Gratitude in God

Generating Gratitude Series: Part 5

I’ve written and edited this post numerous times in my mind over these last several months, searching for just the right way to say what I want to say. 

So as I begin, I want to make an important point.  I am a Christian.  I believe with every ounce of my being that there is an all-loving God “up there,” “out there,” however you want to frame it; and not only do I believe we all were put on this earth for a purpose, but I also believe it is only by the grace of God that I still walk this earth today, as I have been saved from myself more times than I care to count.

However, growing in my faith has been a constant work-in-progress and there were points early in my life when I had so little of it that I didn’t recognize myself as a believer at all.  Left to my own devices, it took hitting 30 and my own rock-bottom to be called back to my faith; and the transforming power it has had on my life cannot be overstated.

Despite all of this, I also recognize that not everyone shares the same belief which is the reason I have mentally edited this post so many times before I finally realized: it doesn’t matter.  If you do not have the same beliefs, you do not have to read this message from my point of view.  Read it from yours. Whatever you believe in - whatever God, spirit, or universe you worship - I believe this message still applies.   

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So why is it so important for me to make this point?  Because none of my previous posts on gratitude are possible without a God.  Not a single one.  Why?  Because the essence of gratitude is about feeling and expressing thanks for people, things, and opportunities we have been given.  It is a two-way street where as we receive, we also give back.  How can we be truly grateful if we believe there is no one/nothing to be grateful towards?

Since we are in the season of giving, let's just think about it in terms of receiving a gift.  If you will, envision for a moment that you have just received the gift of your dreams - whether it's a new car or a new pair of socks - imagine the feeling of receiving the one thing you've been dreaming of and the elation and excitement that comes along with it.  What do you do next?  Most likely, you do not just walk away.  Instead, you say thank you and, assuming it's from someone you care for, you may even hug them to show your appreciation and/or follow it up with a note.   

Now envision that you received the same gift, but have no indication of who it's from and, in fact, there's no way you will ever know whose generosity has just made your dreams come true.  It likely does not have the same effect because being able to express our pure gratitude towards the giver is actually a very big part of receiving.  It feels incomplete without that necessary closure. 

The type of gratitude illustrated in the Generating Gratitude series goes far beyond saying "thank you" for a gift under the tree.  It is the kind of gratitude that reaches into the core of our existence, the kind that lets us feel that all we are given is only possible through grace.  It is possible because someone (whoever you believe in) felt we were worthy of receiving it.  It is the kind of gratitude that lights us up with energy and radiates from within.  It is the kind that helps us feel grateful for each breath, each lesson, and each opportunity regardless of whether there is a single gift under that tree. 

My hope is that you have found yourself connecting with at least one of my posts in this series.  If so, I encourage you to take your own next step of determining ways to generate more gratitude in your life and to whom or to what you can express that gratitude. Whether you have lost a loved one and need help with Gratitude in Grieving, need a reminder of ways Gratitude in Giving can re-charge your battery, seek ways to just be yourself with Gratitude in Grounding, or whether you are struggling with ways to have Gratitude in Guilt, I encourage you to first start where this series ends and envision how you might be able to have Gratitude in God