What does your schedule look like? Work. school. Work Out. Church. Cook. Pick up the kids. Whatever it may be we all have routines and checklists to get by on a daily basis. But the problem is when we just let it become something that we have to do instead of something that we look forward to or enjoy.

Recently, I noticed I had let everything in my life become this way.

I wasn't really looking forward to things. Everything seemed like a task. I would complain in my head about going to work or having to do this and that and everything just became a checklist. I knew what I had to do each day and my goal was just to get through it. What started off as a "bad mood," became a sort of habit. I was just getting by.

This morning on my ride to work, which to be completely honest is usually just me listening to music and complaining about how it's too early to be awake, I decided to instead listen to a podcast. I decided to listen to the Elevation Church podcast. (You can listen to the episode I'm about to talk about here.). And man, that Word woke me up. The message that really spoke to me was the following; that we have to do this and that, but in reality, we don't have to do anything. We don't have to. We should be grateful that we get to and we should want to.

For a while now, I had seriously been taking everything around me for granted. Although not easy to admit, everything had become this thing that I just had to get done. And let me tell you, that is a very morbid and depressing way of living. I had fallen into this cycle of routine and checking things off. This wake-up call was a long time coming.

The area in my life that it most impacted was my spiritual one. I had been praying for God to restore that passion I had for Him. I serve in my church quite a bit but I had felt like things were becoming more of an obligation to me than a desire to serve. Now, don't get me wrong, I love God and I love my church and I love serving but I am human and I fell into this vicious cycle of obligation.

This feeling impacted every area of my life, my work, my school work. Everything just became a checklist!!

I don't want to keep living my life with this "have to" attitude. It's pointless and it's sad. Instead, I want that attitude of gratefulness.

Instead of thinking," It's so early and I HAVE TO go to work", I'm changing it to "THANK YOU, GOD, because I GET TO go to work." And instead of the very common thought, a lot of students have is, "I HAVE TO go to class and I really don't want to", I'm changing it to "THANK YOU GOD because I have the opportunity to get an education."

It's all about changing your mindset to a more positive one. Even the small things we do have importance and we should have joy in doing them. "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men," Colossians 3:23

When we are grateful for the things around us and the opportunities we are given, it changes the way we see the world, the way we do things, and the way we treat people. It's a shift in perspective and it's a shift in the posture of our heart. Gratefulness is the way to combat these routines or feelings of obligations.

We all have bad days but don't let those bad days become a habit. Because it'll just cycle into this idea of just getting by. It's a daily choice to be grateful and we have to decide to take it and look at it on the bright side.

So I'll end with this. Life isn't meant to be a checklist and getting things done because we have to. Life is so much more than that. If you feel like you're in a time of your life when you're just doing things to get them done, take a moment. Breathe and adjust your mindset. We aren't meant to live life on autopilot. Life is full of joy and not just things we HAVE to do but things that we GET to do by the grace of God. Everything we do is a privilege and we should be grateful.

This is my prayer for today and every day from now on; God helps me to see you in everything I do:

Thank You for giving me the opportunity to wake up and experience another day of this beautiful life. Let me not fall into a feeling of obligation today or ever. Take away this checklist mentality. Thank you that I have the privilege to go to work and continue with my day. Let me do everything in love and thankfulness. Amen.

Today start (or restart) your day with a grateful heart because life is beautiful and full of good things. We just need to look at it in a new perspective.