Have you noticed that is really hard to maintain an attitude of thankfulness? We get busy, life gets hectic and the frustrations pile on us like the 49ers on the Bears (reference to last night’s Monday night football game – ouch!)
I think our biggest struggle with thankfulness is not fought in the circumstances of life, but in the mind. So what are the things that we allow to happen which kill our gratitude?
Killer #1 – Unrealistic Expectations. Have you ever thought life should be easier for you than for other people? Even if we love God, the world is the world. And we have to deal with the way it works. Every time we expect something from someone or from a situation that is unreasonable, it is just a matter of time until we are disappointed, frustrated or angry.
Killer #2 – Forgetting the Intrinsic Goodness of God. One thing we have to let God convince us of and remind us of is His goodness. If we forget His goodness, we can go down the slippery slope of accusing God of not being good. Then we judge him and question his motives, rather than give thanks. The truth is, God is good. He cannot be otherwise and that is why Romans 8:28-29 are promises we can count on.
Killer #3 – A Life with no White Space. White space is that part of the page, where there are no pictures or text printed. It includes the margins, the spacing between lines and even letters. Most of our lives are so jam-packed that we don’t have any space. Even the good things we do increase our stress and we never have time to consider, think, pray and meditate. We also don’t have time to enjoy the goodness we’ve been shown. This squeezes out gratitude.
Killer #4 – Unholy, or Unhealthy Affections. When we are in love with the flesh, or the world, we distance ourselves from God’s desires. We strengthen these destructive affections when we entertain areas of sin in our lives. If we’re Christians, we live with the nagging sense of guilt. And guilt kills any chance of being thankful.
Killer #5 – Self-Sufficiency. A growing sense of independence can distance us from the One who has given us all things. And we will stop seeing Him as the giver of every good and perfect gift. This kills any appreciation we should rightly have.
So, what does real gratitude look like?
Here are 5 evidences of gratitude:
1. Contentment – When we are thankful for what God has done, we realize that He has done enough. Every desire is met with the fulfillment of His loving sacrifice and the life He has given us.
2. Joy – When we are thankful, we are filled with joy. Our lives become a picture of bounty. We are rich in Him. And as those who know Him, we have a source of lasting joy.
3. Patience – We learn to live with the pace of life. We take time. We let things work out their way. We let God take control because we know He has proven Himself faithful with everything we’ve trusted Him with already.
4. Openness – We become more open to others. We are free to trust. We are free to open our hearts and lives to those around us. We notice them. We pray for their needs. We long for God to bring the blessings we enjoy, into the lives of those we’re growing to love.
5. Giving – We no longer feel the need to hold, to have, to grab and possess. We become people who let go for the sake of others. We sacrifice and we’re okay with that. In fact, it truly becomes a source of greater thanks.
Do you think being thankful is important?
Does it look like your thankful?
If not, what thoughts have killed your thanks?
What other things get in the way?