Learning to access the power of God-driven gratitude
Usually this time of year signals having a more festive outlook on things. Having the American holiday of Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas approaching signals cheerful, generous and pleasant interactions. Decorations, excitement and goodwill prevail! Usually. Then there was the year 2020 which brought a pandemic to the world, the likes of which had not been seen in a hundred years. Good cheer is overrun by depression, happiness is crushed by anxiety and anticipation has turned to foreboding. We are all currently stuck in the mud of uncertainty and often spin our wheels in frustration, only to sink deeper. COVID-19 has brought our fears of what was unknown nine months ago into the light of what is known. And that feels even more terrifying. The answer to this dilemma is in plain sight but not easily understood. It is gratitude. Seriously, gratitude properly understood and applied is life-changing!
Here come the eye rolls.
When you mention being thankful, the knee jerk reaction of many ranges from completely ignoring the suggestion to eye rolls. Unfortunately, we tend to see gratitude as an exercise in triviality. Politely say you are thankful for food, family, friends, shelter and health and be done with it. This way you don’t offend anyone. You participated in the formalities. Now you can get back to your own world of self-centered distractions. While this has become a socially-acceptable response to the gratitude challenge, it is also a sad misrepresentation of thanksgiving.
The problem? Platitudes, not gratitude.
We have allowed platitudes to take the place of sincere gratitude. A platitude is a word or phrase that is trite or stale. It is spoken to cover the bases of responding without having to think or be sincere. Platitudes are common – we all use them. In the book of Isaiah, platitudes are described when God is scolding Israel for worshipping Him with their words and not their hearts. This was unacceptable to God because it was not genuine.
True gratitude is life-changing. Now, you can say that phrase is a classic platitude, and it certainly can be! The test here is to see what is behind the phrase. Is it spoken to pacify or to clarify? Check out our November 30, 2020 podcast, “How Can We be Thankful After the Year We’ve Had?” for more. We examine gratitude from both a biblical perspective and a practical 21st century perspective.
What we find is nothing short of inspirational (and no, that’s not a platitude either). We uncover powerful scriptural instruction regarding the nature of thanksgiving. Then we share some practical real life personal lessons that have helped us deepen our own gratitude. We follow the story of a woman whose three-year-old son was diagnosed with a debilitating disease. Her reactions, responses and retelling of her story are riveting. Gratitude is not an emotion, it is a state of mind. Join us to open the door to accessing its secrets!
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