31 Aug 2023
The Grips of Gratitude
7 minutes read
August 10, 2023
It’s sometimes shocking to me how often we can forget the simple things.
Life gets busy, the days become more full, the more responsibilities you have, the less time you have–and all of a sudden life seems to be overflowing, overwhelming, that in-over-your-head feeling non-stop coming at you from every angle.
I think in moments like these it’s so easy for us to ignore confronting the feelings of being overwhelmed because we trick ourselves into believing that overwhelming feelings need an overwhelming response.
What I love about the bible, and the truth of Jesus is that it couldn’t be more opposite.
Jesus tackles life’s biggest challenges with what shockingly seems like the most simple responses.
We see this role modeled for us in the life of Jesus as he tackles the massive challenge of the broken human condition called “sin” with a simple response: belief in him.
It’s these simple shifts that we see time and time again orchestrated in the bible, and yet we can catch ourselves taking on passive responses to the overwhelming feelings in our life because they seem too big to tackle.
I have found, time and time again, that one of the most simple responses that can take down mountains of challenges is gratitude.
If I think of it, and I’m sure if you do too, the healthiest people I know in this life have the healthiest dose of gratitude.
Gratitude keeps them balanced, centered, level in perspective.
They maintain a steady grip on the thing that they know will bring them back to center: gratitude.
I’ve lately started to love this idea of the grip of gratitude.
What would it look like for me to grip onto gratitude in my life?
To grip means to take and keep a firm hold of, to grasp tightly. To have gratitude means to exemplify the quality of being thankful, the readiness to show appreciation.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says “Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
When I look at this, three simple thoughts on gratitude come to my mind:
1. GRATITUDE ISN’T AN EMOTION, IT’S A DEVOTION.
To devote means to give all or a large part of one's time or resources to a person, activity, or cause.
What would it look like to devote ourselves to gratitude? What if we used our time or our resources to think about it, wonder where we can get it, how we can live it, how to put our time and resources into giving it.
The truth about devotion vs emotion is that devotion ages better than emotion. Devotion recognizes that it isn’t by chance that you’re blessed, but it is solely based on God’s goodness.
Emotion says “because of this circumstance, I am having this response.” Gratitude says “I am in control of my response no matter what.”
This leads me to my second thought.
2. GRATITUDE IS MORE THAN A REACTION, IT’S A RESPONSE.
The truth about reactions is that they happen impulsively, while responses come with thought and reasoning.
I can’t think of one reaction I’ve shared impulsively that I’m proud of. It seems that almost always, the overwhelming response after sharing from impulse is “I wish I would’ve done that differently… Or said that differently… Or expressed how I was really feeling in a different way.”
Don’t get me wrong, gratitude is simple–but gratitude requires your thought and your reasoning. It requires you to dig deep, and apply these qualities that we so greatly desire: balance, centering, perspective.
In some situations, gratitude requires greater thought than others. And in other circumstances, it’s a simple realignment–but you’ll find that gratitude isn’t just a reaction, it requires your intention, and that intention sets the stage for a response.
3. WE CAN GRIP ON GRATITUDE, BECAUSE IT GRIPS ON US.
Gratitude is more than our response, it’s the posture God has called us to live in. Matthew 10 talks about how God has freely given to us, and so we in response, can freely give.
In context, this scripture is referring to a number Christian truths, but in entirety, it exemplifies to us the simple truth: Freely given, freely give.
Because of the way Christ has given to us, when the stakes were at their worst, Christ freely gave to us.
In the same way, no matter what, we can freely give–and that response can be gratitude.
Gratitude is more than an emotion, it’s a devotion.
Gratitude is more than a reaction, it’s a response.
Gratitude grips on us.
Here for you always, church girl.