Gratitude is the acknowledgement of something good in one’s life. Gratitude is not an emotion, but instead gratitude can be a discipline at times.
I could give you a long list of the things I’m grateful for outward things that are apparent to most. I could equally give you a list of things that I’m not grateful for those inward things that only I and the Lord see. I’d rather not, though, it’s kind of boring and already done. To be honest, I find that expressing my gratitude in these things doesn’t really exemplify who my God is. We all have things to be grateful for, even the pagans.
Over the past year, I’ve really questioned the source of my gratitude. I found myself riding the waves of circumstances allowing them to toss my gratitude about. I’ve been delivered from troubles. I’ve been blessed. All these things have helped me be grateful until circumstances changed that caused me to be fearful and grumble. Over time, this has caused me to be what I call a tarnished Christian, not able to shine Christ’s light like I should. Focusing on my hardships would not only lead me to draw inward, but killed any gratitude I could possess.
Another gratitude killer, one that particularly plagues me, is worry. For me worry is like a train. It’s big, heavy and cumbersome. The more it gains momentum; the harder it is to stop. I find myself getting so caught up by my fears of the worse that it takes focus away from what is at the present. Again, this has way too many times caused me to draw inward and not shine a light out to others.
A few mornings back, I had some real worries and was taking them to the Lord. His answer to me was to trust that in all things, He is faithful. This shift of focus, not only brought peace, but gave me another source of gratitude as well. I have begun to discipline my mind to instead of focusing on all my circumstances (good or bad) and worries, to dwell on His faithfulness which is constant. Circumstances come and go. Worries are fickle. But God is constant. He is good and just. He never changes or falters. Because of this, as long as I remain focused on Him and recognize that in Him I have everything, I’m able to remain in a constant state of gratefulness.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Psaln 57:9-10.