Living Grateful in an Ungrateful World
Our world is not grateful. We get caught mimicking ungrateful attitudes around us. It starts with a whine and morphs into complaint.
So how do we live grateful in an ungrateful world? Here are three life-changing principles about seeing life from the lens of abundance. When we do, every day is a day of Thanksgiving.
1. Treat everything we have as a gift from God.
It is easy to look at life by what we don’t have or by what we have tried to make for ourselves. That perspective grows complaint, restlessness, push, and stress. It doesn’t grow gratitude. David’s Psalms show us a different order. Most of the time David counted his gifts before he named his complaints. He came to God grateful for Who God was and what He had already done. Then David had complete confidence that if there was something missing, His God of unlimited resources could provide it. We need to remember the same order in our prayers and thoughts.
2. Nurture an awareness of the abundance we enjoy.
Gratitude for what we have kindles a sense of abundance and contentment. Then, an amazing surprise occurs. The more we are grateful for what we have, the more gifts show up. Remember the Parable of the Talents? What did the master do when his servant made good use of the gifts he had? Gave him more. God always looks for grateful people He can trust with more. Where gifts of the heart are concerned, God is an equal opportunity God. We can all experience the same love, compassion, and empowerment. The more we accept what God offers, the more we live in His abundance.
3. Understand that living from a perspective of abundance is a choice.
We start with the simple things. Sunrises. Food on the table. Hugs. Friends. Children. Freedom to worship. The list of daily gifts is unending. When we realize how much we have, we enjoy what we have more. Recognizing this “more” makes ingratitude an uncomfortable attitude and a true enemy. We always find something to celebrate. Then, the choice to be grateful becomes our first response.
There are also three reminders about what an abundant perspective is not.
2. It does not minimize loss.
This abundance perspective isn’t about treating loss in an unhealthy way. It is a way to let the simple
gifts that are always present heal us in the hard times and help us keep seeing God’s gifts that come despite hard times. Then, we can recognize God’s abundance even in times of loss and be grateful.
2. It is not a self-determined positivity.
Living grateful isn’t self-determined positivity that turns bad things around to make them sound good. This practice doesn’t produce true gratitude. It usually comes from a grin and bear it center and values positivity more than gratitude.
3. It does not deny that bad things happen.
Bad things happen. Trouble comes. Life takes unexpected turns. Gratitude is a perspective that allows us to face bad things from the strength of knowing God has gifts for bad times. We celebrate the gifts that come without treating bad things as gifts.
Turn on the news and see what ingratitude produces. We need more grateful people in our world. We need people whose hearts are open with wills surrendered to God so that hope stays vibrant. We need to celebrate our abundance without worshipping it. We need to live humbled by God’s gifts. We won’t be able to change the whole world, but we can influence our circle of family, friends, and work associates. We can live grateful in an ungrateful world.