While ingratitude comes naturally to us, gratitude is something that we must consciously cultivate and grow in our hearts. Unfortunately, there are are several “attitudes” that will smother, annihilate, and otherwise kill our gratitude.
Here are 7 attitudes that will kill your gratitude:
When I hand my children each a pile of goldfish crackers for a snack, their first inclination is to start counting their goldfish. Why? Because they want to BE SURE that the piles are distributed equally. In their selfish little hearts, their first inclination is to test for “fairness” rather than being grateful for the gift that they have been given.
Adults are not immune to this behavior! We are constantly comparing ourselves with other people, afraid that God has shorted us and given somebody else more. All too often, we do not even pause to thank God for all of the amazing, undeserved blessings that He has showered us with.
Antidote: If you struggle with comparisons, try reaching out to people who have less than you do. You WILL come away counting your blessings.
The moment that we start to think that we deserve something is the moment that we cease to feel thankful for it. If I feel that I deserve roses on Valentine’s Day, than I will not feel very grateful when my husband presents me with roses on Valentine’s Day. After all, I deserved them!
The problem with this thinking is that we don’t deserve anything. Every good gift that God gives us is undeserved and should elicit joy and thanksgiving in our hearts.
Antidote: Take a moment to read Philippians 2:1-18. When we pause to remember the judgement that we truly deserve, and the forgiveness that God has given to us through the life and death of His perfect Son Jesus Christ, entitlement is replaced with true gratitude.
It is hard to slow down to be grateful when we are so busy we can hardly breathe. If we are so consistently busy that we have no time left to feel and express gratitude, than something is terribly, horribly wrong in our lives.
Jesus told Martha that, in spite of all Martha’s busyness with “good works”, Mary had chosen the better thing – time spent building a relationship with God. (Luke 10:38-42)
God is calling us to first of all have a relationship with Him, and part of this relationship includes gratitude. If we are too busy to be grateful to God, than we are not walking in His will, despite all the “wonderful” things that we might be doing “for” Him.
Worry about the future quickly saps the energy out of present gratitude. Worry accomplishes nothing but to rob us of joy and gratitude in this present moment and to demonstrate our lack of trust in our Heavenly Father.
Antidote: Read Matthew 6:25-34. Worship is the perfect antidote to worry. Worry says, “My house might burn down to the ground! What am I going to do? AGHHH!” Worship says, “Yes, my house may burn down to the ground, but God is still in control. God has promised me a better home in heaven anyway. May God be glorified in my life regardless of what happens.”
This one is ugly. It is hard to be thankful when all we can focus on are the negatives and faults of the people and things around us.
Antidote: Imagine what life would be like if that one “imperfect” thing that you are focusing on were completely removed from your life. (For example, your husband may have some quirks that drive you crazy. But can you imagine life without your husband?) Then, take some time to thank God for the imperfect blessings that surround you. Thank God that He does not discard you even with all of your “imperfections”. Ask God to help you really see the good blessings that He has given you.
- High Expectations
How would your kids respond if they got up on Christmas morning and discovered that there was just one shoe box for each of them under the tree filled with a couple of small toys, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and a box of crayons? Would their faces mirror the delight and excitement of the faces of these children who are ecstatic to receive this same box? What is the difference?
I believe the difference lies in two words: High Expectations. When our lives revolve around high expectations, we will be disappointed. When we have low expectations, we are likely to be thrilled and grateful when reality exceeds our expectations.
Antidote: Remember that we are living in a sin cursed, fallen world. This life guarantees us nothing. Let’s place our high expectations in the life to come. Thank God that, because of His beautiful plan of salvation, this world is not our only hope. Take time to be thankful for the things in life that you have now, remembering that there is no guarantee that you will still have them tomorrow.
I know that many of you reading this right now are exhausted. Perhaps you have a newborn baby, are experiencing insomnia because of hormonal changes, or are working non-stop just to make ends meet.
If you are in any of these situations, my heart goes out to you. It is difficult to be grateful when we are physically spent.
Antidote: If at all possible, you may need to set some things aside to allow yourself more time to rest. Prioritize a couple of minutes a day to read God’s Word and thank Him for His good gifts. If you have a hard time praying because you fall asleep, try writing your prayers to God in a small journal, including thanksgivings.
Gratitude is a state of heart that we need to be consciously cultivating.
We need to be protecting our gratitude from these seven attitudes that will kill our gratitude.
By Anna Joy / Picture by Pixabay