I find that our world makes it easy to be cynical and pessimistic. If you met an optimist you might think they were unrealistic or delusional. But the Bible commands us to give thanks for everything. How do we do that? Well, before we get to the great struggle of being grateful for problems or trouble, let’s look at how to just be thankful.
Each day, and throughout each moment of each day, we get to choose our attitude. We can concentrate on the rudeness of others or problems around us, or we can choose to focus on the blessings on our lives. While circumstances can force us to pay attention to them, our attitude about life remains fully in our own control. Whether a customer is rude, a co-worker is annoying, a child is grumpy, or one of many people in your life is giving you trouble, at each step you can choose to focus on your many blessings.
Last month, VCS packed shoe boxes full of gifts to be sent around the world through Operation Christmas Child. I wouldn’t be impressed if I was given the things in those boxes, but to a poor child sharing a pair of flip-flops with a sibling such a box would be amazing. I live in America and have good shoes, a thick coat, a clean place to live, good food, and much, much more. Without much thought, I can find dozens of things that I can be thankful for.
I don’t deserve those things. The prosperity of my country, my family, my job, my health—all these things are blessings from God. I can take them for granted, I can abuse them, and even lose them, but I never earned them. A little perspective is enough for me to be able to truly admire the amazing generosity that God has used when dealing with me.
Even those in much more dire circumstances can do the same thing. If we practice being grateful and expressing that gratitude, when harder things come into our lives, we will be able to face it with the strong habit of a thankful perspective.