As someone who describes themselves as more of a pessimist than an optimist, I often find it hard to be thankful. My prayer life is full of requests. Full of “Father, help me with…”, “Lord, provide for…”, but sadly lacking in thankfulness. I generally find it easier to complain, grumbling about the things that went wrong, rather than being thankful for all the things that went well. Thankfulness doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s simply not my default. Not because there aren’t things to be thankful for. That’s definitely not my problem! No, I think it’s because I’m ungrateful. I don’t realize how #blessed I am.
But why is this a problem? Well I think ingratitude is a symptom of a much larger problem – tunnel vision. We become fixated on ourselves, and what we want, losing sight of what’s really important and what we can always be thankful for. We lose sight of grace. The amazing gift of the gospel, the new life we now have in Jesus and the sure hope of the resurrection. These gifts are far greater than anything this world can offer because they do not perish, spoil or fade but last forever. The reality is, we do have much to be thankful for, so how do we stop ourselves from getting tunnel vision? And how do we start cultivating thankfulness?
I have two suggestions. First, we need to keep on reading our Bibles. It sounds simple but it’s so important, because it is in God’s word that we are reminded of the amazing reality of the gospel of grace. Second, we need to be intentional. Thankfulness doesn’t come naturally to most of us and so we need to be intentional in cultivating thankfulness. Something I’ve been doing lately is start my morning prayer by giving thanks to God for the gift of new life in Jesus, focusing on different aspects of this awesome reality. I also thank God for smaller blessings, such as a productive day at work or an encouraging conversation with a friend.
Whatever you do, don’t lose your grip on reality. We have much to be thankful for. So lets thank our good God all the more, each day, for the amazing gift of the gospel.
AFES Staff worker (Deakin University)