As you prepare to enjoy the pre-thanksgiving weekend, here are three thoughts to help you maintain a thankful spirit. And instead of trying to convince you to be thankful for all that you have etc.. etc… I thought I’d challenge you to beware of three gratitude stealing attitudes that can easily destroy our thankfulness.
- Victim mentality: All of us fall prey to this attitude. It happens when we look at our circumstances and instead of taking ownership for the life we possess, we blame our life on others. It is impossible to be thankful when you hold everyone/everything else responsible for the direction of your life. As we say to ourselves and our children all the time, “Your response is your responsibility!”
- Scarcity mentality: Another attitude that can steal away a spirit of thankfulness exists when you live in scarcity instead of abundance. The problem with scarcity is that it implies that God isn’t able to supply what’s missing or needed in our lives, and instead, our hope for the future rests in our own abilities. Ephesians 3:20 reminds us that, “God can do anything you know, far more than you could ever imagine, guess or request in your wildest dreams” (Msg). God’s resources (time, money, health, faith, courage etc…) aren’t limited, and when we live in scarcity we are truly calling into question God’s ability to supply. “My God” says Paul, “[can] supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:13). Living with an attitude of abundance always leads to gratitude!
- Default decisions: This happens when fear dominates our emotions and thoughts, and all of our choices are based on avoiding bad things. When you choose to homeschool your children because you are afraid of other alternatives, instead of choosing it because you believe it’s the best option for your kids -- that’s a decision by default. When I choose not to publish a blog or work on a book project because I’m not sure anyone is even reading, that’s a decision by default, and it’s impossible to be thankful when I’m living in fear.
As you enter a week of thanksgiving, let’s watch out for subtle (and not-so-subtle!) attitudes that can steal away our thankfulness. When you step out of the boat and out on the water, you must rise above victimhood, scarcity and fear making it possible -- and likely! -- that you will be living in thanks for all that God has done, is doing and will do in and through you.
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better -- and there’s more to be thankful for -- on the water!