An Attitude of Gratitude

By Stephen Ministry Leader, Diana Laskaris.

When I was working at a technology business many moons ago, my supervisor was the head of sales. He was from the old school of sales where you built relationships, played golf, bought gifts and entertained your clients until they became your friends. Then you could count on their business for as long as they were in a position to buy whatever it is you’re selling.
He taught me a lot of lessons, not only about sales but about life. And one of the most important things he taught me was how to get my own personal MBA. Now, that wasn’t a degree from business school. It was a degree from the school of life. Because his MBA stood for a “More Better Attitude.” And he instilled in his team, and by association, in me, a desire to look at life through a positive lens and an attitude of gratitude.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the challenges we face every day. There’s so much tragedy from natural disasters to manmade conflicts and political strife. But what we focus on is what we see generated over and over again. It’s like when you’re watching what you eat and everyone’s advertising half price chocolate sundaes. Where you put your attention becomes what your life is about.
I want to use my MBA in these trying times. I can do it by not agreeing with those who spend their days shouting angry words at one another, only stopping to take a breath before the next hiss. I can do this by keeping a gratitude list, writing down every morning at least 3 things for which I am truly grateful, from the cat soundly sleeping on my belly to the fact that my eyes, ears, arms and legs all work properly. I can pray for those in need, those suffering in the natural disasters. I can pray for those who are so filled with despair and anger that they only find relief by lashing out at others.
And I can do something more than pray. I can listen. Sometimes all that someone needs to turn off their anger is to have someone listen to them express it. No answers need to be provided. No agreement or confirmation is necessary, just a way to get it out of the system. 
Stephen Ministers are trained listeners. They also know how to ask the right questions, without judgment or opinion. Simply providing a way for those who are angry or hurt or frightened or sad to express themselves safely. And that can be the greatest gift of all. If you are interested in learning more about how to use or perhaps become a Stephen Minister, please let me know at dianaminlead@gmail.com, Pastor Jeff at jcarlson@spucc.org or Marti Pechnyo at mpechnyo@gmail.com. And then we will have an attitude of gratitude!