What If I Don’t Feel Grateful?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about gratitude.

Rich’s Ride has focused my attention on the incredible generosity that surrounds me, the blessings that constantly arrive on my doorstep. It’s impossible to ignore the reality that I’ve got much for which to be thankful.

I could write a few words about how grateful I am. But, if I’m honest, the nasty truth is that frequently I don’t feel grateful. I take so much for granted, and too often I see only what I don’t have.

That’s difficult to admit. Don’t “real Christians” always feel grateful?

I don’t think so. I think television Christians always feel grateful. I think a lot of Christians have been shamed into believing they’re supposed to feel a constant sense of thankfulness. I think churches are filled with folks who pretend, mostly out of guilt, to feel a lot of stuff they don’t always feel.

I think the very last thing Jesus wants is followers who pretend.

So…does that mean I shouldn’t always strive to be grateful? Of course not. It means that being grateful has little correlation with feeling grateful.

That’s the whole idea behind living life on purpose. It means intentionally choosing my actions and attitudes instead of being a slave to my feelings. It means principled responses rather than knee-jerk reactions.

I can choose thankfulness even when I don’t feel especially thankful. I don’t think that’s pretending—it’s an authentic choice to overcome my human imperfections Perhaps one way to do this is to recognize things for which I’m thankful, things I tend to take for granted. I have a small object near my computer; each time I see it I stop and think of something for which I’m grateful right now.

I don’t want another perfunctory habit.

I want to be grateful.

What’s something for which you’re thankful—right now?

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Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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