Single people today live in a "LEGO block" world. It seems nothing comes assembled and ready to go anymore. We have to customize everything. We have to take whatever building blocks we find in today's world and use them to build our careers, our relationships, and even our ethical and moral lives!

Thank God for the Bible! We have God's Word to help us do some of the assembly. In fact, we sometimes assume that God's perfect Word will do all the assembly and solve our problems for us. The problem is, we are imperfect and the others who live with us in this world are imperfect, too. Some of our LEGO block structures are going to fall apart!

Inevitably, we'll have a string of problems. The consequences, stresses, and pressures all add up. That negative energy has to go somewhere. Sometimes it gets into our hearts and heads and we end up with what I call a "ratitude." A "ratitude" is my emotional and spiritual state when I feel used, abused, unappreciated, misunderstood, and put upon.

Now I'll let you in on a little secret; I am an amazing person. There are depths of my being that others don't know about. I am clever, wise, handsome, and good. Guess what? Sometimes nobody seems to notice my "brilliance." This is a great loss to the human race, because I can easily solve almost any problem if people will just ask my advice, but they don't. And listen, I work HARD. I go to bed tired from all of my herculean efforts. Unfortunately, very few people give me sympathy for my hard work or hold me in awe for my great efforts. Because of this general failure of the human population to fill all my needs, I sometimes feel like a rat must feel. I've got a "ratitude."

Sometimes, I even scurry around trying to find things to make my life better. I poke around in this and that to try to make me feel better. Other times, I try to hide out from all my problems, trying to avoid those who would treat me harshly. All my efforts only make me feel worse. I'm bummed out. I've got a "ratitude."

Nobody likes rats. Nobody appreciates their hard work to find food or their relentless efforts to build a better world for themselves and their pack. In fact, nearly everybody tries to exterminate them. They repulse us. They're revolting. They carry all sorts of diseases. They're hated, abused, and detested. That's how I feel and that's why I absolutely hate having a "ratitude."


All my problems fall into one of two areas: either people do things I don't want them to do or they fail to do the things I want them to do. Don't they understand they HAVE to meet my expectations? Apparently someone has slipped up, and failed to inform the universe of my demands.

I have one of two choices. I can either continue in my "ratitude," or I can dust off my Bible and read, "... in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication with THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known unto God ..." (Philippians 4:6 NIV, emphasis mine.)

Give thanks? Are you serious, Cary?
Give thanks? Are you serious, Cary? "Say what? Give thanks? Are you serious, Cary?" Go ahead and admit it, I know that's what you are thinking. You're not quite sure how to follow my tongue-in-cheek sarcasm and wonder if I'm serious. Well, you know what? I am serious. Serious as I can be. Just like a lot of folks, I get really down; I get a "ratitude." What helps me the most, however, is what I found out from Paul about giving thanks in all situations. I am given a way to change my "ratitude." I can pray. I can continue to bring my supplications before God. I can do it with thanksgiving to God. You see, when I bring God into my "ratitude" by offering thanks to him, He transforms it. He transforms me.

Let me share a little secret with you. The next time you have a "ratitude," bring God into it. In fact, just take the Big G at the beginning of God, and add it to the front of your "ratitude." What do you have then? That's right folks, you have a "GRATITUDE."

I know, it sounds corny. You may even think it's trite. The truth, however, is that learning to be grateful — to give thanks for our solid blessings in Jesus and the overflow of God's gifts given to us everyday — is not trite or corny, it's transformational.

And that's how we are supposed to live each day, in gratitude to God for calling us out of our pity party "ratitudes."

Enjoy your Cheese!