Once upon a time I thought gratitude was just another character quality… I thought I could get by just fine with an occasional thank-you, followed by a big smile… I was wrong.
“Try to sustain persevering faith – without gratitude – and your faith will eventually forget the whole point of its faithfulness, hardening into a practice of religion that’s hollow and ineffective.
Try being a person who exudes and exhibits Christian love – without gratitude – and over time your love will crash hard on the sharp rocks of disappointment and disillusionment.
Try being a person who sacrificially gives of yourself – without the offering being accompanied by gratitude – and you’ll find every ounce of joy drained dry by martyr complex.
photo credit: bethany stelzl
As British pastor John Henry Jowett once said, ‘Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.’”
Choosing Gratitude, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Ouch! Did you realize how big of a deal gratitude is? It’s not just a smile or a thank-you, or a feeling. Gratitude is a choice…often a very difficult, challenging, unwanted decision to say yes to what is right, against my natural inclinations. Like love, it starts like a law and ends in a relationship. The first 1000 times I choose to give thanks, I may be clenching my teeth because it is the last thing I want to do. But by and by as time goes on I begin to see what I was missing all along. It is rewarding. It is beautiful. It is meaningful. It is a reflection of Jesus Christ, and gratitude feels good!
Life is difficult. Naturally, we all face times when funds are lacking, when health is poor, when relationships are weak or broken, when the weather is undesirable… whether it is a disastrous problem or a simple frustration, we resort to one natural response – complaining! It’s easy to complain. It feels good to whine about how others have treated us, and how things are going just the opposite of what we imagined. I hate to admit this painful truth, because it is one of my favorite sins… (And by that I mean it is one of the hardest to give up.) But I think someone needs to say it, so I will be the first to confess it.
It’s far too easy to murmur and complain. Expectations are deadly. Gratitude is a necessity. I am convinced that there will always and forever be a reason to demonstrate a spirit of gratefulness, no matter what I am going through. Someone else has no hope. Someone else cannot choose to rejoice. Someone else is facing a more difficult situation. I am not a special case! If I belong to Christ Jesus, there is always hope, always a way to rejoice, always a place to give thanks!
Last year I began reading this book, Choosing Gratitude. I cannot even begin to describe the impact it has had on my life, and what it has done to deepen my relationship with God – gratitude is the place where I can move from friendship to intimate fellowship with my Father. He delights when His children come before Him with thanksgiving and praise. He brings joy to my soul and peace to my troubled heart, when I stop worrying about the things in life and consider all that I have to be thankful for! It doesn’t matter what I am facing or what I am going through…gratitude leads to rejoicing in this moment, in this hour, in this day. I can trust my Father, Who has been faithful to provide for my every need, each day!
photo credit: bethany stelzl
I posted a book review on our family blog a while back. I would encourage you to read the book Choosing Gratitude if you have not, already – yes I am talking to the guys too!
Have you thanked God for pencils, or paper clips, or pictures on your wall? Let me encourage you to write down 5 new things each day that you are grateful for… I have been doing this since 2010 and I will testify that the list is endless!
God bless you as you choose an attitude of gratitude!