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  • Writer's pictureSheRonda Berry

Gratitude: 101

Photo by Chuck Wallace

Have you ever noticed when you’re angry, resentful or experiencing some form of sadness, an attitude of gratitude isn’t easily maintained? Why is that? Gratitude is fleeting because it derives from our emotions, and our feelings are like waves; they sway back and forth all the time. What is our constant? Our constant is our faith in Jesus and remaining committed to that relationship with God.

Why is Gratitude Important?

Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

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Scriptures advise us to devote ourselves to prayer, to be watchful and thankful, and it’s no coincidence that these three ingredients are intertwined in the same recipe for gratitude. Prayer is the conversation that will keep redirecting our eyes to God, and as a result, it will infuse vigilance over our thoughts, behaviors, and actions and, thus, influence our focus.

“An attitude of gratitude forces you to shift your focus.”

An attitude of gratitude is vital to develop. Since gratitude derives from our feelings and our feelings are always changing, the one thing that we must focus on is God’s love for us. Gratitude is so powerful that when we focus on our blessings versus focusing on the things that we don’t have, it shifts our mood. Be practical about your faith walk and how you navigate life by the hand of faith. Lean on prayers and conversations with God. Allow your prayers to redirect your focus to the gifts God has bestowed upon your life. Allow yourself to become joyful as you focus your eyes on the plans of abundance that God has already destined for you to live in your future. Keep in mind that an attitude of gratitude takes practice and courage to develop. Will you dare to be grateful?

Gratitude Amid the Storm

Gratitude is a weapon, a tool that you must use for redirection in the toughest, most unsettling situations. The enemy doesn’t want you to be grateful for a grateful heart that does not house bitterness, resentment, sadness, and anger is a heart that flourishes. Understand that the enemy’s target is your mind and your mental health because if your mental health is shattered, then you’re trapped with negative feelings that will destroy your physical health and cause you to become self-destructive.

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As you navigate the fiercest storms of life, learn to expel all the feelings that are discomforting you within and welcome God to heal your heart and soul. Speak to someone that will be supportive as you vent. If you’re angry or sad, don’t keep it to yourself, instead, bring it to the light.

Another word for gratitude is recognition. And when your mind is focusing on searching for things to be grateful for, it’s actively recognizing the positives amid the negatives. Remember that light casts out all darkness so choose light always. Let your words be filled with the things you’re grateful for and use that focus to cut through the path of dark thoughts of anger, sadness, and disappointment that seek to abolish your peace.

Can I Be Grateful yet Desire More?

When we talk about gratitude, we must also talk about the healthy aspect of wanting more. Often, we hear people saying that if we’re not happy with what we have, then we’re ungrateful, and this is far from the truth.

Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

God desires for you to dream of greatness and to possess abundance in every area of your life. You can be grateful and want more, but if your desire to have more is coupled with greed, with a need to receive glory, and selfish ambition then your desire to want more doesn’t come from God, nor does it derive from a grateful heart. The way to measure whether your desire for more is from God or not is by asking yourself the following question, “Does my desire benefit only me, or does it include helping others? Does anyone else aside from yourself benefit from your desire to accomplish more?" Think about that and cling to prayer and God-centered conversations, always focusing on the blessings that God has already placed in your hands.

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