Five Ways to Regain Gratitude

By: Carol McClain       carol_mcclain

My friend bought a vacation home on a beautiful lake. For years she’d marvel at her good fortune. Then time passed. It became a small, unremarkable house on a cul-de-sac of million-dollar homes. She lost the wonder.

This year, though, she sat on her dock. Fireworks exploded down the cove. The cool breezes of Tennessee evenings drifted over her, and she realized how blessed she is.

This is so like us. In America, we have beyond all we could ask or think. Maybe we can’t live on a lake and only own a doublewide. Still, so many people around the world live in shacks or cinderblock houses with no running water or indoor bathrooms. Worse, on our own streets, the homeless squat.

We may not dine out, but we have ample food (look at our ample waistlines). When the money runs out and hard times don’t leave us, we can get EBT cards or head to a food pantry. Down in Tennessee enough churches offer free dinners, (One church calls it “Free Feeding”–I laugh at the image every time. None of us need to starve to death.

In partisan politics, in taking our freedoms celebrated on July 4th for granted, in the divide between the haves and have-nots, we’ve lost our thankfulness.

We need to find it again.

5 Ways to regain gratitude

  1. Look at what we have, not at what we don’t. I can’t afford T designer clothes, but I’ve got a closet brimming with outfits. We have high-end thrift stores and consignment shops. We have low end thrift stores that give us the glory of the great find. Fortunately, last time I check out downtown, no one was walking naked. Phil. 4:19 says God supplies us with our needs according to his riches. Can you think of anyone richer than God.
  2. Look for the freebies. I’m not talking handouts. When things are given to us, we take them for granted. My favorite quote by Thomas is Paine says, “That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly.” All we need to do is check out a sunset or the fog dancing in the morning. Wildflowers change with the seasons. Birds serenade us (Ignore the murder of crows, please). If you’re not a nature lover, there are other things you can enjoy: coffee with a neighbor, a card game with friends, a perfectly grilled hot dog with a gooshy piece of bread. Luke 6:38 says “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
  3. Remember our freedoms. With the Fourth coming and the fireworks exploding, don’t forget our freedoms. We can speak our minds. We can disagree with politicians who hold power and not lose our lives. We can fight for our rights without being run over by tanks. Our dysfunctional government still enables us to keep the lights on and pollution at bay. We can vote them out, and they leave office. (Sort of). Romans 6:7 says, “For one who has died has been set free from sin.” If Jesus set us free from sin–we are free indeed.
  4. Look at totalitarian states. Women here don’t have to wear burkas or swaddled themselves in layers of cloth over the swelterig summers. We can own our own property. We can maintain privacy. We can practice our faith (or not, if so inclined). We can believe in God. We can own guns. We can get medical care and free education. Our government is not blowing us up or spraying us with chemical weapons. Americans, we have it good. Gal. 5:13. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
  5. Faith in God. Anyone who reads this blog, knows I’m a Christian and believe the Bible. For me, the best thing, the one I am most grateful for, is that no one kills me because I am a Christian. No one looks down on me (at least to my face). I’m free to believe. What God has given me, makes me most grateful.


Treasured Lives

In this series, three little girls are rescued from neglect and abject poverty.  They certainly have learned the five ways to be grateful.

Tangled Lives comes out this month. Check out Borrowed Lives and Prodigal Lives before it’s debut. More can be found on my books page.

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