The Christian mystic William Blake wrote that “It is an easy thing to triumph in the summer’s sun / And in the vintage and to sing on the waggon loaded with corn”. At such times it’s easy to be content with out lot in life.
What happens when the waggon of our life isn’t loaded with corn? Gratitude goes out the window. Misery and malcontent take over, often without us even noticing.
Isaiah 51:3 challenges us to be grateful in the midst of strife. “Though Zion is in ruins, the Lord will bring comfort, and the city will be as lovely as the garden of Eden that he provided. Then Zion will celebrate; it will be thankful and sing joyful songs.”
What is gratitude?
Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools in the toolbox of our journey to Christ.
Think of a professional mechanic’s toolbox compared to the DIY one-size-fits-none rinky-dinky little kit you can buy at supermarkets (yes, supermarkets!) for next to nothing. They cost next to nothing because they achieve next to nothing.
Gratitude is a power tool. Like any power tool, you can’t use it with a flat battery.
You have to bring enough of yourself to the job to get gratitude to work. Preferably, bring all of yourself. The more intensity you can summon, the more intent and energy you can squeeze into your gratitude, the more powerful it becomes. So how does it work?
You’ve got a situation. Let’s face it, if you didn’t have a situation you wouldn’t be reading this. You would be doing absolutely anything other than reading this. But the journey to Christ is nothing other than a constant bombardment of situations, coming at you faster and faster. You end up doing nothing but reading blogs like this, looking for crucial tips.
Here’s one: gratitude is a highway to God. Psalm 50:23 reminds us how much God loves gratefulness. “The sacrifice that honours me is a thankful heart.”
So, sit with your situation. You don’t have to be physically sitting. Just bring it into your awareness. Already you may feel yourself getting triggered. By that I mean you can feel stress, anxiety, rage or any other negative emotion. If this is you, practice a little conscious breathing first, just to lower the emotional revs and get to a place where you can effect change.
Once you’ve got your situation in your awareness and you’re fairly calm, exude gratitude. Simply imagine gratitude welling up inside your heart and overflowing outwards.
Send it to all the people involved in the situation—they are all your teachers, whether they know it or not. Think about it—without whatever foul deed those who bother you have done, this issue would not have risen to the surface of your life for clearing. Once you clear it, you’ll never have to deal with it again. What is the appropriate response? Gratitude, of course.
If you’re religious, give gratitude to God. Or simply be grateful. Your gratitude doesn’t need a destination. It the midst of chaos and crisis, can you be GRATEFUL for chaos and crisis?
Can you be deeply grateful for where you are right now, no matter how much it sucks, no matter how much it hurts?
Can you be deeply grateful for where you are right now, no matter how much it sucks, no matter how much it hurts? If you can, that sucker will shift in no time because it has nothing left to teach you.
So “Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.” (Colossians 2:7)