Posted by: Beth | November 6, 2021

Perspective and Gratitude

Thanksgiving – November 6

I’ve written about two incidents that radically changed the way I view the world around me.  There have been many more; some just as dramatic and others very subtle.

Awareness – Perspective – Gratitude

My first thought along this line was that becoming aware of different cultures – both in a foreign country and in my own town – prodded me toward being grateful.  Awareness of others leading to a deeper sense of gratitude.  I like that idea. Within seconds many counter examples came to mind.  How often do we want a particular car or phone or game or toy or app or pair of shoes or jacket right when we see it?  There is nothing wrong with wanting something different or better than what you already own.  BUT, when that kind of desire becomes constant, it is a serious problem.  When I figure out how to overcome it, I’ll let you know.  I’m still working on myself with books and crochet yarn and stretchy pants, and two young boys with Legos, Nerf guns, and toys in general.

So what’s the difference?  We see something nicer, then we want it.  We see something pitiful or undesirable, and we want to stay away from it.  Nothing intrinsically wrong with that.  But. How can we become satisfied with what we have instead of constantly yearning for more and bigger and better?  How can we reach out to those with “less” (when they may be richer is much more important ways), to connect with each other and grow our faith together?

Perspective.

Whether we want to admit it or not, our perspective of everything around us is shaped by our past.  Whatever we have learned and experienced effects how we see the world.  A landscaper looks at dandelions in an otherwise perfectly manicured lawn and sees weeds.  A young child sees the same plants and is in awe of the beautiful yellow flowers and that fluffy white stuff you can blow across the yard.

So how is our perspective about gratitude?

Are we thankful only when we have everything we want?  That’s never going to happen.  Most of us will always want more or different.

Can we be thankful for what we have and plan a reasonable way to get that something bigger, better, nicer that our heart so wants?

Can we … can I? … possibly be grateful for what I have without wanting more?  At least for some period of time?  The idea of fasting is generally applied to food.  I wonder …. What if we … what if I …. Fasted from purchasing anything other than what is absolutely necessary for a month?  Even a week?  Would it help us learn to be more grateful? 

I’ll be honest.  I once told myself that I was going to purchase NO books for a month.  You know what happened?  I had a stack of them in an online cart, just waiting for the end of the month.  And I didn’t even wait the full month.  I bought them.

Our actions are not the main part of the problem.  The problem is our hearts.  Jesus’ longest recorded sermon boils down to “get your heart right and the rest of life will fall into place.”  Falling into place includes an attitude of gratitude, an ability to be thankful for what we have, the condition of being content.

How aware am I of what is deep in my heart?  How do I see the world around me and far away?  What is the condition of my attitude toward others?  About things?  How does it affect my daily decisions – to better my community or just myself? Am I grateful for what I have? Or am I grateful I am able to get more, bigger, better things?

If we are ever going to live with an attitude of gratitude, it must spring forth from the heart.  Are we cultivating the soil of our hearts to grow gratitude?

#bgwww21  #bgta21


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