A grateful heart is not a condition, feeling, or posture, but gratefulness is actually a received gift.
Some background first…
While I have been blessed with wonderful, caring parents, a close friend as a brother, a resplendent high school education, great friends, incredible travel experiences, all the food I could want, and even great eyesight… I still manage to feel like I’m missing out. It’s as if everyone else is normal, and I’m not. I focus on the problems in my head and heart because no one else could possibly understand. There is so much heartache in the world, and yet I try to absorb all of it.
I know not all of my ‘bad’ feelings are wrong, and sometimes it’s okay to be sad. But most of the time my mood is soured when I take issue with others or myself and then magnify problems instead of solutions.
So this last year I set out to really be thankful. I mean in the midst of some serious, actual life issues, I strove to thank God for the smallest things, and even some of the big things. This turned out to be a pretty strenuous exercise.
Don’t get me wrong, this was actually really helpful, but I started to get tired of trying to enjoy my oatmeal when the Apocalypse was drawing nigh.
How can I actually have a grateful heart?
Are we born with different hearts- some grateful, others less so?
Well, once again (this is not the first and will not be the last time), I have found that I need help. I’m helpless! My efforts to be grateful are often completely wasted because of how sarcastic my thanksgiving can be!
But maybe my efforts would be better spent crying out for help like the newborn I still am, in need of pats on the back, diaper changes, and unceasing attention.
This is what all these exercises in gratefulness have taught me:
When we cry out for help, He is faithful to hear us and answer our prayers.
I am also learning it is only by His grace and His spirit that I can walk out the good life He gives! It actually is a free gift. And to be grateful for it, we just have to enjoy the attention we receive from Him, and His eyes are adoringly ever on us.