Friday, June 16, 2023

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude

This morning I spent time in that wonderful prayer of Paul's in the book of Colossians -- Col. 1:9-14. 

It made me think about gratitude and how it relates to attitude. The older you get, the more grateful you're supposed to become. Supposedly you've lived long enough that you have an awful lot to be grateful for. The thing about gratitude is, it's easier said than done. We humans suffer from chronic ingratitude. G. K. Chesterton once defined man as "an ungrateful biped." Like the people of Israel in the wilderness, we grumble, gripe, murmur, and complain about everything. That's why Paul reminds us in this passage that gratitude is an attitude we should have all the time, even when we're under that cloud of doom. Life can be really tough at times, but it's infinitely easier if you're able to see past the bad and be grateful for the good. Practice gratitude even when things feel very, very hard. Stop thinking that things "should" be a certain way. Do your best to accept the way things are unfolding for you right now. Be grateful for any positive outcome that comes, no matter how small. When you tuck your kids into bed at night, discuss with them their "best thing of the day." Hopefully, you'll build gratitude into them. We value what we notice. Try to notice the little stuff every day. Never before in my life have I had so much to be grateful for. 

  • Family (they are always there for me)
  • Sunrises
  • Coffee
  • Spellcheck
  • A good book
  • Farm animals
  • My piano
  • Ethiopian food
  • Races to look forward to
  • Fresh veggies from my kids
  • Classical music
  • The beauty of language

For these things and easily a hundred thousand others, I offer a prayer of gratitude to God. In Col. 2:7, Paul says we are to be perisseuontes en eucharistia. I love how this phrase is rendered in various translations:

  • NIV: overflowing with thankfulness
  • ESV: abounding in thanksgiving
  • NASB: overflowing with gratitude
  • MSG: let your living spill over into thanksgiving
  • HWP: Everytime tank Christ plenny
  • DHH: dando siempre gracias a Dios
  • BLPH: vivan en incesante acción de gracias
  • NGH: könnt ihr ihm nicht genug danken!
  • LB: let your lives overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all he has done

Thank him not only for temporal blessings. Thank him for allowing you to share the inheritance of the saints in the light, for rescuing you from the dominion of darkness, for transferring you into the kingdom of the Son of his love (Col. 1:12-14). 

I do not always practice gratitude like this. But I want to.