Wednesday, June 20, 2012

CHOOSE GRATITUDE


#5 of 10 ways to reveal your heart of faith when faith feels like little more than a leftover

Compressed for Twitter:

#5 Choose gratitude. It's a choice, not a duty or a given. [When chosen and practiced,] gratitude reshapes how we experience life and value people.

Decompressed for context and comment:

Most of us don't automatically think in terms of gratitude (and it doesn’t help whenever someone tells us how grateful we should be). Usually, we think more about what we don’t have, how others treat us, the hard things we’ve had to handle, or how much better/easier others have it. Note that each of these has two common factors: comparing and deserving.

Both comparing and entitlement tend to distort reality and drain away faith.  They focus our mind and energy on factors that are not only almost impossible to change, but lock us into a self-defeating set of expectations and justifications.  We will never quite get what we think we deserve or compare as favorably with others as we think we should.  And whatever we gain or become may well limit and possess us.

The conscious choice—almost a self-trained, prompted discipline—of gratitude offers a freeing alternative. Start with: “I’m grateful for the health I have received this day.” Consider other aspects of life as gifts we’ve been given: a friendship, an education, a capacity, an ability, an opportunity, an experience, a connection.  Any sense of earning or comparing is eclipsed by a recognition that we have been and are being given unto in profound ways—ways not easy to describe.

Choosing to see more of our encounters as received gifts reshapes how we experience life and value people.  We readily appreciate more and everything appreciates in value.  People are less objects to be disregarded, placated or used and more perceived and engaged as what they really are—precious, fragile, gifted, fallen, hopeful fellow travelers who are contributing something significant to our journey—and we to theirs.



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Read all 10 actions (in Twitter's 140-character format) that can reveal your heart of faith when faith feels like little more than a leftover.

I will continue posting comments on all 10 actions over the next few days.

Your responses and comments are welcome.

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