by Jenni Graebe, Keller Campus Pastor Wife
We’ve all encountered them. You know exactly who I’m talking about. Think about your very favorite people. I guarantee they have a spirit of thankfulness about them. People with a heart of gratitude are magnetic. You can’t exactly put your finger on it, but you absolutely love being around them.
A grateful person’s joy is contagious, and everything is a gift to them. You are a gift, this day, the breath in their lungs, the health of their body. It’s all a gift. They don’t just keep it to themselves, either. Even in the face of negativity, they choose thanks and express it. Because, of course, there is always always, always something to be thankful for. And their gratitude glows.
Sadly, the opposite of thankful people exists, too. We’ve all come across these folks as well. Again, you can’t quite put your finger on why, but, in this case, you cannot wait to get away from them. They seem to suck the life out of you. The complainers, the ungrateful, and the entitled. Ugh. Perhaps you’re cringing right now remembering an encounter with an ungrateful person. Nothing repels and repulses like those with a haughty spirit of cynicism and entitlement who have developed the astounding ability to find a problem in any given situation – the flaw detectors. There’s something wrong with the day, the weather, the room, with you. And their entitlement attitude drains the world around them.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve had plenty of experiences in both camps. At our best, we can be found glowing with gratitude and joy, but let’s be honest, we all have those days when it’s easy to jump on the complaint train. Oh friend, I promise you, we’re in this thing together! We desperately need the spirit of Christ, don’t we?
The good news is it is never too late! A vibrant, flourishing heart of gratitude is something God wants for each and every one of us. No one is born with a natural bent towards thankfulness; it’s a choice we make every single day. Like any habit, we have to practice gratitude over and over until it sticks.
For example, I run. Okay, actually, I jog. The point is, when I started out, I was completely inept . Huffing and puffing, gasping for air, shooting pains from my side, cursing the world around me until the torturous miles were over. But over time, with steady practice, running has become so much easier and actually something I look forward to. Just like running, as we practice gratitude daily, moment by moment, it becomes easier. When we first start out, we may struggle through a moment where all we want to do is curse the world around us, complain and remain frustrated, but as we keep going… choosing to give thanks (express it) instead of complaining, choosing gratitude over entitlement, praise over pride, low and behold, we will see our hearts, attitudes, moods (hallelujah!) and lives actually begin to change!
So, friend, the choice is ours! May we choose to be women who glow with gratitude! May we become women who not only cultivate thankfulness in our hearts, but express thanks with our words, actions, and lives. May we grow more and more into the women God longs for us to be as we choose to practice daily the habit of gratefulness and thanksgiving. Wherever these words find you on your journey today, sweet friend, I pray that God would speak to you right where you are. Be encouraged! I pray you and I can live on the other side of grace, where gratitude leads to joy and peace and a contagious zest for life that lifts the world around us.