Isn’t it strange that in a nation nicknamed the “land of opportunity” that so many struggle to find happiness?
I think, in part, that’s because we haven’t learned the discipline of gratitude. I’m not talking about the brief moments here and there where we acknowledge God’s blessings. I’m talking about living a life of gratitude.
Maybe gratitude is difficult because cynicism is too easy.
By nature, I’m an optimist. But it’s easy to turn pessimistic from time to time. Just surf the Internet, pick up a newspaper or tune into the evening news and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the darkness.
And let’s face it, sometimes we have to search for reasons to be grateful. Life can be difficult. It isn’t all sweetness and light.
That’s something our guests on today’s broadcast, Susie Larson and Lisa Anderson, understand all too well. Life isn’t always smooth sailing and when we face a crisis, we discover that gratefulness isn’t just an emotion we feel; it’s a choice we make.
Perhaps we’re having trouble at work. We can still be grateful we have a job. Or maybe our child is making poor decisions. Although we’re disappointed, we can be thankful they’re healthy and safe at that moment. Or it could be we or a loved one is facing a terminal illness. That’s the sort of earth-shaking reality where we turn to Truth that’s deeper than our suffering. When all else seems lost, we can be grateful for our family and for a God who has promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5).
Do you see what I mean?
Gratitude isn’t merely thankfulness when everything is going right. Gratitude is understanding we live in a broken world, yet choosing to be thankful anyway. To do that, we have to choose to see the goodness in our lives. That can be tough because the smallest blessings can be the hardest to notice. But they’re also what help give our life richness and meaning.
That’s a profound lesson not only for us adults, but for children as well. Our kids will likely follow in our footsteps. They’ll either learn to walk through life with a dark cloud over their head, or they’ll learn to rely on God’s grace to help them see the blessings that surround them at that moment despite their circumstances.
I hope you’ll join us for today and tomorrow’s program, “Teaching Kids to Be Grateful,” when Susie, Lisa, and I will discuss practical ideas for raising kids who live with gratitude. And you’ll probably discover some nuggets of wisdom for yourself along the way. You can hear the program on your local radio station, online, or via our free, downloadable mobile phone app.