Removing Roadblocks on Your Path to Gratitude

We think life should have been different
We expect things to go a certain way
But then the circumstances change
And we allow this to ruin our days

We hold on tightly to our plans
And this makes us feel distraught
But in the grand scheme of things
Perhaps we need to release our oughts

Some interruptions that come our way
Are divine blessings to embrace
Perhaps God put them in our path
As a gift of His goodness and grace

When we learn to trust God
Amidst many stops and starts
We finally begin to understand
He has our best interest at heart

Letting go of our rules and plans
We have a whole new attitude
Our stress level melts away
And we look at life with gratitude

One thing that trips me up when it comes to having an attitude of gratitude is when I am stressed and overwhelmed. That is when I find myself complaining a lot. My life has had a lot of that lately and I have been trying to dig deep to see why I get so anxious during those times.

A pattern I am seeing in my own life has to do with “interruptions.” These are small things in our day or large things in our lives that send us in a different direction. I see them as things that upset my “expectations,” even if these expectations are subconscious. Big or small, if things don’t go the way we planned or expect, it can ruin our attitude.

For example, perhaps your child forgot their lunch at home and you had to bring it to them at school. You didn’t plan for this, you didn’t expect this to happen, your day was interrupted, and it caused you stress. Or perhaps you expected to get a certain project accomplished on a particular day, but you were interrupted. You didn’t get to focus on what you wanted to focus on and had to change paths. You didn’t plan for this. And the new assignment brings more stress.

For me, these little things cause me to complain, especially if my stress level is already high.

What messes our life up most is the expectation of what our life is supposed to look like. – Ann Voskamp

(Yes, I realize I have mentioned Ann Voskamp three weeks in a row!)

I’ve been thinking about the stress, the interruptions and the expectations recently and I can see another layer as to why these things bother me. Let’s take the second example from above. Why am I so frustrated about having to change tasks? Because subconsciously I equate this to not being enough. I wasn’t able to accomplish what I set out to accomplish. I will complain about the change of plans, when truly, I just want to prove that I can do it all. And we have come around full circle because this points to perfectionism and our high expectations for ourselves. We think that if we were better, smarter, or more efficient, then we could do it all. But the truth is that none of us are enough. But God is! (I might write more on this concept in a future post?)

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in difficulties, in behalf of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

And perhaps we have high expectations for other people too. Like the kid who forgot his lunch. It was an honest mistake (in all likelihood). Yet we allow it to rattle us.

Recently this is how I have felt a lot. Overwhelmed and stressed, with many things coming at me. I don’t have the time or ability to do everything. And I see how this directly impacts my attitude of gratitude. So I am trying to let my expectations go. I am trying to gracefully allow interruptions in my day. I am trying to remember that everything that comes into my life is not a surprise to God.

And maybe these interruptions in our days are divinely orchestrated. Do you remember one of the many survival stories we heard from September 11, 2001? There was a guy who was wearing a new pair of shoes that day, and they gave him a blister. I could imagine at the time many of us would have been frustrated because we were late for work. Well this guy had to stop for a Band-aid, and that ultimately saved his life. May this story help us to humbly embrace the unexpected things that come our way.

If minor inconveniences, interruptions, high expectations, or even the feeling of not enough tend to cause you stress and thus take away your joy, then I am with you. But I am learning to hand these things over to God. He is in full control. We are not. When we hold our plans loosely in our hands and allow Him to take the wheel, we will have so much more peace. And this will remove a roadblock on our path to gratitude.

Perhaps the examples in this post didn’t resonate with you, but you are having trouble embracing gratitude? If so, then you might have to take time to see what particular roadblocks are in your way. Prayerfully seek God’s guidance. It is possible to pave a new path and it is worth it.

For further insight, check out these posts:

How a New Pair of Shoes Saved a Man’s Life on 9/11 by Joshua M. Hood

When Things Go Wrong – a post I wrote recently on the Christians Read site

How the Laws We Make for Ourselves Make Us Miserable – by Michael Christensen at Echoes of Meaning

No Expectations – a post I wrote for Christians Read last year

A New Tradition – a post I wrote for Christians Read in 2018

© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

19 Comments on “Removing Roadblocks on Your Path to Gratitude

  1. “None of us are enough. But God is. ” I love it, Bridget! I admit it, I’m a perfectionist about some things—like being perfect. But it’s not probable and certainly not possible. Not taking oneself so seriously, or anyone else but God, is a big step toward relaxing and letting go. “Everything’s gonna be alright,” as my grandmother used to say. 🙏❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • You made me laugh! “I’m a perfectionist about some things—like being perfect.” 😁 Many of us surely wish that we were prefect. And sadly we are so quick to point out the flaws and overlook the good. I really appreciate what you said about not taking ourselves and others too seriously. That is definitely a good point and something that trips many of us up. And it sounds like your grandmother was very wise in this matter! No matter what we face today, may we remember that “Everything’s gonna be alright!” 🤗


  2. I always like running according to schedule, keeping time and doing things as perfectly as possible and so I can easily get stressed when there are interruptions. I sometimes react without thinking but I have been trying to gracefully accept these interruptions. There is that element of control that we do not like letting go off.
    I did not know about the chap with the new shoe having to stop for a band aid, the delay eventually saving his life- wow! Makes one really think about how to view interruptions. And yes, gratitude does fly out the window when stress takes its place.
    Blessings my friend 🤗🌺

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was afraid that this post went around in circles. So thank you for commenting and letting me know you were following my thought patterns! 😁
      The way you put it in the beginning is perfectly said and exactly the message I was trying to get across. Basically we like thinks to go according to plan and according to schedule. We are so tied to our routines. And what you said about control – yes! Now that you mentioned it, I do believe that is a big factor on why we get anxious when things change. Thank you for pointing that out.
      I agree. Remembering the man with the new shoes – that really puts things in perspective.
      I pray we can learn to embrace the interruptions that come our way, remembering that God is in full control. 🙏🙌 Blessings to you too, dear friend! ♥️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this quote: “One thing that trips me up when it comes to having an attitude of gratitude is when I am stressed and overwhelmed.” Truth! Lovely poem and poem. Thank you for this timely reminder! 🍁🍂🌺

    Liked by 2 people

    • When we are stressed and overwhelmed, our focus automatically turns to the negative. We tend to get tunnel vision. At least that is how I have been this year. And I am sad and sorry that I wasn’t stronger. But now that the dust is settling, I can see more clearly just how important it is to hold onto gratitude (and God!) no matter what we are facing. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Gail! ♥️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m pretty sure the Lord just keeps on speaking to me through your words! I find it odd that the little things seems to stress me out and cause more anxiety than the big things. For example, when the tree fell on our house 11 days after the closing date, it didn’t stress me out as much. But little things like running late to an appointment causes the rest of my day to be off balance and just terrible! I’m trying to figure out how to give it all to Him – even the little stressors. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is great that you (and I) recognize our stressors, though. For a long time, I used to be aggravated a lot and I didn’t know why. So at least we are on the right path now. And one factor that I have noticed is that many times it is not just one small incident, as they usually appear in groups of many small stressors, one after another. When we see ourselves getting upset over something small, we can immediately begin to pray or praise. Forcing ourselves to turn to the Lord can do wonders. And if we praise, or start singing a song we like, this can truly alter our mood. Those things work for me (if I actually do them instead of complaining!). Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Michelle ♥️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yup I’m in the same boat, I get bent out of shape by interruptions….but how important it is to slow down and recognize that these interruptions are perfectly designated by God. Thanks so much for sharing about the guy from 9/11, I hadn’t heard that story but it’s yet another example of how interruptions can serve a beautiful purpose.
    Great post sweet lady!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was afraid that this post would be a flop. So in a way I am glad you can relate. But I am sorry you have been struggling in this area too. It’s funny how the little things aggravate us more than the big things sometimes. But it’s true that interruptions can serve a divine purpose. I pray we learn to keep an open mind when we are interrupted. I pray we can learn to slow down and appreciate the beauty in each moment, even if that moment doesn’t look the way we expected it to. ♥️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Nicely written Bridget. Sometimes the interruptions are orchestrated by God, for reasons we may or may not know. We have to examine our hearts and learn to be thankful even when things may have changed from our original plans. God’s thoughts are higher than ours. Since He thinks bigger than us, we must be willing to go with the flow. No telling how He will use us and our experiences, but we can rest assured it’s all for His glory. He is constantly stretching us and maturing us. Thank you for sharing this! ❤️🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are absolutely right. Sometimes on this side of heaven, we might not even know how God has used different situations for something good. May we learn to be the clay and allow God to do His work as the potter. In the end, there will be a beautiful masterpiece. Thank you so much, Dawn! Your words have touched my heart this morning. God bless you. ♥️🤗

      Liked by 1 person

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