Complaint? or Gratitude!
January 16, 2014
Even before either one takes form in words or deeds, there is an attitude of thought behind it. Complaint tends to reflect a preoccupation with self, accompanied by fear and apparent lack. Gratitude is more outwardly oriented, overcoming both fear and lack. Which sounds more productive to you?
A loved poem by Vivian Burnett puts it this way: “Our gratitude is riches, complaint is poverty, our trials bloom in blessings, they test our constancy.”
Is there a dearth of joy in your life? Are health and happiness missing? Are you struggling financially? Perhaps the solution is as easy as adding a bit of gratitude to your routine. In fact, if you Google the phrase “effects of gratitude on health” you will find nearly 30 million responses to its positive effects.
Gratitude doesn’t create abundance, but it does reveal it. The fact is, God is pouring forth absolutely everything we need all the time without exception. (see Is 55 for example) A grateful heart recognizes it and rejoices.
Just as there is likely something to complain about in every life, there is just as surely something to be grateful for as well. A close examination of one’s circumstances will reveal a compelling list for both outlooks. Consciously choosing gratitude effectively diminishes every reason for complaint. The Apostle Paul, writing to the church in Thessaloniki said, “in all things give thanks.” (I Thess 5:18) He gave no caveats – just “do it.” And he further explained it to be God’s will to do so.
And Jesus’ consistent effort to be thankful no matter what the issue, transformed the lives of those around him. He raised Lazarus after giving thanks. He fed multitudes after giving thanks. He allowed himself to be crucified after giving thanks. Yet, each of these powerful acts changed the world forever – and revealed a more stunning and salvific outcome than complaint ever could.
Gratitude can even have the powerful effect of healing the past, as Mary Baker Eddy states here: “What is gratitude but a powerful camera obscura, a thing focusing light where love, memory, and all within the human heart is present to manifest light.” (My p. 164)
It is a mistake to think that circumstances determine one’s attitude. Rather, one’s attitude determines circumstances. Choose an attitude of gratitude and watch the blessings flow.
You might enjoy this post along the same lines: http://www.northernreflectionsonhealth.ca/2224/3-steps-exercise-gratitude-muscle/
Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link. If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.