Gratitude is the music of the heart, when its chords are swept by the breeze of kindness.
It’s that time of year again. Ah the holidays. You can just feel the Christmas cheer in the air as you’re walking around with sounds of Christmas music playing, lights sparkling, and people wishing you a “Merry Christmas”. Last year, around this time, I wrote about how thanksgiving involves sacrifice. (You can read that here!) This year, I want to share my thoughts on gratitude. No, not the fluffy, superficial kind of gratitude where everyone goes around and says one thing they are thankful for, but raw and life changing gratitude. I recently read a book on gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss entitled “Choosing Gratitude”. To be completely honest, when I first picked up the book, I was expecting it to be a rather shallow book, containing 10 steps on how to be a more grateful person. I was completely wrong. It was probably one of the most challenging books I’ve read in a long time. I highly encourage you to pick up a copy.
One of the topics in the book was the topic of entitlement. This generation has become so good and thinking we’re entitled to everything! Think about it, we expect to have a warm house, food on the table, breath in our lungs, the ability to read and go to school, etc. The list could go on forever about the things we just expect to have. Not only do we just expect those things, we think that it’s our right to have them. We’re entitled to those things, and something is wrong if we don’t have them.
The Lord has gripped my heart with my sinful thoughts concerning entitlement. As He’s opened my eyes to my horrible attitude, and how I view my circumstances, especially concerning the things I feel like I deserve. As I’ve confessed my sins to my Father, He’s changed my thinking and given me a genuinely grateful heart. As I see everything in my life as a gift, and as something I don’t deserve at all, my heart is changing. I don’t get upset when I don’t get the thing I wanted the most in life, because I’m not truly entitled to it.
I was born in Romania, a country that just killed their dictator and ended communism. When I was adopted as a baby and brought to America, I was given more opportunities and privileges that I ever deserved. As I’ve reflected on all of the things I’ve been given, instead of complaining that I don’t have the latest iphone or a boyfriend or any number of things I think I want, I should pause and realize how many children grew up in orphanages in Romania. I didn’t. I don’t know why I was adopted instead of some other little girl, but I do know this, I’m eternally grateful. My Father has plans for my life. I know that. Although I am in pain sometimes, and cry out to Him because my heart hurts over a severe loss that I’ve experienced, I need to remember that I’m not entitled to what I’ve lost. Trials and difficult circumstances can be a time where I can either worship or whine. I don’t always respond how I should, and worshiping my dear Savior is not my first reaction all the time. Sometimes I do whine and complain over what I don’t have. But I can tell you one thing, when I focus on all the Lord has given me and don’t see anything in my life and something I’m entitled to, my attitude changes. I can begin to respond and truly worship and honor the Lord in my sufferings.
I challenge you to evaluate your life and identify the areas in which you feel you are entitled. Next, pray and ask the Lord to truly change your heart and attitude towards those things so that you can properly glorify the Father.
Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, – a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.