[A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh]
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
[William Arthur Ward]
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
[Gilbert K. Chesterton]
Grumbling is gratitude turned inside out. I suppose for every ‘bad’ thing that happens there’s a flipside (well almost). But it seems we like to zone in on the bad. Nothing sells newspapers like a big, bad headline of a fallen hero or disaster. I’m not sure why we do it. It’s just a bad habit, a really bad habit: no one likes to hear it, and we don’t feel better doing it. But focus on the good and there’s an immediate physiological shift: we feel happier, optimistic, stress levels drop; life is good and even chaos is manageable. Gratitude is medicine at every level.
I think we forget gratitude when we forget about Jesus, even momentarily. That’s why we’re advised to ‘keep our eyes upon Jesus.’ I’m not sure how to shift our thinking into positive patterns. Perhaps it begins with blessing a driver who’s just cut you off… no, that’s too much of a stretch! We could start with the BIG one – that we belong to Jesus, and keep that thought ever at the forefront, and then work our way down from there: our church and house church; people that encourage and love us, having a roof (that leaks but it’s ours), a car (28 years and going strong, well, going…), living in a beautiful city where drivers on Paradise Road will press pause so that a duck and ducklings can safely cross over (seen it with my own eyes).
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.(Col 3:15). I can’t think of a greater gift than having the peace of God ruling in our hearts – and it begins with gratitude. I’m grateful you read my blog.
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
Saying Thank You just feels so GOOD! It nourishes and brings warmth to our heart, soul, and life. There is so much to be thankful for everyday, the sunshine, the delicious food we are able to eat, the warmth or air-conditioning we have to make us feel more comfortable, our perfect bodies which enable us to move around, the beautiful people and community we are surrounded by, and most importantly for being able to breathe and just being ALIVE! Every day we have the opportunity to experience the beauty God has to offer us, and for that we should be grateful.
Gratitude is medicine for our soul! Gratitude heals our hearts. It fills us with joy and invites love into our world.
So why do we focus on gossip and on the negative in the world. Why don’t people say Thank You more often? Why are people afraid to express and accept gratitude? Is it because they are afraid of it? Are they afraid of what it will bring into their life? Are they afraid to be taken advantage of? A simple thank you and a smile has the ability to light up another person’s whole day, yet we let life get in the way and dull our natural light and we forget the power and greatness of a simple THANK YOU.
Time goes faster and faster - a minute is still 60 seconds, though, and an hour remains 60 minutes long, and a day 24 hours, and a week 7 days, etc. What is meant is that we get more rushed as time goes by, and how incredibly fast things move these days with new technology being developed every day So what took 3 months a century ago, now takes less than a day or even a few seconds. Think of the news and any electronic messaging – back in the day a letter would take a few days to write, then one would need to go to the post office, and then the travelling time for the letter, etc. Compare this to today, where we all have phones, i-pads / tablets, and instantly can message anyone in the world.
Now think about Gratitude. How grateful were the people a few years back when they received a letter... these days we pity ourselves and feel lonely when someone does not respond within seconds of us sending them a message.
Instead of focusing on all the worries that we carry around with us, would it not be easier to load these onto someone else – someone who is willing to take them and carry them on His shoulders? Then we can focus on all the beautiful things around us, the wonderful friends and family we have been blessed with, and LIFE.
Why not slow down, BREATHE, and think of all the things in your life that you can be grateful for. I am not referring to the bigger things nor the material things. I am specifically referring to the smaller things. Yesterday someone said to me, “If you only pray for big things, you will only be occasionally grateful. Why not pray for the small things and be grateful all the time”.
Start today! Say thank you for being alive, for breathing, for your beautiful body, for all that life has to offer. Be thankful and see how life will open up for you! Be genuine and say it with a smile! “THANK YOU LORD!”
Bear with me, I'll get to the point soon, but consider:
When we go to dinner, we take a bottle of wine. On birthdays we give gifts. On special occasions we'll phone someone. When someone does well we compliment and praise them.
Each and every time we do so we are investing a bit of ourselves in the other person, we're adding more glue to our relationship, we build a relationship history.
In the temple sacrifices of the Jewish nation, they were giving gifts to God as part of their relationship. Likewise when we respect and value another person, we'll sacrifice our time, energy, and possessions to help them.
Each and every time we're adding building blocks to our relationship, we're creating a shared existence, we're giving expression to a reality that gives it greater strength.
Gratitude is a gift
When we say thank you, we imply that "I value you". When we express our gratitude to the another person, we're showing that "I'm glad that you exist".
And how we so, so really need to do that for ourselves! Failure to be grateful leads to pride, because it says "I am strong enough in my self that I don't need to show gratitude." And God hates the proud!
And how we so very much need to have gratitude shown to us. We long to know we are loved, needed, and wanted. And we only know this through the expression of gratitude from others.
Showing gratitude to others is the vaccine against pride. Receiving gratitude is the medicine that heals insecurity and poor self worth.
Gratitude is a gift. And Jesus' death was his ultimate gift to us. He could do that because he was ultimately humble, ultimately strong. And he did do that because he has ultimate love for us.
How is Jesus' gift gratitude? Because he is beyond the simple constraints of time and grateful for our return to relationship with him ... when we do.
How will I show gratitude? If I don't, I do so to my own peril.