The Beauty of Gratitude
Gratitude has been a word that I’ve been hearing a lot lately. A few days ago, I had a conversation with my sister about the importance of being grateful, and just a few hours ago, a friend of mine told me that she committed to being more grateful this year. The more that I thought about the notion of gratitude though, the more that I realized that I can do much better in this area. Don’t get me wrong, I thank God everyday. I am very grateful for the things that He has blessed me with. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to God for everything that He has done in my life; however, I am aware that there is still much room for growth in the area of gratitude in my life.
To tell you the truth, I feel like my lack of gratitude contributes to most of the discouragement and discontentment that I grapple with. Instead of being thankful to God for what I have and the progress that I make, I’m often prone to focusing on the bad, and overlooking all that God has done. Do you ever struggle with this? If so, I know the feeling. In this first week of 2021, I feel God leading me back to gratitude. Having a heart that is filled with gratefulness. Praising and thanking God for what He has done instead of complaining to Him about what isn’t going right. I believe that once we adopt this mindset, not only would we experience more peace, but we would walk through life much differently than we do now. We would be much happier and begin to see life through God’s perspective.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) tells us, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Now, let me be the first to tell you that this is not always easy. In fact, it can be really, really difficult. Your knee-jerk reaction to bad news isn’t always thanksgiving. The first thought that you have when something goes wrong isn’t always to be grateful. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’d admit that oftentimes, it’s difficult for us to muster up even a tiny bit of gratitude when things go wrong in our lives. However, God’s word instructs us to give thanks in all circumstances. It's not saying that we should be thankful for the bad things that do happen, but that we can be thankful that God is walking with us through it, or that we can have peace in the midst of it. With God in our lives, even in the bad moments, we can muster up gratitude because He is with us! Now, God knows that this isn’t always going to be easy for us, so, like the loving Father that He is, He helps us. I’ve had many moments when things didn’t work out the way that I thought they would. In these moments, my initial reaction was to wallow in discouragement, but God would quickly send me a reminder that good is always present even when everything seems to be going wrong. God can help us to develop hearts of gratitude, we just have to ask Him.
I won’t pretend like I’m perfect in this area of gratitude. There are moments when I wake up and praise and thanksgiving comes organically, and there are other days when I have to push and remind myself that I must be thankful in all circumstances. The beautiful thing about life is that each day, I am learning and growing. Some days are better than others, but the days when I find myself struggling, God reassures me that overtime, gratitude will come naturally. If you find yourself struggling in any area of your life right now, I encourage you to choose gratitude. Choose to look for the good in the difficult situation. Choose to be thankful for what you do have when you’re tempted to focus on what you don’t have. Choose to give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you.
Choose gratitude today.