Gratitude is an attitude of choice Lindi Marais It seems like most people know that. It’s not something we always want to choose to do, but we do know it’s a choice. You may feel that your circumstances are to blame for your attitude and you have a point in that they contribute to how we’re feeling. But the thing is, gratitude doesn’t have to stem from an emotion. Our feelings are real, but our attitude is always a choice. I think it’s only when we understand the importance of gratitude and thankfulness that we can begin to shift our attitudes and emotions.
In my pondering of what gratitude and thankfulness really are, I came across a lovely scripture that gave me a better grasp on the importance of thankfulness. It’s from Psalms 100 and it says,
“ Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
As I read the piece of scripture, I noticed themes emerging that seemed like achievable steps to maintain an attitude of thankfulness. Firstly, the scripture calls us to lift our eyes and place them on God. We’re never going to be able to maintain an attitude of thankfulness if our eyes are set on our circumstances. Our circumstances are seldom consistent and will therefore never provide the foundation of joy that we all crave in our lives. But, God is the epitome of consistency, and therefore the best focus of our attention and only true source of joy.
Secondly, the scripture points out that we have been made by God and that He is God. We’re not. I don’t know about you, but it provides me with a lot of comfort to know that I belong to God and that He is ultimately in control. Longing to control every area of our lives, and placing our identity in shifting trends are sure ways to quickly lose our gratefulness.
The main thing about this scripture that encouraged me was to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving”. Gratefulness and thankfulness are not important because they make us nice people. Having an attitude of gratefulness and thankfulness opens gates, that is why they’re so important for us. Our attitude has the power to open and close things before our very eyes. Gratefulness and thankfulness are openers. They allow us to refocus on God, remember our identity in Him, and experience His presence in a fuller measure than before.
When life tries to pull our eyes away from God, and we want to take back control, we can be encouraged that God “is good and his love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” His faithfulness and love are the reasons why we can maintain our attitude of gratitude.
By Lindi Marais