“So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living…clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.”
Romans 13:12b,14 NLT

I live surrounded by many shadows. They are shadows for they seek to tempt and demoralise me with attitudes, behaviours and aspirations that in real terms are beyond God’s best for me. Even as I wrestle with such shadows, I’m reminded of the reality that the way I choose to work out my life lies within my gift.

I have at times despaired of ever making changes to my instinctive reactions and inner trail of thoughts. It appears in such moments that I have made little progress as a disciple. Whether from natural instinct, a consequence of my home environment or a combination of both, I have a natural inclination to ‘fear the worst’. The fruit of such a tendency is criticism, of me as much as of others, an innate cynicism and a general lethargy about life itself. I can clearly identify this, but what steps can I take to eliminate it? Praying serves as part of the identification process yet isn’t the catalyst to change. I am that catalyst, but how?

It is here that I read and reflected around what I call a “gratitude attitude”; learning to be grateful for even the smallest things that might otherwise go unnoticed. One of my morning prayers begins, “Lord I thank you for the gift of this new day.” Sometimes I’m not feeling especially grateful, yet I pause and consider why I am grateful. It might be simply the fact I am alive in this day and therefore what might I contribute that reflects my gratitude?

Developing a gratitude lens through which to view my world has helped me to reduce and, in many cases, eradicate those shadows that seek to lay siege to my mind every day. It is part of my strategy for taking every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). It clears debris that I choose that I do not want to carry into my future. I wonder what the Magi discarded from among their luggage, riding to Bethlehem?

What actions can you take to build positive patterns in your life?

Thank you, Jesus, for your light, life and grace in which I now live.