Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
I’ve come to realize just how rare this quality is these days.
Just in the past week, I’ve witnesses more selfishness, hatefulness, and ungratefulness than I have seen in a very long time. In our society, it seems that no good deed goes unpunished. People try to take advantage of you. You try and do something nice for others, and all they seem to do is complain about what you DIDN’T do with no “thank you” for what you DID do.
Also, now more than ever, our society lives in an “all about me” mentality. It’s all about “what can you do for me?” or “what can I get out of this?” and “how long can I MOOCH off of this?”
Whatever happened to gratitude? Being thankful for acts of kindness? When did we enter such a selfish mindset? Or maybe it’s actually a lazy mindset where we think the world owes us a favor?
Either way, I still choose gratitude.
I still choose to show appreciation when someone offers me a meal. I still choose to be thankful when someone offers a place to stay. I still choose to show my gratitude by offering help in return for acts of kindness. I still choose to send cards in the mail to offer encouragement to those who are struggling. I still choose to send little gifts to team members to show how much I appreciate their hard work. I still choose to work hard to chase my dreams because I’m grateful for the opportunity to do so, and I know this world doesn’t owe me a dime.
I still choose to be grateful when things don’t go my way because God has a greater plan in mind.
Gratitude is not only a virtue, but a mindset. Choosing to be grateful should not be something our grandparents did – it should be something we choose to do each and every day. We do not deserve any of the blessings we have on this earth. We do not deserve any of the gifts given to us. We do not deserve grace. We do not deserve salvation. But I am so grateful for it.
That’s how we should be in all things. So, so grateful.
Today on my lunch break, I decided to make a quick stop into the local CVS for a few necessities (shaving cream and something to battle these terrible summer allergies!). I usually make at least one stop into the store each week because I get great customer service and the employees are always so friendly.
As I was standing in the checkout line, the man behind the counter begins to tell me how he sees me in the store quite often and asks if I work in the area. I tell him yes and we begin to chat about the city, community, church, local activities, etc. We discovered that we had an “acquaintance” in common, and the man goes on to praise this acquaintance as such a wonderful person that he held in high regard. I stood there shocked and almost speechless because my thoughts about the common acquaintance were…let’s just say, definitely less admirable. So what caused the stark difference in opinion? This man went to church with the common acquaintance, and I knew who the person was out in the world – beyond the church doors. I smiled and nodded, thanked the man for his help, and went on my way.
I left the store with a mix of emotions. How could our opinions be such complete polar opposites? Do people view ME that differently outside of God’s house? Am I truly the same person – with the same integrity, same values, same morals, same smile, same heartfelt concern for others, same positive attitude – that I am on Sunday? Would people who know me outside of God’s house say the same things about me as the ones that see me in church each week? I sure hope so. And if not, today is a great day to get my attitude in check and be intentional in living out the person that I strive to be EACH and EVERY day. I don’t want to be the person that puts on her “church face” on Sunday.
My prayer today is that each of us live out our Christian lives on a day-to-day basis so that others may see Jesus in us and through us. We are to be a witness to everyone – the sinners and the saints. Sometimes we forget that people are watching us. Who are you when no one is looking? I want to live out my days like God would have me to live them – for Him and for His glory. I want my friends to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I know Jesus. I want them to come to me when they need to be lifted up in prayer. I want strangers to know that I am authentically, genuinely concerned for them and their salvation just by my actions. I want my life to be a walking Bible for the world to see. I want to treat people as Jesus would treat them.
So who are you? Are you the person people know on Sunday? Who are you when you think Jesus isn’t looking?
“So how’s the married life?”
I wish I could count the number of times I’ve been asked that question over the past two weeks. Each and every time, I smile and say “It’s wonderful! I couldn’t be happier!”
…but then, I am almost always met with the words “Enjoy it while it lasts.”
How discouraging, especially for a newlywed. I have waited twenty-eight years for this. I actually had to wait twenty-six years just to meet the man God made for me. Why put a damper on my excitement?
Better yet, why does it have to be this way? Why does the happiness have to end? Why do couples have to grow stagnant and forget why they fell in love with each other in the first place?
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY.
Maybe – just maybe – it goes deeper than that. Maybe couples forget their first true love instead, Jesus. Once they forget to put Jesus in the center of their relationship, everything begins to fall flat. Now, I understand that Jordan and I will hit rough times. I understand that we will get angry with each other and disappoint one another. But I never, ever want to enter into the place of constant bickering and misery that I see so many couples in today. I want to continue to date him. I want to continue to love him more each day. Most importantly, I want to continue to grow together in Christ.
Dear friends, I encourage you that if you are in that stagnant stage, do not grow bitter and spread your unhappiness to others. I ask that you examine your heart and have a real discussion with your spouse to make things right. Marriage is meant to be a beautiful thing. It is a true gift from God, and a gift that I do not intend to take lightly. It may have taken twenty-eight years of patience, but from this point on, the smile I wore on my wedding day never has to leave again.
“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Mark 10:9