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In America, we are used to hearing “we have much to be thankful for.” And it is true. As Americans, we get the privilege to enjoy a life many in other countries can only dream of and yearn for. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn’t agree with you that we have much to be grateful for. Even after going through the trials of the pandemic over the past 18 months and general unrest across our nation, we still have many, many reasons to have a thankful heart and approach to our days.
So why do so many of us struggle with gratitude?
As depression, anxiety, burnout and other gratitude-killers continue their meteoric rise in our society (hugely related to the COVID-19 pandemic), the issue begins to become more apparent. We would all love to wake up every morning and lift our hands to the Lord, listing out everything we are so incredibly thankful for. Our inability to make this a daily habit is not an indicator that we aren’t grateful to God for what He has done for us. Rather, being unable to find something for which to be grateful each day is a sign that we have overcomplicated gratitude.
“See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
If you wait around for gratitude to wave its arms and point wildly at something for which you should be thankful, you’re going to have a hard time finding it. Our sin nature and our self-centered tendencies tend to skew our view of gratitude and what we should be grateful for. Who shows gratitude for waking up? Who says they’re thankful for the water running out of their faucet? Who looks up to heaven with a smile and thanks God for a thunderstorm in the middle of sunny summer?
Those who have learned to spot the beauty and gifts living in every day we have on this earth. That’s who.
Join us this month as we discuss and learn how to redefine gratitude. We will work to see gratitude not as something that must be given but as something we get the chance to give. Gratitude is more than just an exercise in thanksgiving; it is a way to keep ourselves from sinking into dark times indefinitely and instead focus our minds and our hearts on the gifts of light waiting for us each day.