The Attitude Of Gratitude

What Is Your GQ?Attitude of gratitude

I know you have heard of an IQ. That’s what measures your knowledge. IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient. Well, the question today is, what is your GQ? Or in other words, your Gratitude Quotient.

As we approach this Thanksgiving week, the question always comes up, what are you thankful for? Sometimes we don’t have an answer for that question. We look around us and see others who may have more than us. Or we look at our life and we question why we don’t have a newer car or why we don’t make more money or why can’t we sing like a rock star. Or even worse, we have experienced some tragic event in our lives and we ask, why is this happening to me? We don’t always see the other side of the coin. We seem to just want to wallow in self pity or despair.

I am reminded of the woman who had been trying to have a baby and continously prayed for a child. Finally, when God blessed her with a baby, six months later the baby died of infant crib death. Everyone around the woman questioned why this would happen and why God would let this happen. Of course, no one had a good answer, however the mother saw these events in a different light. When consoled by others, her answer was “I am grateful to God.” Although, this seems like a strange answer, the woman explained that she was grateful for the 6 months that she had with her baby. She said she would not trade those last 6 months for anything. This attitude is what makes the difference in people’s lives.

The attitude of gratitude. That is looking at life through rose colored glasses. What we need to remember in life is that gratitude or thankfulness is a choice that we make. We can look at these less than ideal situations and choose to be bitter. Or we can thank God for what he has blessed us with. We sometimes need to dig deep to find the blessing, but it is there. Oscar Wilde said it best when he said, “Sometimes the worst trials in life are blessings in disguise.”

I want to share a couple concepts that I have come to understand regarding the attitude of gratitude in our lives. The first one is, gratitude begins where our sense of entitlement ends. We all feel like we are owed something in life. We want more and we think we deserve it. As long as we believe we are owed something, we will never be truly grateful. As long as we feel we have been cheated we will never do anything but complain. It’s only when we realize that we are owed nothing and everything we have is a gift from God, even though we don’t deserve it, will be start to understand gratefulness.

forefathersOur forefathers understood it when they wrote the Declaration of Independence. They never promised us we’d be happy. They didn’t say happiness is one of our inalienable rights. We have a tendency to read it wrong. The line reads, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. We have the right to pursue happiness. Our soldiers don’t fight and die for us to have the right to be happy, they fight to give us the opportunity to pursue happiness, to experience joy and to know God on a higher level. Jesus Christ didn’t die for us to be happy. He died so that we may have the opportunity to have a relationship with God. When I give up the belief that something is owed to me, my G.Q. goes up immediately. We lose our thankfulness when we don’t get what we feel we deserve, but when we realize that we’ve already got something that we don’t deserve, we become thankful.

The second concept is, gratitude is never invisible or silent. Luke 6:45 tells us that “out of the overflow of our hearts the mouth speaks.” When you have a grateful heart, it is going to come out in what we say and in how we act. If you notice in the Bible, many times when Jesus healed someone they would run out in the streets praising God, jumping and dancing and proclaiming His mercy and grace. Even King David, when the Arc of the Covenant was returned to the city, David jumped right into the middle of the procession and danced and celebrated to display his thankfulness and gratitude to God. If we are grateful to God for who He is and what He has done for us, then we should show it. As long as we remember where we came from and where we could be, it can change your life.

Finally, gratitude is a filter that affects our vision. When we see everything through a lens of gratitude, it changes life. It lensdoesn’t necessarily change our circumstances, but it changes the way we perceive our circumstances. I can think of a young man I saw on some show on TV who was born without arms or legs. Now, you would think that this guy would be bitter and resentful and holed up in his room somewhere feeling sorry for himself. But he accepted his situation, gave thanks to God for the blessings that he did have in his life and is now in training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Because he was able to see life through the filter of gratitude, it changed his life completely. Grateful people can find a blessing or create a blessing in any situation whereas ungrateful people can find a burden or create a burden in the same situation. Which one are you?

The world we see is colored by the condition of our heart. When our heart is conditioned with thankfulness, we see the world different. Life is not something to be endured but appreciated. 1 Thessalonians gives us God’s will for our lives. It tells us to “be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you.”  Don’t misunderstand this. He doesn’t tell us to be thankful for all circumstances, but in all circumstances. Because we’re not, and God doesn’t expect us to be. I am certainly not saying it’s going to be easy, but we have a promise to fall back on. No matter what happens, even in great difficulty, we have a reason to be thankful to God.  In Romans 8:28 we are told that, We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.

cookie ingredientsAlthough we may not know or understand what is happening, we also don’t see the big picture. It’s like a chocolate chip cookie. If we took all the ingredients that go into making cookies, we would not want to eat them by themselves, but put all together and thrown into the oven under a little heat, what comes out is close to heaven. It’s the same with our lives. we may not like any given ingredient or situation, but when God is done with us, we will be that chocolate chip cookie, if we let Him.

The first step we need to take to rid ourselves of the negative attitude in our lives is repent. Ask God to forgive us for not trusting him and taking Him at his word. Then we need to review the blessings that we do have in our lives. realize that every breath we take is a gift from God. And finally, renew our minds. Make the choice to be grateful in all circumstances. You might be surprised what a difference it can make.

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