There has been a fair share of trouble in my life that she isn’t proud of, but she still loves me. And that is not wrong for that to bring my happiness. That leads into the next topic at hand: A Good Attitude. One time I was riding in the car with my mom. We were heading home after a stressful day for her, but a good day for me. (I was in 3rd or 4th grade at this point) I must have had a good cheeseburger for lunch or held hands with a cute girl on the playground for recess because I was feeling on top of the world. It is crazy how simple life was at the age, but man, when I got in the car she struck my overly excited self down with her fury from a stressful day at work. Some back info on this story, she was always stressed out or unhappy about something. I would rarely ever see her smile anymore. I was determined to see some change in her life that day I will never forget riding in that car. “Mom, just smile. Be happy.”5 words. 2 simple sentences. 1 bold move from an 8 or 9 year old, but a memory that I have remembered until now. I simply told her to be happy for what she had. Today, I see her beautiful smile all of the time. Just a memory to me, but hopefully a lesson that y’all can benefit from. I know I have. Life sucks. Let me say that right now to just get it out of the way. Now that’s over lets get to the point. Life is pretty cool. That is a very polite way of me saying “some days can really put a damper on your life, but find some beauty in something and try to see what is in front of you. A life that has sadness and pain, but a redemptive state that brings you back a stronger, fuller person.” One piece of advice I can give to you is do not try and compare yourself to anyone. That is such a cliché thing to say, but it is much more important than trying to feel “cooler” than these tryhard kids. I did a little experiment a couple weeks ago after Christmas to go throughout my days with a much more positive attitude than before. I realized that this wasn’t just an experiment. It was a lifestyle. A lifestyle that came from something so small as me waking up and deciding to make a change that day. Try doing this. You don’t have to put on a fake smile, but just try and remember the good rather than the bad. It is not realistic 100% of the time, but just make an effort. Try and show some love to someone. Show appreciation to that same person or someone else. Go out of your way for someone. This all can start with someone you are comfortable with because sometimes change is awkward. Text your parents saying thank you. Call them and tell them you love them. There will come a time when you don’t have that opportunity. Don’t waste the opportunity we have.

The Feeling of Freshness for January 1st

imageThere is something crazy about a day where people choose to “change” their lives for the better on a planned day. For many people, it is a great time to enhance their life by changing what they eat, what hobbies they do, what they want to accomplish in their job, etc. I was there last January 1st, 2015. My weight was a problem that I had struggled with for several years. My high school career was dominated by football. Practice and working out every single day. To keep up growth, that required me to eat a lot of food. There I was. 250 pounds with more fat than muscle. “New year. New beginning.” That’s how they say it. I made it my goal to lose weight and feel better about myself for that whole year. I managed to get my weight under control and I have reached a confident level in that area of my life, but looking back at it, it was an extremely dumb thing for me to focus on something so materialistic and worldly. I fully believe in a healthy lifestyle physically for sure, but there is a fine balance between healthy and a insane love for your body. To sum that up, there has to be something deeper than just shedding 10 pounds for someone to accomplish in a year. For me, I want to focus on something more meaningful and real to me. I’m a people person. I like hanging out with my friends, going out to eat with them, watch movies, and other activities that aren’t worthy of mention. We as humans thrive off interaction with other human beings. Relationships. In life, one of the scariest things out there is feeling like you don’t have anyone on your bench. No one rooting for you. No one to have your back. I think friendships are a beatiful thing because it involves more than just one person trying to achieve something. Just like working out, it helps to have a partner. Going through life with friends and family who have your back and will be there for you is something special because they can always boost you back up once you fail. And you will. Whether that be someone taking you through it or them helping you do something, that encouragement should mean the world to you. I was at a get together with some friends a couple weeks ago and one of my friends said,” you’re an ass.” to put it nicely. That clicked something inside of me. Just like the time around New Years celebration, you look back and evaluate what you have done in a certain time period. I knew it. I was being mean, in a joking way, but the principle is still there. I wasn’t being the friend I needed to be. Since then I have been trying to work on it and today, January 1st I think that I am ready to take the next step and really start to dial in on that for this upcoming year and part of my life. I am still going to mess around with my friends. I will say things that may hurt them, but 1. They are my best friends so I’m sure they will have a pleasant response to me and 2. Our generation is becoming too soft with them not being able to take the heat. That’s how my friendships work with them. That’s how a vast majority of guys interact with their friends. Adding in another aspect, I want to be available to my friends with whatever they may need my services for. I’ve made relationships with some of my friends that I belie will never end. They will carry on to the day we get to walk through those pearly gates. I know that I can rely on any of my brothers to have my back for whatever I need and I trust them with that. Can they rely on me? That is the question I ask myself a good majority of my life. Thus far in life, I have learned a special trait which is putting forth effort and meaning into whatever I am doing. Sometimes that didn’t involve meaning in my relationships with people around me. Starting now, I would love to see a deeper, fuller part through my friends and families. Hopefully one day I will be able to fully achieve that. I have hope. As long as my loved ones are near me supporting me and vice versa. As we start another year in this confusing life, I urge y’all to look back and see what you can change to further advance you. See what’s hurting you and change it. See what’s helping you thrive and run with that. Find your closest friends and don’t lose them.