“I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances, I have learned the secret of being content – whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.” (HCSB)
The pastor went on to talk about how he receives gifts, and that he is often guilty of not reacting positively when opening presents at Christmas or other occasions. This resonated with me, because I’ve been guilty of the same offense. I hate opening gifts in front of people, because I know my face is not revealing the emotions I feel inside.
I always excused this. It’s just how I am. That’s cool, right?
The pastor went on to make a point that made an overwhelming amount of sense and also really cut me to the core. His statement was this: You can say that you are grateful in your heart — but people can’t see your heart.
Let that sink in for a second. People can’t see your heart.
I’ve used the excuse a million times. “It’s just not in my personality to be expressive or emotional.” As if that makes it okay.
I’m guilty of not telling my wife I love her enough. I’m guilty of not telling her how thankful I am for her. I’m guilty of pointing out her flaws and not shining the spotlight on all the ways she is wonderful.
But my ingratitude doesn’t limit itself to my wife. How we treat other people is often a direct reflection of how we feel about God, or at least of how our relationship with Him currently stands.
Thanksgiving is coming up, so it sounds cliche. Maybe it is. But the truth is that we could probably all stand to be more grateful. It’s easy to gripe about the things in our life that aren’t going the way we want them to. It’s harder to rejoice in the midst of the storm.
Paul was in jail, yet he rejoiced.
If you’re a Christian, you have a hope. That supersedes everything. We forget that. We shouldn’t.
I’m not preaching to you as much as I’m preaching to myself. I need to be thankful, and it shouldn’t take a once-a-year holiday to make me be vocal about the things and the people that bless me.
So, I’ll start.
I’m thankful for my wife. She loves me despite my very long laundry list of flaws. Why she ever fell for me in the first place is sometimes puzzling. She stands by me. She is the most loyal person I’ve ever known. Her love for me is inspiring. It is humbling. It is everything.
I’m thankful for my family. I have two amazing parents who love me. They raised me right. They loved me enough to be my parents when I was growing up and not my friends. They cared enough to discipline me when I was out of line. They were unselfish enough to be stern with me when I needed it. They instilled character in me. They are my world. I love my brothers and sisters. All of them. I have a great family. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
I have a wonderful house that blesses me beyond belief. It’s been a point of tension for me, as of late, because it’s required me to work long hours and spend an unreal amount of money to make changes and repairs. I forget that I’m lucky to have a house. My house is a gift from God. I’m thankful for my house.
I’m thankful for our cars. We have two cars that run and are in pretty good shape. One of them is even completely paid off. I’m thankful for our cars.
My job can be a source of great stress. I’m a teacher. It exhausts me sometimes. Working with children is incredibly rewarding, but it can also drain you. Dealing with their parents can be even worse. I’m constantly guilty of moaning and groaning and wishing I had a better opportunity. At least I have a job. A lot of people can’t say that. I’m thankful for my job.
There are other things. I could go on and on. It’s a good start.
Are you ever guilty of keeping your gratitude hidden? Could you do a better job of showing those around you that you love and appreciate them? What are you thankful for?